About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

01 December 2011

The Economy and Business Travel

In the past few months, I have made almost weekly trips between Johannesburg and Cape Town; which has meant a lot of flights. It initially started around April, when the regularity was around every 2 - 3 weeks, but in the past 3 months; it has been every week. In comparison to previous years, I have spent a lot more time in airports than previous years.

Surprisingly, on my return flight this week; for the first time this year, I was upgraded to Business Class. It is surprising because of a simple reason - late last year, when I had a period of regular travel - my seat on every domestic flight was upgraded. Having sufficient "status" on frequent flyer programs has meant that I am often earlier in the queue to get upgraded - but upgrades require full planes; and flights are just not that full. Airports are certainly busy; but flights are not that full to the extent of having stand-by passengers; and often the middle rows are empty on the flights. This is an observation many of my frequent flyer colleagues have also made.

This brings me to the economy - South Africa, while not in a recession does not currently have a strong economy. And trade is a big indicator of a strong economy, as is a healthy business travel volume. And it is not because business is buckling down and getting on Kulula et al. - in fact my SAA and BA flights are sometimes cheaper that the "low cost" airlines; and the same observation of a few empty seats also apply to them.

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