The Economy Is Just Like a Plane: Coach Sucks

And first class is constantly getting nicer
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2013 1:45 PM CDT
The Economy Is Just Like a Plane: Coach Sucks
This Oct. 28, 2011 file photo shows the new first class interior section of a United Airlines 747 plane at San Francisco International Airport.   (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Take a good look at first class on the way to your cramped coach seat the next time you take a flight, because "airline seating may be the best concrete expression of what's happened to the economy in recent decades," writes Harold Meyerson at the Washington Post . Airlines are rushing to install ever more luxurious—and more expensive—first class seats, while "at the other end of the economic spectrum low-cost airlines that recreate the thrill of traveling in steerage are thriving, too."

Even JetBlue has just announced that it's adding first class seating on cross-country flights, something it's long eschewed in favor of more leg room for all. It's a "fairly faithful mirror of what's happening in the larger economy: the disappearance of the middle class." Median household income has fallen every year since 2008, even as income for the top 1% skyrockets. Decisions like JetBlue's illustrate why this is a problem: "Airplanes, like stagnating economies, are finite." Space given to first class is legroom coach doesn't get. (More income inequality stories.)

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