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Delta and United make plays for premium passengers

March 24, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • United Airlines' lay-flat seats are featured in its new "premium service."
United Airlines' lay-flat seats are featured in its new "premium… (United Airlines )

Delta Air Lines recently began testing a program that greets its corporate clients by name when they check in at an airport kiosk or use the Delta mobile app.

And last week, United Airlines introduced its first planes with revamped cabins for transcontinental “premium service” customers. The new interiors have Wi-Fi service, on-demand entertainment and seats that convert into 180-degree flat beds.

The efforts to court first-class and business-class travelers make sense. Such fliers typically buy the most expensive seats and book at the last minute, incurring the highest fares.

First- and business-class passengers make up only 8% of international travelers but account for 27% of revenue, according to the International Air Transport Assn. American Airlines said 25% of its passengers generate 70% of its revenue.

Delta spokeswoman Lindsay McDuff called the new corporate greeting program “an effort to differentiate ourselves for our high-value customers.”

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