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Do Airlines Make Money From First Class?

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Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines make a lot of their money at the front of the plane. A strong economy and industry consolidation has allowed the airlines, in recent years, to invest in more fuel efficient planes with better cabins focusing on premium classes. One focus has been rethinking business class. First class internationally and on some key domestic routes has become a hybrid of first and business class. As of November 2019, if you wanted to book a first class round trip flight on Emirates from JFK to Dubai at the last minute it could cost you over $23,000. Flying from New York to Mumbai? Etihad Airways offers a three-room luxury suite called The Residence which features a private bathroom, a private living room and a personal butler. Flying round trip on Etihad for that flight could be over $36,000. And, for about $3,000, American Airlines Flagship First fliers can go from New York to Los Angeles with access to an exclusive check-in area and premium wines in the flagship lounge. While the airlines make a significant amount of money packing people into coach like cattle, premium cabins like business and first class are still a major source of income for U.S carriers. » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic About CNBC: From 'Wall Street' to 'Main Street' to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: https://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC #CNBC Do Airlines Make Money From First Class?
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Text Comments (1387)
Morten Kjell Reitan (6 hours ago)
I only fly first class. I think it's about class. Why would someone sit around proletarians? It's not about insulting the poor it's about class. I could never bring myself talking to a person below my class. I even believe first class isn't enough. Upgrading normal people to first class is disgusting. I do fly first class when I fly commercially. But recently I only fly private. I bought a cheap jet and hired a crew. Also part ownership for a 12 million dollar jet? How poor are you? My dividends alone would easily cover that. If you're curious my portfolio mainly consists of GS/JPM/MS/AXP/BAC/AAPL/BLK/^DJI and GOOG. Other stocks I buy for fun like BTC, DIS and TSLA. Well I guess some people are too stupid to make money.
V.f. m.o (1 day ago)
3:27 the girl next to the guy looks like Millie Bobby Brown
Karen Sparviere (1 day ago)
Thanks to my cc bonus, I got enough miles for several first/biz class tickets around the world. It's hard to go coach now.
Eenam (1 day ago)
I'll stick to my.. booked 3 months early £5 ticket. 👍🏼
Singmusic12 (2 days ago)
the talk about delta and American airlines amenities like ethihad treats economy class right.
MrBlaoblao (3 days ago)
You gotta be stupid, Russian or Republican to travel on Emirates or Ethihad (insert vomit sound here)
Gary Boisvert (3 days ago)
Why doesn't the gov regulate tickets so they can't meet their obligations that way we have zero airlines
Garantia COBIA (4 days ago)
If I call you idiot at the bar you'll fight with me. If I charge you $36,459,55 Dllrs. for a 1st class flight you'll be ok with it despite the fact I just assummed you're an idiot, you have agreed with me 100% and on top of that you also gave me $36,459,55 Dllrs. People are really that dumb!
Angami Accent (5 days ago)
What kinda stupid question is this?
Andrew Taylor (6 days ago)
When you get a net jets commercial in the middle of this telling you to fly private.
Romeo Tango (6 days ago)
I’d rather take a mode of transit that doesn’t involve being molested by TSA
Anurag Dighe (7 days ago)
I try to get Premium economy in any of the legacy carriers since their normal economy seat is just way too small. At least getting a human-sized seat shouldn’t be an up-charge.
SamuraiKage1 (7 days ago)
I don't care. Not watching this video. The airlines are parasites.
Murat (7 days ago)
I can afford business class(we dont have first class) but I tend to use upgrade money to spend for staying one or two days at the vacation
Omer Shomrat (7 days ago)
Here's what Elaine from "Seinfeld" thinks about first class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf4zGcCLyTA
Sreeparna Vappala (8 days ago)
The having premium economy on a plane is worst for the economy travelers. It takes away the perks that you enjoy during a grueling 10hr flight. I flew in condor's transatlantic economy which had little food with no drinks or movies. Most boing flight I ever had to take. Not to mention, the ticket prices matched with other airline carriers without premium economy. I will never again fly economy in a plane with a "junior business class" .
curly10808 (8 days ago)
these videos are very well researched and edited, I'm impressed. This channel should have more views
Luis J Kelly (8 days ago)
Why would Etihad fly from Mumbai to New York on a premium plane. Are you sure you don’t mean Abu Dhabi ?
