The Economist: “Priority landing for first-class passengers”

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The Economist’s Gulliver Business travel column had interesting piece “Priority landing for first-class passengers” this past week.

The Economist Priority landing for first-class passengers

The airlines could in the future request priority landing from the air traffic control for example to air planes that have high number of business and first class seats or greater number of connecting passengers.

You can access The Economist piece here and below is an excerpt:

THOSE who fly in airlines’ premium cabins expect to be delivered seamlessly to their flat-beds. Limousines to the airport, use of luxurious departure lounges while their plane is readied, and certainly none of that pesky queuing with hoi polloi to get through security—every potential irritant is swept aside. But once in the sky, at least, there is no way for our betters to jump the queue. When caught in a holding pattern over London, they just have to sit it out with the rest of us.

At least for now. Speaking at a lecture at the Royal Academy of Engineering, reported by the Sunday Times, Richard Deakin, the boss of Britain’s National Air Traffic Service, held out some hope for VIP flyers. Mr Deakin revealed that in future airlines might be able to request that planes with a high proportion of first- or business-class passengers be given landing priority.

This would only apply between flights operated by the same airline—so British Airways could bump its Hong Kong flight ahead of its Ibiza one, but not ahead of that of a low-cost rival. But abandoning the traditional “first-come, first-served” rule of landing aircraft at busy airports will feel to many like another turn of the rack that is economy-class flying.


Of course, the airlines are already prioritizing flights, when they usually cancel short-haul flights in case of irregular operations at the airports that suddenly allow less than the usual number of take off and landing slots.

It would make sense to prioritize landings of flights that are delayed and great number of passengers would miss their transfers. I am, however, against prioritizing flights that are merely business and first class passenger heavy.

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