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Northwest Cuts First Class on World Flights

October 01, 2000

Starting today, Northwest Airlines will end first-class service on international flights, although it continues domestic first class.

There is "some demand for first class," but a "much bigger demand for business class" on Northwest's international flights, according to Northwest spokesman Doug Killian. A major reason, he indicated, is that a seat on, say, an LAX-Tokyo round trip can cost about $8,000 in first class versus $4,000 in business. Some companies that foot the difference on lower domestic fares balk at the international gap, he said.

The action is being taken in cooperation with partner KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. In lieu of first class, both airlines are upgrading business class with added legroom (60 inches versus 48 inches of "seat pitch," the distance between seat backs) and seats that recline farther. The upgrades are being added gradually, with all planes expected to have them by May.

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