Emirates abandons first class on flights to Gatwick

Winter flights to Gatwick feature only business and economy class cabins on higher density A380s
Emirates is scaling back A380 flights to US following drop in demand due to US laptop ban for Gulf carriers.
Emirates is scaling back A380 flights to US following drop in demand due to US laptop ban for Gulf carriers.

Emirates is jettisoning first class seats, opting for high-density A380s on its flight to Gatwick, UK this winter.

Emirates flies three A380s per day to Gatwick, with 489 seats across three cabins. Some of these routes will now feature 615 seats, the current maximum in the industry, across only business and economy.

The move, first reported by The Independent quoting Routes Online, indicates that the intersection between traveller preference and cabin profitability is shifting away from what has traditionally been the most prestigious cabin on an aircraft.

First and business class have historically brought in the largest portion of revenue on flights, but reports have suggested improvements in business class, as well as a reduced demand for the top tier of travel have diminished the returns derived from the top cabin tier of commercial travel. 

During his tenure as Air France-KLM CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, now IATA director general, had famously summed the sentiment up three years ago by saying, "No one makes money from first class."

Emirates unveiled new first class cabins for its B777s earlier this year but with fewer suites than earlier.

In September, Emirates President Tim Clark had suggested the airline might dissect its economy class cabins into further options including premium economy as well as basic economy.

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