I've heard many comments from passengers seated in Economy Class, but I'm yet to hear a fellow sufferer mutter: "Gee, I wish I had a little less leg-room."

Last year, Delta became the first major US carrier to offer a class beneath Economy. "Economy Basic" delivers all the misery you've come to expect of a flying sardine can - but with added indignity. Of course, low-cost carriers have been skimping on the trim for some time. Now United and American Airlines are following Delta and, if it takes off Stateside, you could expect to see this trend in other competitive short-haul markets, like Asia and Europe. Respected airline brands cutting back on service to compete with their agile low-cost rivals.

It's an angle Air New Zealand are working with their stripped-back "Seat" and "Bag" options in the crammed transtasman skies.

We mustn't grumble. Despite the muttered profanities of those passengers in Economy, the only time the airlines are seriously interested in your thoughts is when you're making financial decisions about what to pay for the flight. The airlines pay very smart people to analyse your purchasing decisions and guess what: we asked for this.


In my days living in London, we'd take cheap flights to the Continent every month or so. Ryanair was often the chosen vessel. The flights were awful. Some landed at airports miles removed from the city to which they claimed to be headed. "I'll never fly Ryanair again," we'd exclaim after returning. "Ooooh, 17 quid to Barcelona ..."

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