Monica R (9 days ago)
There's no difference between first class and coach if that plane goes down.
H. Jima (9 days ago)
the only thing I'd want is more foot space and pizza.
Zero. 0 (9 days ago)
Does anyone else think this: no one deserves an entire room on an aircraft until there's no one in the world that's homeless or is malnourished.
Svante Lo Presti (8 days ago)
Zero. 0 *C O M M U N I S M*
German Aviation (9 days ago)
I paid 3k for a round trip on United’s business class, and 1 day before the flight it said the price was 12k. Book as early as possible folks.
Brian The Explorer (10 days ago)
A shower on the plane, just wow 😯....
L DS (10 days ago)
What the hell is “Ethahad” Im done
Bolton Michael (11 days ago)
Very well made video. You guys squeezed in just the right amount of information for the feature's duration.
Mr Cool Guy (11 days ago)
To save your time The answer is YES
Venkat Ramakrishnan (11 days ago)
Just want to point out that the thumbnail photo for this video is of Emirates business class and not first class.
Maurice Clemens (12 days ago)
He’ll yes they make money off first class. I worked for American Airlines for 23 years and all management could ever talk about was courting more PREMIUM passengers because they make so much money off them.
Geo MS (12 days ago)
Do i have a parasute on First Class?
Enigma Productions (12 days ago)
Leslie is thicc
DAvid HAmmond (12 days ago)
flying first class is stupid! unless your famous who cares. Plane goes down, your gonna die in first class too! lmao
Gen Wilson (12 days ago)
But what do I get in premium economy?! 🤔
Puck (13 days ago)
If your salary or earnings are over $4m/year, I guess it's not such a bad spend, still a waste but you can afford to be wasteful now and again. Maybe it's because I'm just of low birth, but even if I could afford it, I wouldn't pay for that. You get from A to B in the same amount of time as everybody else and are confined to a space, it doesn't matter how nice that space is because I'll be asleep, and when I wake up I'll be getting off the plane. No nap is worth that much money.
Jessica Roth (13 days ago)
So the three remaining major US airlines (not counting Southwest) pack everyone into Cattle Car Coach, then charge $$$ if you want to escape from there. And they get away with it because competition is essentially dead. Late-stage capitalism, everyone! Sure, in a sane country, these behemoths would be broken up to benefit the consumer, but fat chance of anything like that happening in this shithole. Sigh.
Daniel Gillespie (14 days ago)
1:13 NaN... hope they QA their planes better than their web software.
JC Lim (14 days ago)
Petition to rename First Class to Legacy.
Santosh Kumar (11 days ago)
And Business Class to Mediocrity & Economy to Poverty 😝
d1zguy (14 days ago)
Wish everyone was like me and just traveled for cheapest. Airlines would implode lmao. Business travelers don't care because it's not their money and it is a write off
Shiny Prisma Why is dead (14 days ago)
man i hate being packed like a cow like AAAAAAA
Anonymous (14 days ago)
i can't even afford economy class
rachel o brien (15 days ago)
Even if I was rich I wouldn't pay 36.000
James Anderson (15 days ago)
Considering the fact that a significant proportion of the world population barely has enough money for food...
アマリジョースター (16 days ago)
Delta: it's free Real Estate
Praveen C J (16 days ago)
If you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, you can write-off the ticket price as a business expense and eventually deduct from revenue to decrease the total taxable income. So, in spite of spending $36,000.00, the real impact will be one-third or one-fourth if you consider the lower taxable income.
JessiBoy (17 days ago)
By traveling 8th time on such flight it's even a better deal to purchase a JetPack Aviation electric version JB-10 at once by saving money. At least we will be self pilot and fly where ever we wish for the rest of life time without wasting much molla! 😂
(o3o) (17 days ago)
We need high speed rail ways like Japan.
