您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 旅游 >> 正文

商务舱服务愈益奢华,加深机舱内待遇鸿沟

更新时间:2014/6/4 11:46:14 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Piling On the Luxury
商务舱服务愈益奢华,加深机舱内待遇鸿沟

For most travelers, flying in style may be a thing of the past, but airlines are determined to bring back some glamour to air travel, at least for those sitting in the front of the plane.

在多数乘客眼中,坐飞机早已不是一件需要盛装出席的大事,可是现在,许多航空公司决定为飞行增加更多的魅力,至少是为了那些机舱前部的乘客。

Flat beds and fluffy pillows, fancy wines and four-course meals, designer-brand pajamas and luxurious vanity kits — these options have become the staple of business-class travel these days.

平躺式座椅、松软的枕头、昂贵的美酒、四菜佳肴、品牌睡衣和奢侈的洗漱套装,最近几年来,人们在商务旅行中对这些选项早已习以为常。

And after a couple of sluggish years, business travel spending in the United States is forecast to grow by 7.1 percent to $293 billion in 2014, according the Global Business Travel Association. Spending on international travel is expected to increase almost twice as fast, at 13 percent, to reach $37 billion.

根据全球商务旅行协会的统计数据,美国的商务旅行消费经历几年的低迷之后,预计2014年会增长7.1%,增至2930亿美元。预计国际旅行领域的费用增速几乎翻倍,将以13%的速度增至370亿美元。

With this pickup in corporate travel, airlines are taking extra steps to offer ever more personal services and benefits to compete for high-value business passengers, even as they squeeze more travelers in the back.

既然商务旅行增速喜人,航空公司趁机更进一步,争相提供更多贴心的服务和福利,试图赢取高端商务旅客的欢心,哪怕与此同时,他们在机舱的后部塞进了更多的乘客。

“Corporate passengers are definitely being fought over by all the airlines,” said Claudia Sender, the chief executive of TAM Airlines, the Brazilian carrier. “They have never been so important because of their willingness to pay more.”

“显然,各大航空公司争夺的目标是商务旅行的乘客。”巴西天马航空公司(TAM)的首席执行官克劳迪娅·森德(Claudia Sender)说,“他们前所未有的重要,因为他们肯多花钱。”

Airlines have always treated their business-class passengers a little better than the rest. But in today’s era of mass travel, the extra attention to the front of the cabin has increased disparities in the air as never before.

商务舱乘客的待遇总是比其他乘客好。但在这个大众旅行的时代,对机舱前部乘客的格外关注,已经造成了航空旅行中前所未有的不平等。

“The gap between what’s going on at the front of the plane and in the back has never been wider,” said Tim Winship, publisher of the FrequentFlyer.com website. He added: “If you’re one of the lucky few who flies first or business class these days — it’s as good as it’s ever been. It’s all about profitability. Given the disproportionate contribution from high-yield customers, it would be financially irrational for the airlines not to take this into consideration.” Airlines typically charge six to eight times as much for business class as for coach on long-haul, international flights, and two to three times as much for first class as for business class. For a passenger booking a month in advance, Cathay Pacific, for instance, can charge $900 for a round-trip economy ticket from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, $6,400 in business class, and nearly $16,000 in first class.

“机舱前部与后排乘客之间的待遇鸿沟从来没有像现在这么巨大,”FrequentFlyer.com网站发行人蒂姆·温希普(Tim Winship)说,“如果你最近作为幸运的头等舱或商务舱乘客旅行过,就会发现你说享受的是有史以来最好的服务。这一切围绕的核心是盈利能力。由于高端客户对航空公司的贡献非常大,大得不成比例,所以,要是航空公司不考虑这个因素,在财政上未免太不理性了。”一般来说,长距离飞行的国际航班上,商务舱的票价是经济舱的六至八倍,而头等舱又是商务舱的二至三倍。比如,一名乘客提前一个月预订香港国泰航空公司(Cathay Pacific)从洛杉矶到香港的双程机票,经济舱只需900美元,商务舱则是6400美元,头等舱将近16000美元。

(The difference in prices on domestic flights is not as wide as on international flights, meaning coach passengers contribute a far higher share to the flight’s total revenues.)

