Hi. Before I delve any deeper into what has become, at least for yours truly, a disproportionately personal question, I’m obliged to offer an introduction to myself. You’ll understand words, and for whatever points I’m using them to convey, posses somewhat more gravity should I offer some semblance of the individual behind them.

For a start – my name and label. My name is Tom. At this point, the egoist wants to go to some concerted effort to erect a personality; an image against which you can attach each of the opinions I will no doubt splurge. This is of no consequence to you, and I will spare you my muddled attempts at establishing what it is that confuses and compounds the opinions that have led to this blog. Instead I provide the tangible information. I am an Australian, brought up well outside the bounds of globalisation and the cosmopolitan in a country town, whose closest connection to the networked world of air travel was (and I believe remains) the criss-cross of contrails that webbed across our town – a majority of which more than likely left by those making the weekly pilgrimage between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. However, my pre-adolescent inquisitiveness, envisaged a terminal destination much further afield.

Leaping forward a number of years – the melancholic, try-hard, Hollywood-conforming years typical of everyone’s adolescence are of no interest, nor of any surprise, to anyone trudging through this introduction – I find myself in a contrasting scene. I moved to London, became a consultant (in aviation, no less) and immediately became engaged in regular traversing between country and country, continent and continent. It was this continuous traipsing that spawned the concept of FlightMaestro. I won’t give this period the satisfaction of being called the catalyst that created my passion for aircraft – that would be far too scripted – but I will say it exposed the gulfs between different carriers, smashing previous conceptions and firmly establishing new ones. In a time when the hysterical among us proclaimed air travel had become commoditised, I found it resembled anything but this dreary characterisation. I trust, as I continue to write, this will become apparent. And on that conciliatory note, I’ll get onto my point.

Economy class, despite an almost gleeful decimation of comfort by a number of seemingly well-to-do air carriers, is showing a wink of a rebound back towards the interests of customers.

At the risk of sounding gratuitously platitudinous, we live in incredibly exciting times for air travel. Premium cabins continue their march into the metaphoric stratosphere of comfort and luxury, and Economy class, despite an almost gleeful decimation of comfort by a number of seemingly well-to-do air carriers (we will get to those), is showing a promising wink of a rebound back towards the interests of customers. Online, an unprecedented number of travel bloggers, point-hacks and luxury product “testers” have spawned, however I can’t be blamed for pointing to the gapping lack of proverbial air-travel academia willing to dedicate their efforts to the experiences of the customer schlepping it in Economy. I probably cannot blame them, given their various successes with premium travel being the goal. This blog is not a member of this tribe. I trust its usefulness across the fare-spectrum will become apparent.

I seek neither to influence nor convince anyone of which airline constitutes the best option for them. Indeed, deep down the only opinions we ever come to embody are those we form ourselves. I seek only to inform.

The blog entries proceeding this one will be tackling this question empirically and from virtually every angle – this methodology will be detailed almost too transparently in a soon-to-be-posted blog. If I’m being entirely realistic, I’ll only be adding fuel to an already roaring fire of debate, however it’s a debate that serves to keep the big carriers honest.

Posted by Tom

Tom is a consultant and founder of FlightMaestro.net, the online travel tool that rates, ranks and dissects every facet of in-flight passenger experience. All views expressed are his own.

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