How Bad Is Business Class Demand This Summer? Pretty Bad

First the airlines began offering discounted business class fares for travel this summer--around $2000 round trip with an advance purchase and Saturday night stay. But these kinds of deals have become common place during the summer season over the past few years. [more]

Then, particularly to London, where a host of new competition has be launched with the opening of London Heathrow, came bonus miles. Lots of them. American and Delta have both been offering 50,000 bonus miles with the purchase of a round trip business class ticket. Both promotions were supposed to end tomorrow but Delta has continued this promotion all the way until the end of September--well into the usual peak demand period for business travel. Details here. Delta is also offering 25,000 miles for coach tickets by the way.

Today, Delta began offering upgrades into Business Class from select coach fares for 1 mile. Yes, that is correct, one (1) frequent flyer mile will get you a big seat to Europe, South America or Asia. Granted, the lowest coach fares do not qualify (you need to buy one of the more expensive Y, B or M fare classes) but it is still an amazing deal. Usually, Delta requires 25,000 miles EACH WAY for an upgrade into Business Elite as Delta's business class is known. Travel is possible until September 15th. The deal isn'tavailable online but can be booked by calling Delta's reservation centers.

We give credit to Delta for trying something new to stimulate some demand--this is certainly better than dropping business class prices and trashing the marketplace. Delta may tempt some people to try the product who would not have otherwise. And some revenue is better than nada these days in the airline biz.

These insights are excerpted with permission from Tom Botts' Hudson Crossing blog.