AI Young (17 days ago)
Once I talked to a senior advisor of my company, he told me that he traveled first class to and from middle East. He could have a private shower and be ready for work the moment he landed. Wow, he could get a five star hotel anywhere to rest before any meeting at much lower cost if this was the reason. Anyway, not his or my money.🤭
billionkek (18 days ago)
36k?? I'll skateboard to my destination before I pay that.
The virgin clan Lee (19 days ago)
Come on man, you know the biggest polluter is the boat industry, those big ships in the sea pollutes hugely every day.
xiaoshi shi (19 days ago)
Airlines do make money from the first class and the first class do make money from the lower class.
SandboxArrow (19 days ago)
This is why aliens don’t visit us.
Christian Soldier (19 days ago)
Is there anything more overrated than First Class seats?
Raymond (20 days ago)
https://youtu.be/B1NYN6rb6no Air france 🇫🇷 first class
Greg Bloomfield (20 days ago)
...travel miles, travel miles, travels miles....that's the key...and be flexible about when you fly; and the ordinary airline passenger can experience the "Mile High Club" for themselves....whoopie!!!
Varun Thakkar (20 days ago)
Yeah they don’t make money off first class, they just like to offer services that make them absolutely no money cause why not?
Ngư Phủ_Chánh USA (20 days ago)
36k usd for a first class 👍 no thanks. I rather pay 3k usd to pay all 3 seats in 1 row to make my own class😆😆😆 from Alabama USA to Saigon Vietnam.
Sha Clo (8 days ago)
Trần C. Chánh USA You could get business class for 3k 😂
al bundy (21 days ago)
why we love to watch what right doing , which %95 of us will never join them
Yabba Dabba (21 days ago)
$36,000 for a 1st class ticket? I've just hired Ravi for 3 years to cycle me from Delhi to London in his 1st class Rickshaw complete with Bose sound, bar service and curries. 😂😂😂
Pyro- Hazard (21 days ago)
Flight can't fly to other countries they are shot down by missiles in future the missiles are not manufactured by known company they are made by unknown organization they hire mercenaries to fire missiles
Jorch Neto (21 days ago)
short answer is: yes
Moogly Googly (21 days ago)
Just the fact that the seat space is getting smaller while the US pop is growing from obese to morbidly obese is enough to see “flying” as a whole is not a sustainable business. Add factors such as fuel cost, TSA troubles...etc and you know that flying is a dying method of travel. Hoping for teleportation in next 20yrs.
crazy waters (22 days ago)
What kind of bozos would pay $36,000 for a single flight to still be with a bunch of corporate idiots in the same space? For that cash I can charter a private jet and two supermodels to blow me during the trip. People are stupid. #WTF
Jabid21 (22 days ago)
First, business doesn't matter. Airlines make tons of money by nickel and diming everyone while economy passengers get nothing
Robert Talada (22 days ago)
Answer is at 1:03. Don't watch the rest of the video. It sucked. 2/10
Dam Big Foot (22 days ago)
Its because extremely rich people are just buying their own Private jets instead of flying first class. If you have enough to pay 35,000 for a flight, you are rich enough to have no contact with peasants. Its like a roller coaster ride, you can wait an extra 10 minutes for front seat but you can also get preferential treatment by using a fast pass where you skip line all together and get front seat anyway. Private jet people are the fast pass people, and first class are people waiting in line for other people to board.
jfsa380 (23 days ago)
Ahh, but there IS an electric airplane out there. One. Based out of Vancouver.
Kino (23 days ago)
They should have a First Class Pro option for the hardcore Pro.
OmarOmarOmar (24 days ago)
meanwhile, I'm booking my economy class ticket 6 months in advance to get it as cheap as possible lol
Richard Johnson (24 days ago)
Why did I not figure this out ahead of time? CNBC could not even make a 14 minute YouTube video without mentioning Climate Change and how airlines are one of the biggest causes.