(国内航班的机票差价没有国际航班那么大,这意味着普通沙发座椅上的乘客对国内航班总收益所贡献的份额要高得多。)

Corporate accounts get discounts in exchange for a commitment to buy business-class seats, and airlines will often throw in a few first-class seats as incentives to sweeten the deal.

公司客户如果承诺订购商务舱座席,可以得到打折优惠,同时,航空公司往往会额外赠送几个头等舱座席,客户会由此感觉更加划算。

About a third of the passengers on a plane, generally those flying in the premium cabins or paying full fare for economy tickets, account for roughly two-thirds of an airline’s revenue.

一趟航班上,大约三分之一的乘客(通常是豪华舱位内的乘客与全价订票的经济舱乘客)为航空公司贡献了大约三分之二的收益。

So it’s no surprise that airlines are redoubling efforts to please these corporate passengers even at a time when business travelers are trying to stretch their travel budgets.

所以,哪怕商务乘客不断试图缩减旅行预算,各航空公司依然在加倍努力,竭力赢取他们的欢心。这不足为奇。

They get speedier service at the airport, their bags come out of the carousel first, they can use faster security lanes and their check-in counters are less crowded. They are also the first to board and get off the plane. Some airlines have dedicated terminals for first-class passengers and provide limousine transfers on the tarmac between flights.

在机场,高端客人享受更快捷的服务,他们的行李最先从传送带上出来,使用更快的安全通道,专属登机柜台前人很少。他们最早登机,最早下机。有些航空公司的头等舱乘客有专属的航站楼,并可享受奢侈的中转服务。

Delta Air Lines, for instance, picks up some of its connecting elite passengers in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minneapolis and takes them to their next flight in a Porsche Cayenne. United Airlines offers a similar service at Chicago O’Hare, Newark Liberty, San Francisco International and George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, with a Mercedes GL-Class, and plans to expand it to Los Angeles International in May and Washington Dulles and Denver International later this year.

例如,达美航空公司(Delta Air Lines)的高端乘客在纽约、亚特兰大、洛杉矶和明尼阿波利斯中转时,达美用保时捷卡宴载他们去往下一班飞机。美国联合航空公司(United Airlines)在芝加哥奥黑尔国际机场(Chicago O’Hare)、纽瓦克自由机场(Newark Liberty)、旧金山国际机场(San Francisco International)和休斯顿的乔治布什国际机场(George Bush Intercontinental)提供相似的服务,使用的豪车是奔驰GL-Class,并计划在五月份将此项服务推广到洛杉矶国际机场(Los Angeles International),今年晚些时候,推广到华盛顿杜勒斯国际机场(Washington Dulles)和丹佛国际机场(Denver International)。

“We know, because our business customers tell us, that what matters most to our passengers are speed and efficiency, and that’s what we try to provide,” said Mike Henny, Delta’s director of customer experience. “We try to think about the entire journey.”

“我们知道,商务舱乘客说他们最在意的是速度与效率,所以我们要竭尽全力满足他们。”达美航空公司的客户体验主任麦克·汉尼(Mike Henny)说,“我们要尽可能把整个旅程都考虑进去。”

Inside the plane, the most visible sign of this attention is the latest generation of business-class seats. The standard today are comfortable seats that can be turned into flat beds, not angled ones, where passengers complain of sliding down as they sleep. Many airlines now favor seats that have direct-aisle access for passengers, meaning travelers do not have to climb over a sleeping neighbor if they want to get out of their seats in the middle of the night.

在机舱内也能发现对高端客户的额外关照,最明显的迹象就是最新一代的商务舱座椅。今天的标准是舒适的平躺式座椅,它可以调成一张床,而不是乘客屡屡抱怨的入睡之后身体容易下滑的那种斜躺式座椅。现在,很多航空公司青睐可直通过道的座椅,这样一来,假如乘客在夜间想走出座位,就不必从梦中的邻座身上爬过去。

Air France is the latest of the big global carriers to realize that these features have become indispensable in the battle for corporate accounts. The airline recently announced that as part of a $500 million investment to upgrade its cabins, it will install new flatbed seats in business class. Each costs at least $68,000, and Air France will begin fitting them in June on its fleet of Boeing 777s.

