Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Business Class Opens to Masses as Affordable Covid Refuge

  • Cashed-up leisure travelers are splurging on premium seats
  • Airlines losing $174 billion have found new market to exploit
Video player cover image
WATCH: Southwest CEO Gary Kelly says “no question the worst is behind us,” as he discusses first-quarter results, consumer and business travel demand.(Source: Bloomberg)
Updated on

Business class was that silent and spacious sanctuary for the well-heeled, at least until the pandemic destroyed global aviation. But as flights creep back, this once-exclusive haven is being invaded, by the masses.

Flush with cash and a record number of air miles after a year on the ground, leisure travelers are splurging on premium seats for their first trips back. They’re not just after the plated food, champagne and little cosmetics that typically come with the higher fares. Rather, they’re trying to minimize the risk of catching Covid in the cheek-to-cheek jostle of coach.