Only a matter of weeks after we reported on the ‘first class only’ airline that was purportedly offering a first-class experience for all its passengers that we think slightly missed the mark, a new airline — BermudAir — has announced that it’s launching ‘business class only’ planes on a handful of routes from the USA.
This new airline, which seems to fly in the face of the wider trend whereby premium economy is becoming the new ‘money-making machine‘ — as announced by the Emirates CEO — will soon have a special fleet of jets flying from Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and New York to Bermuda from $199 USD per ticket.
While the airline is set to begin flying on August 31st, minor supply-chain issues mean that the airline’s custom-designed pods won’t actually be rolled out until the 1st of November. From hereon out, however, BermudAir’s planes — all E175s — will be fitted out with only thirty seats across the entire jet.
WATCH: Why not compare BermudAir’s offering to Cathay Pacific’s new business class look?
What Does BermudAir Offer?
Laid out in fifteen rows of a 1:1 configuration, BermudAir aims to replicate the space, comfort, and amenities that would normally be reserved for passengers paying a hefty premium on larger carriers for all of their passengers at a significantly lower price point.
While tickets will go up to $999 USD once the retrofitting is complete in November, seats come equipped with in-seat power, free Wi-Fi, and enough storage space for both a carry-on and personal item. Notably, overhead lockers will be done away with in order to create a more spacious and airy feeling throughout the cabin.
In addition, all onboard food — including treats from Bermuda-based French bakery l’Artisan Boulangerie and Ahmani’s Cookie Company — as well as all beverages — including the airline’s featured “Dark ‘n’ Stormy” cocktail, a mix of Goslings Black Seal Rum, ginger beer, and lime — are included free of charge, as reported by AFAR.
BermudAir founder and CEO Adam Scott had this to say about the launch:
“We are excited to launch BermudAir as Bermuda’s first carrier, maintaining our commitment to start filling seasonal service gaps and establish frequency of service to and from the island this fall… Our mission to elevate the travel experience for everyone and provide well-timed, traveler-centric, stress-free flights on these new routes is just the beginning.”Adam Scott
Could BermudAir Change The Industry?
While the differences between this ‘business class only’ airline and the ‘first class only’ airline on which I came down quite hard a few weeks ago may only be a matter of semantics, with some time to reflect I believe that they could represent “just the beginning” of a promising sea change in air travel.
In short, what these airlines tell us is that a kind of air travel wherein passengers don’t have to endure being stuffed in like sardines in claustrophobic 3:3:3 configurations is entirely possible. I, like many, spent a long time under the impression that airlines packed economy flyers in like this as a matter of necessity because they required a certain number of ticket sales in order to make each journey financially viable.
While there may be some truth in that, the fact that air travel costs seem to continually skyrocket while the space that passengers get to enjoy actually shrinks in many cases makes, economy passengers feel like they’re getting an increasingly rough deal.
The Contrast With Economy
If you then contrast that with these challenger airlines who seem to have found a workable business model wherein passengers get ample space, comfort, and amenities at a cost that, though not cheap, hardly represents a significant markup compared to the jaw-dropping prices that larger carriers are demanding for their much less enticing economy seats… you begin to wonder if economy has always been a bit of rip-off.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m aware that these new airlines don’t exactly qualify as “budget” alternatives to big carriers, but given how much more generous the offer seems to be for each passenger — not to mention the far more democratic feel of an entire plane enjoying the same level of amenities, rather than the old-fashioned “class” system that always breeds a level of resentment between cabins — there may just be something unexpectedly hopeful in this launch.
Plane tickets are still expensive, but if I take the view that I’m going to be out a large sum of money either way, knowing that there’s an airline out there that genuinely wants to put the comfort of the traveller first — without compromising on the comfort of the passengers behind me — has a surprisingly strong appeal.
While the proof will very much be in the pudding, I look forward to seeing if BermudAir lives up to expectations… and even more so to trying out a “Dark ‘n’ Stormy” for myself.