在全球各大航空公司中,法国航空公司(Air France)最早意识到飞机上的这些设施在高端客户争夺战中多么的不可或缺。最近,它宣布投资5亿美元对机舱进行升级,包括在商务舱安装新型平躺式座椅。每张座椅成本至少68000美元,6月份,将在该公司的波音777客机系列上完成安装。

The investments, says Alexandre de Juniac, the airline’s chairman and chief executive, have become necessary for Air France to compete against Asian and Middle Eastern carriers that long-ago started lavishing the most luxurious amenities on their business-class and first-class customers.

法航的董事长兼首席执行官亚历山大·德·朱尼亚克(Alexandre de Juniac)说,这些投资已经成为他们打败亚洲及中东竞争对手的必备武器,因为后者很久以前就开始用极为奢侈华丽的舱内设施来取悦商务舱与头等舱的乘客了。

“Our only weapons, since we can’t lower our costs to the same level as theirs, is to fight back with our own quality services,” said Mr. de Juniac.

“我们的成本无法降到和他们一样低,所以我们唯一的武器就是自己独有的优质服务了。”朱尼亚克先生说。

Emirates, the Dubai-based carrier, has two showers inside its flagship fleet of Airbus A380s for its first-class cabin. Korean Airlines has a spacious bar and lounge for its first-class passengers on its own A380s. Even egalitarian JetBlue Airways is getting in on the act. The low-cost airline is introducing new first-class and business-class seats on its Airbus A321 jets operating transcontinental routes starting this year.

阿联酋航空公司(Emirates)位于迪拜,它的旗舰战队空客A380的头等舱内配套了两间淋浴室。大韩航空公司(Korean Airlines)的A380客机的头等舱内有宽敞的酒吧和休闲厅。哪怕是主张平等的廉价运营商捷蓝航空(JetBlue Airways)也参加了这些活动。它为A321喷气机引入了新的头等舱和商务舱座椅,从今年开始,又开通了横贯美洲大陆的航线。

Delta last month announced it had just finished installing full flatbed seats with direct-aisle access in its business-class cabin across its entire international wide-body fleet, which includes its Airbus A330s and Boeing 767s, 747s and 777s.

上个月,达美航空宣布旗下所有国际航线宽体机的商务舱都已经安装了平躺式座椅,均可直通过道。这些宽体机包括空客A330,波音767、747和777。

Airline executives say these expensive amenities are worth the cost because of the much higher fares they can charge for business class.

运营商的高管们说,购买这些昂贵的设备完全值得,因为商务舱的票价要高出许多。

And airlines have realized that offering a real opportunity for a good night’s sleep while aboard has become a competitive tool, particularly with the advent of new jets that can fly longer distances without stopping for fuel. These include the Boeing 777, which has become a flagship aircraft for the world’s longest routes, and the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which can provide nonstop flights between the East Coast of the United States and Japan, or between Europe and Australia.

航空公司都意识到,为乘客提供真正意义上的优质夜间睡眠,已经成为一件颇有竞争力的工具,尤其是随着新式喷气机的问世,飞机可连续长距离飞行,不需要降落补充燃油。这些新机型包括波音777,它已经成为全世界航线最长的旗舰级飞行器;还有新式波音787梦幻客机(Dreamliner),可从美国东海岸不着陆飞行至日本,或者从欧洲飞到澳大利亚。

Given the limited real estate in an airline cabin, the downside of these seats is that they take up more space.

考虑到机舱内空间有限,这些豪华座椅的劣势就是太占地方。

“For the business class to be profitable you need to be able to generate significant fare premiums to justify the extra real estate,” said Willie Walsh, the chief executive of International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia. “It’s an interesting balancing act.”

“商务舱如果想赚钱,必须具备显著的票价优势,才能抵消额外占用的那些空间。”国际航空集团(International Airlines Group)的首席执行官威利·沃尔什(Willie Walsh)说。该集团是英国航空公司(British Airways)与西班牙伊比利亚航空公司(Iberia)的母公司。“这是一项有趣的平衡措施。”

This has forced seat makers to come up with innovative designs to increase seat density in business class without sacrificing comfort.

