Six months ago, airberlin embarked on a retrofit program to add their version of a “premium economy” seat called “XL” into its long haul flight of Airbus A330-200 aircrafts) (News – September 2, 2015).
The XL seats feature an additional 6 inches (~15cm) of pitch providing about 20% more space and improve the overall passenger experience.
There are 48 seats configured with these seats at the front of the economy cabin from row 14-19 and 36.
The initial price set at €79 or ~US$87 (to start) proved to be an attractive option to long haul passengers.
“Whilst other airlines rely on premium economy, airberlin’s decision to offer XL seats in economy class at a relatively affordable price was absolutely right. The XL seats are very popular with our passengers, especially on long-haul tourist routes, and already have an average occupancy rate of over 80%. The seats are now the bestseller among our fee-based ancillary services. On our new long-haul routes to Boston, San Francisco and Havana we are also experiencing lively demand,” airberlin CCO Julio Rodriguez said.
The Berlin based airline decided to lower the price further to €69 or ~US$75 (8%) (with purchase 30 hours before departure) until the end of April 30, 2016 to promote the seats further and achieve a higher load factor. Passengers who purchased a Flyflex fare ticket can pick a XL seat directly without additional charge.
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airberlin is an oneworld alliance member and an equity partner with Etihad Airways (EY). It currently flies to the following Transatlantic destinations:
Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and Havana are the destinations with the expanded configuration. Others are served with Airbus A330-200 (All Economy version) aircrafts that feature 8 XL seats.
In a piece of smart marketing, the airline is promoting the XL seats as part of its economy product instead of premium economy. This allows the airline to claim the title for having the most economy seats with a higher pitch in Transatlantic service. Additionally, they can generate upwards to €6,624 or ~US$7,220 in extra ancillary revenue every roundtrip.