My flights to and from Austin were relatively under booked and Continental upgraded me to first class in both directions. This has only happened a couple of times to me, but every time it happens I am amazed at how much much it improves the experience, even with long runway delays which is very typical when flying out of Newark.
First class has a couple of nice perks, like slightly better food and lots of ass kissing. However, by far the biggest perk is the additional space to relax, work, and simply breath. I would guess there is about 33% or so addition space (2 seats per row/side instead of 3).
So here is my suggestion if anyone at Continental is listening (which I doubt they are): raise prices by 33% and make every seat a first class seat. You will have much more happy customers, less of them to deal with/support, and better profit margins (be the Apple of airlines). To make the deal even more appealing, you can even skip the enhanced meals (honestly, no body likes your food).
You may be thinking about the extra margins made today’s first class seats? I don’t have any stats, but my money says almost no body buys them. They are always filled by upgraded frequent fliers. And of course, you could always add super first class with custom LazyBoy chairs for the folks who need to spend four times more.
What do you say Continental? Do you have the guts to not suck?