这也迫使座椅制造商去构思更新颖的设计,既增加商务舱的座椅密度,又不牺牲舒适度。

Tomorrow’s business seat will most likely offer movie suggestions based on passengers’ preferences stored in their mobile devices. Seat headrests will come with a surround-sound system to provide an immersive experience. And television screens will be even bigger, rivaling what many people have at home.

未来的商务舱座椅有可能会根据乘客存储在移动设备内的喜好推荐电影。座椅头枕将配备环绕立体声音响设备,乘客可享受浸入式体验。电视屏幕将会更大,甚至可以跟家用电视相比。

Airline seats are borrowing tricks from the hotel industry, too, which has long focused on improving a guest’s sleep experience. Japan Airlines, for example, is offering a selection of different pillows similar to what’s found in many high-end hotels. It is also working with a mattress company to develop extra padding for its seats to make the beds more comfortable.

飞机座椅也借鉴了酒店业的花招,因为长期以来,酒店业一直在致力于优化顾客的睡眠体验。例如,日本航空公司(Japan Airlines)为乘客提供各式枕头,正如许多高端酒店那样。它还与一家床垫公司合作,为座椅开发一种优质填料,让平躺式座椅更加舒适。

But competing with seats alone can be a tricky business. The best seat on the market can only be unrivaled for a short while before another airline comes up with a new product, fueling an expensive arms race. And since seats remain on a plane for about seven years, investments can quickly become outmoded.

但是,光是座椅方面的竞争就是一桩麻烦事。市场上最好的座椅恐怕只能称雄一时,没过多久,其他航空公司就会拿出新产品,就像一场昂贵的军备竞赛。由于座席在飞机上可使用大约七年,这些投资会迅速过时。

“It’s a catch-up game,” said Ms. Sender, TAM’s chief executive. “You can have the best seat ever for two years. But guess what? Someone else will come up with a better seat.”

“这是一场你追我赶的游戏。”天马航空公司的首席执行官森德(Sender)女士说,“你享受的已经两年以来最好的座位了。但你猜怎么着?其他公司很快就会拿出更好的。”

Airlines may have started to reach the limits to innovations with seats and cabin space, said Raymond Kollau, the founder of Airlinetrends.com, which looks at the latest industry developments in product and service. So airlines are increasingly turning their attention to customer service to complement investments in hardware.

航空公司在座椅与舱位空间方面的创新也许快要触底了,Airlinetrends.com创始人雷蒙德·科劳(Raymond Kollau)针对业界产品与服务的最新动态评论道。所以,航空公司的关注点正日益转向客户服务,为硬件方面的投资锦上添花。

“There’s not a lot more you can do once you’ve provided a fully flat bed,” Mr. Kollau said. “After that, it all comes down to customer service.”

“一旦你提供了能完全平放的床,就没有多大发展空间了。”科劳先生说,“从此,围绕一切的核心就该是客户服务了。”

Since the whole point of providing flatbeds is better and longer sleep, airlines are rethinking their approach to in-flight service, particularly during night flights, to allow passengers more uninterrupted time to sleep.

由于整体上平躺式座位更好,乘客睡眠时间更长,航空公司开始考虑提高飞行中各种服务的质量,尤其是夜航期间,尽量不打扰乘客,让他们放心安睡。

“It’s about attention to the tiniest details,” Mr. Kollau said. “It becomes less about the single product and more about the entire package.”

“要关注最细微的细节。”科劳先生说,“我们在意的不是单个产品,而是整套服务。”

Virgin Atlantic, for instance, which flies between London and the United States, offers business passengers the option to have their dinner in the terminal before boarding. Those who pick that option are then assigned seats in the “snooze,” or quiet section of the cabin, where flight attendants will not bother them.

