Airline Passengers Cut Back on Premium Seating

As airlines continue to cut back on costs, many passengers have cut back on purchasing first-class and business-class seats. Citing American Express' quarterly Amex Business Travel Monitor, today's USA Today notes that the number of business-class seats sold on international flights declined 2 percent during the second quarter this year when compared to the same period in 2007. In addition, the number of first-class seats sold for flights within North America dropped from 4 percent to 3 percent during the same period.

Travelers who purchased coach seats instead of a first-class ticket on domestic flights saved between $400 to $800 in 2007, while international travelers saved thousands.

As Labor Day soon passes and fall approaches, however, experts believe this downward trend may abate. Price-tracker Bob Harrell at Harrell Associates told USA Today that October is the biggest month for business travel because of its full 31 days and lack of major holidays. "It's a busy month for business people trying to wrap up big sales deals for the end of the year," he said. "I think business travelers will keep on flying, while trying to economize as much as they can, but we're going into new territory."

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