MrJigga420 (24 days ago)
That man at the end was trying SO hard to keep a straight face...lying ass "it's not about the profits" LMFAOOOO
Pari (24 days ago)
Normally i prefer business or suit in an airplane than my private jet just because I save the environment.
Normand Champagne (25 days ago)
$36,000?...I will take the money.
Downswing Player (25 days ago)
Hell is a giant airport and the security are the devils.
Supremelol007 Not_telling_you (26 days ago)
My dad hates first class in qantas but the business class is great on qantas
cook master (26 days ago)
CTO Information (26 days ago)
bullet Train!
B W (26 days ago)
CNBC is a left wing propaganda machine.
Chase Witzansky (28 days ago)
Why does this guy sound like he's reading an essay
Ludwig van Beethoven (27 days ago)
Chase Witzansky cuz he is
Mark Jacob (28 days ago)
36K for a first class? Nah man people use private jets nowadays 😂
Cristina Lexy Reef Tank (28 days ago)
We are living the golden age of flying first class👍:I wish I was rich!😆. Economic class people fly packed in micro seats like animals😕.
Mesoud Guli (28 days ago)
If am rich I will fly first class every time
The Beginning Gamer (28 days ago)
Wouldn’t it be logica to fly from New York to Mumbai the other way around... didnt Columbus Tracy you something
hbarudi (29 days ago)
This is the ultimate version of the business class luxuries that give you your own hotel room on the plane, but you do have to be with a lot of $ to pay for this...
freakyflow (29 days ago)
When US comapnies outsource Turbine blades to be refurbished instead of fully new casted blades to a Canadian company that hires unskilled labour to do the job You know they are cost cutting everything at the risk of human lifes first class or not
Taekwondo Time (29 days ago)
Most airlines don't even have a first class section on the plane any more. That's totally old school. Most first class travellers moved on from flying commercial to flying on private jets.
Enrique Watchu (29 days ago)
Well uhm duh?
Kaguya Shinomiya (29 days ago)
"They had a piano bar" Me: cool "But it was actually an organ" Me: *Wot?*
slick175 (24 days ago)
i like it ;)
R O S A E Y (29 days ago)
I’ve been one of these flights. I bought a business class ticket luckily it was upgraded to First class. Regardless of the high price, it was worth the experience. The food was great and everything was luxurious as if you were a Royalty. But tbh spending that much for only hours, I rather spend that money on other things
Travis N (29 days ago)
Not the Fokker
Thanos (29 days ago)
That’s Emirates business class on the thumbnail lol
Bryan Merkley (29 days ago)
And this wasnt made bycmbc
Samuel Nazario (29 days ago)
"environmental concerns" that literally no one but the cat lady have
Samuel Nazario (29 days ago)
This video is so biased against airlines. seriously what is wrong with liberals? 100 Years ago it took weeks to go across the world and for most of human history it would have taken months and you could have died. TODAY, FOR THE COST OF ONE MONTHS SALARY FOR MOST LOWER CLASS PEOPLE YOU CAN FLY TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLANET IN LESS THAN 24HOURS AND THE BAD GUY IS WHO??? SMH
Simon Grönlund (29 days ago)
Great review of the different fares but most of all I like that you point out the "climate change" and how air-plains contribute a lot to that problem. Why not use buses or trains for shorter or medium distances? Or use Skype, WebEx and services like that instead?
Computersaur (29 days ago)
Tldr; yes, 7-15%
moot2046 (29 days ago)
Because most Video conferencing sound and video is still sucks. How many people will think it is a privilege to take more than 5 hours in traveling frequently ?
PSP REVIEWS (30 days ago)
What About Singapore Airlines First Class????
AmoebaCulture (30 days ago)
An advertisement masquerading as news.
world citizen G (30 days ago)
I'm just happy when I flew Emirates or Air France to Europe on their economy. Two free checked bags, Emirates has real utensils on Economy, Air France offered sparkling wine on economy but you have to ask before it's gone
Zachary Joshua Jao (30 days ago)
The real question is how much do they own not if they do make money of first class
Gabriel Joseph Goc-ong (30 days ago)