例如,乘坐维珍大西洋航空公司(Virgin Atlantic)的客机往返于伦敦与美国之间的商务舱乘客可以在登机之前在航站楼用餐。登机后,机组人员会把他们安排到“小睡”区或机舱中的安静区域内,乘务员不会轻易打扰他们休息。

SAS, the Scandinavian carrier, hands out a takeout breakfast bag upon arrival for passengers who wish to sleep right up to landing. That option is soon coming to British Airways, too.

有些乘客只想在飞机上一觉睡到降落,北欧航空公司(SAS)会在航班抵达的时候发给他们可打包带走的早餐。很快,英国航空公司也开始效仿这一做法。

Lufthansa has installed humidifiers in the first-class cabin of its newer Airbus A380s, which increase the relative humidity of the cabin to around 25 percent; it ranges from 5 to 10 percent in the rest of the plane. The technology promises to “improve sleep, reduce jet lag and tiredness and alleviate dehydration of the eyes, skin and linings of the mouth and nose,” according to CTT Systems, the Swedish manufacturer.

汉莎航空公司(Lufthansa)为旗下的新型空客A380的头等舱安装了加湿器,可将舱内的相对湿度提高到25%左右;而机舱内其他区域的空气湿度只有5%至10%。该设备的制造商——瑞典CTT系统(CTT Systems)声称,该技术可“改善睡眠质量,减少时差反应和疲倦,减轻眼部、皮肤及口鼻的缺水干燥问题”。

Etihad Airways, based in the United Arab Emirates, recently outlined a sleep initiative that it described as a result of a two-year partnership with sleep experts from the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology, an Abu Dhabi-based clinical center.

阿联酋的阿提哈德航空公司(Etihad Airways)最近提出了一种睡眠方案,据称这是公司与 “美国精神病学与神经学研究中心”的睡眠专家合作两年之后的研究成果。这家医疗中心位于阿布扎比。

Passengers in coach get noise-canceling headphones, as well as beverages conducive to sleep, like hot chocolate and herbal teas. First-class passengers get “sleep-inducing camomile tea,” the airline says, as well as luxury sleep suits.

该航空公司说,沙发座椅的乘客可以拿到隔音耳机与助眠饮料,比如热巧克力和茶水。头等舱客人会拿到“助眠的柑橘茶”以及奢华的睡衣。

To make sure travelers remain loyal, airlines are also going the extra mile on the ground as well as in-flight.

为了留住客户,航空公司在地面服务方面也格外努力。

In Frankfurt, Lufthansa has an entire terminal dedicated just to first-class passengers that offers an array of services, including fine dining and baths. Passengers facing a long connection time can rent a Porsche 911 for 99 euros — about $137 — for three hours to cruise German highways.

在法兰克福,汉莎航空公司有一座头等舱客人专属的航站楼,提供的系列服务包括精美的餐饮和洗浴。如果中转时间较长,客人可以租赁一辆保时捷911汽车。只需99欧元(约合137美元),就可以在德国的高速公路上兜三个小时的风。

At its Paris hub at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Air France offers a similar high-end experience. Its first-class lounge delivers red-carpet treatment from the airport’s main gate all the way to the plane. It includes a spa and massage service, and food prepared by Alain Ducasse.

由于法国航空公司的许多航班都在巴黎戴高乐机场中转,法航提供了与此相似的尊贵体验。头等舱的休息大厅有一条红地毯从机场的正门一直铺到下一趟飞机。还提供水疗和按摩服务,菜肴由名厨艾伦·杜卡斯(Alain Ducasse)精心制作。

First-class passengers do not have to stand in line to get their passport stamped. An immigration official will come to the lounge to do so. Passengers are then taken to their flight by car — German luxury models initially used were recently replaced with French cars.

头等舱客人不必排队等待工作人员在护照上盖章,因为会有一名移民官来到大厅亲自为他们办理。然后,有专车载着乘客来到他们想要转乘的飞机跟前——最早使用的是德系豪车,最近改成了法国车。

Even when they do not get their own terminals, perks in the United States are still good for elite passengers. At Delta’s new Terminal 4 in New York’s Kennedy International Airport, the airline has built a viewing deck inside the business-class lounge for the exclusive enjoyment of a select few. All this preferential treatment has changed air travel. Critics say the airlines are increasingly mirroring some of the worst inequalities found elsewhere.

