What I Wonder Wednesday – In Defence of Cattle Class

plane interiorThere’s a new commercial featuring Jennifer Aniston where she has a ‘nightmare’ – that she is travelling on an American airline in ‘cattle class’, and doesn’t get the service that she’s used to on an Emirates aircraft.

It’s an amusing ad .. but I have to say, the comments it has generated are both predictable and petty. The most common responses seems to be variations on “Airlines suck!”, “Cattle class sucks!”, “I hate flying these days”, and “Remember when flying was fun?”

It’s true – flying economy is not always the most pleasant experience. Space is cramped, you don’t get the service that was once offered, luggage limits (especially carry-on) are being squeezed, and you get nickel-and-dimed on everything from iPad hire to food and drink.

But you know what? You get what you pay for.


If you want the sort of service that harks back to the ‘good old days’, you have to go Business, or even First Class. Because Economy is just that: Economy. And it is incredibly cheap, in historical terms.

In 1990, for example, it cost nearly $5000 to fly myself, Shirley, and our two pre-teen kids from Adelaide to Brisbane to see Shirl’s parents, then to Far North Queensland to see mine, and then back to Adelaide.

That’s the equivalent of just over $9000 today.  And for well under $9000, You could fly two adults and two kids from Brisbane to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to New York, New York to London, London to Dubai, and from Dubai back to Brisbane. And that was just using a basic Skyscanner search – I have no doubt I could find better deals if I put my mind to it. fiji plane

Air travel today is incredibly cheap. That’s why Aussies can think nothing of heading off to Bali for a week – or why Americans can fly home to see family for Thanksgiving from (say) Miami to Minneapolis return for about $250

Yes – you have to pay for a toastie on Jetstar, you are limited to 7kg of carry-on luggage (including handbags) on most domestic airlines, inflight WiFi (even if available) costs up to $20 a day on US domestic carriers .. but you can still fly to more places, more often, for less money than ever before.

So if you want Jennifer Aniston’s bar, and shower, you can still get one. For $8500, give-or-take, based on Emirates First Class Brisbane to London.

But if you’d rather spend money at your destination, rather than on getting there, then travelling in ‘cattle class’ has a lot going for it. And you can make the most of it. Just ask my niece, Monique 🙂

plane asleep

2 thoughts on “What I Wonder Wednesday – In Defence of Cattle Class

  1. Pingback: Losing my anonymity – Cornwall Dreaming

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