In a world where behemoth, legacy airlines dominate, and the only ones daring enough to start a new airline are those going after travelers on an ultra-tight budget, a new airline company is bucking the trend.
“It’s gonna be a real uphill battle for them to win market share and actually be successful,”said Zach Griff, a senior reporter with The Points Guy.
Starlux Airlines, a Taiwan-based carrier, just launched service to the U.S., billing itself as a luxury airline.
Scripps News correspondent James Packard got to step inside one of their aircrafts.
“We just got on a Starlux plane. And everyone’s first class is fancy, so I came back here to economy and it’s still pretty nice. It even smells good in here. Starlux says their whole thing is about ‘delighting and soothing the senses.’ When’s the last time you heard an airline say that?,” Packard said.
Starlux is partnering with Alaska Airlines to allow passengers on both airlines to earn miles with their preferred carrier. It’s a move Starlux hopes will attract U.S. customers. But transpacific flights are usually a money-losing venture for U.S. airlines.
And, the U.S. is home to the strongest demand globally for low-cost plane travel, according to the consulting firm CDI.
So what makes this new airline team think a luxury trans-pacific flight is a winning recipe?
“You know, I kind of disagree that American passengers only fly on the cheap. We segregate the different markets. From the very beginning we position ourselves [to] target premium carriers,” said Simon Liu, chief strategic officer at Starlux Airlines.
“Price is the ultimate thing that people will book on, and if Starlux is gonna charge extra for a better experience, they will get a few customers paying for it, but it’s gonna be really hard for them,” Griff said.
While round-trip fares to Taipei run about $1,200 on Starlux, which is fairly typical, the new competition for trans-pacific routes could drive prices down for U.S. travelers.
But in the long term, could this new airline start to pressure the industry to bring back the good old days of flying? When comfort and style was the name of the game?
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