在美国,虽然头等舱客人没有专属的航站楼,但仍然可以享受许多尊贵的服务。达美航空公司在纽约肯尼迪国际机场(Kennedy International Airport)新落成的四号航站楼的商务舱休息大厅里建了一座观景台,只为让仅有的一小群精英人士享受独有的乐趣。所有这些尊贵待遇,都已经改变了飞行体验。业内评论家说,比起其他地方,航空公司反映出的不平等格外突兀。

“The difference between the worst and the first has never been wider,” said Charlie Leocha, who leads the Consumer Travel Alliance in Washington and is a frequent industry critic. “Passengers in the front of the plane travel in a totally different system.”

“最差与最好之间的差别从来不曾这么大。”查理·里奥查(Charlie Leocha)说,“坐在机舱前部的乘客所处的是一个完全不同的系统。”里奥查是华盛顿消费者旅行协会(Consumer Travel Alliance)的负责人,也是一名活跃的业内评论家。

Delta, for instance, recently announced it would change in 2015 the way passengers are awarded frequent-flier miles by moving to a system that takes into account how much they spend, dropping the previous standard of how far they fly.

例如,达美航空公司最近宣布将在2015年改变常飞乘客获得里程返还的方式。他们放弃了过去以飞行里程为标准的计算方式,转而采用一种基于消费数额的新系统。

Passengers going round trip from New York to Los Angeles in coach now get 4,930 award miles, whether they paid $500 or $1,000 for their ticket. Under the new SkyMiles program, the lower fare will get 2,500 award miles while the higher fare will net 5,000 miles. (Business passengers usually spend more and so are likely to benefit from this approach.)

如今,乘客订购从纽约到洛杉矶的沙发座椅双程机票可得到4930英里的返还,无论他们买票时花了500美元还是1000美元。根据最新的SkyMiles计划,较低票价能得到2500英里的返还,而高价则可得到5000英里。(商务舱乘客一般会花费较多,因此更可能由此获益。)

And while the front of the plane has been significantly upgraded, the traditional economy class has become more cramped as coach passengers pay the price to make more room for premium passengers. The average seat pitch — the industry standard for the space between two seats, currently about 31 inches — has been reduced by about 10 percent over the last decade. Airlines are also using slimmer economy seats that allow them to add more rows and passengers on their planes.

由于飞机前部的显著升级,传统的经济舱就更加拥挤,高端乘客扩展的空间要由沙发客承受代价。现在,经济舱的平均座椅间隔——表示两个座位之间距离的行业标准——是31英寸,已经比十年前缩小了10英寸。航空公司也在使用尺寸较小的经济舱座椅,这样一来,机舱内就可以容纳更多座椅,更多乘客。

Some are also trying to increase the number of seats they can fit into each row. For instance, American Airlines has introduced a new seating plan for some of its refurbished Boeing 777s that fits 10 passengers abreast, instead of nine. The move to more seats has been brisk. In 2010, fewer than 15 percent of the 777s Boeing manufactured had 10 seats abreast. Today, nearly two-thirds of them do, says Mr. Kollau.

有些航空公司试图增加座位,让每一排的座椅多一些。例如,美利坚航空公司(American Airlines)为旗下一批翻新后的波音777客机引进了一种新的座席方案,每排乘客从9人增加为10人,轻轻松松实现了座位数目的增加。2010年,只有不到15%的波音777客机每排配备10个座椅,而现在,科劳先生说,将近三分之二的飞机都是如此了。

“Coach is pretty much the seat and the seatbelt these days,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst in San Francisco and founder of Atmosphere Research Group.

“现在,沙发座椅基本上就是座位加安全带。”居住在旧金山的旅行行业分析师亨利·哈特维尔特(Henry Harteveldt)说。他也是大气研究组(Atmosphere Research Group)的创始人。

Airlines argue that ticket prices remain historically low, once they are adjusted for inflation, and that passengers for that reason are generally better off today than when the industry was deregulated.

航空公司辩解说,票价其实一直是历史上最低水平,虽然偶有提升,也是根据通货膨胀而进行的相应调整,一般来说,乘客也都比过去行业不规范时更为富裕了。

But some executives see risk in that strategy. Economy passengers, they warn, may not be willing to accept increasingly bad traveling conditions. It might also hurt the brand with premium passengers, since business travelers also often fly coach.

但有些高管在这种策略中看到了风险。他们提醒道,经济舱乘客也许不愿意接受越来越差的飞行条件。这种做法也有可能损害自己在优质乘客中的口碑,因为商务舱乘客也会乘坐经济舱的。

“I don’t think you can offset the profitability of business class by squeezing more people into economy,” Mr. Walsh of British Airways and Iberia said. “Passengers will simply not tolerate it. They will go elsewhere.”

“我不认为往经济舱里塞进更多乘客就会补偿商务舱的盈利率,”英国航空与伊比利亚公司的沃尔什先生说。“乘客不会轻易容忍的。他们会转而投奔其他航空公司。”

There are one or two areas, however, where a sort of trickle-down theory of flying may be at work, to the benefit of the traveling masses.

可是在若干地区,在旅行大众的福利方面,起作用的恐怕是某种关于飞行的涓滴理论。

As today’s business class is comparable to what first-class travel used to be 20 years ago, a new class of service on some long-haul carriers, known as premium economy, is offering many of the amenities once found only in business class.

由于现在的商务舱条件基本等于二十年前的头等舱,所以,一些长距离航空公司推出了一个新的业务等级,名叫优质经济舱,提供一些过去商务舱才有的便利设施。

And over the last decade, airlines have vastly improved their in-flight entertainment systems. Individual television screens, first introduced in first class and business class, have become pretty much standard on long-haul flights in economy as well. Passengers have also come to expect them.

在过去的十年间,航空公司大幅升级了飞机期间的娱乐设施。每个座席专属的电视屏幕一开始只出现在头等舱与商务舱,而现在,几乎已经成了长距离航班经济舱的标准配置。乘客对此也习以为常。

Cathay Pacific provides on-demand audio and video and its economy seats each have nine-inch personal screens. Passengers can connect their electronic devices and stream their own movies. Each seat also has a USB port, and 110-volt power sources are widely available on board.

香港国泰航空公司提供音频和视频点播,每个经济舱座席都有9英寸的私人屏幕。乘客可以把自己的电子设备连接上去看电影。每个座席都有一个USB接口,多数都有110伏电源接口。

Airline executives are now turning to improving connectivity on board. Many airlines provide Wi-Fi on domestic flights, and the industry is rapidly moving to over-the-water connections for international flights, using satellite transmissions instead of ground networks.

航空公司的高管现在转而致力于改善飞机上的网络连接。许多航空公司的国内航班上有无线网,业内也迅速开始关注国际航班在海面上空飞行期间的网络连接,使用卫星传输而不是地面网络。

The speed of technology improvements has been rapid in this area. When Gogo began offering in-flight Internet service five years ago, the peak speed available on the company’s air-to-ground network was 3.1 megabits per second. Last year, it installed new service that took the speed to 9.8 megabits a second.

这一领域内的技术发展得非常快。当五年前,当Gogo公司开始提供航班内互联网服务时,该公司空对地网络的最高速度是每秒3.1兆比特。去年,它安装了新的服务,将网速提高到每秒9.8兆。

At the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, Gogo presented its latest offering, known as a ground-to-orbit system, that will increase the top speeds to 70 megabits per second. The system will be installed first by Japan Airlines for trials and should be available starting next year, according to Gogo.

最近,在德国汉堡举行的飞机内饰博览会上,Gogo公司展示了最新的地对轨道系统,有了这个系统,网络最高速度可提升到每秒70兆。Gogo公司说,该系统将首次由日本航空公司安装并试运行,明年即可就位。

“People are now expecting to remain connected in flight,” said Mr. Walsh. “That’s a little surprising since many people used to view flights as the only time to disconnect.”

“大家都希望坐飞机时也能上网。”沃尔什先生说,“这有点让人惊奇,因为过去在很多人眼中,飞行期间是唯一不通网络的时段。”

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表