Flying coach? Your dollars mean less to Delta Air Lines than they used to.
American Express has also climbed.
“The margin that we get on all those products are substantially higher than the overall system average,” CEO Ed Bastian said at Thursday’s investor day, referring to premium cabins. The second-largest U.S. airline is investing more in its premium seating, adding suites with closing doors at the front of planes used for international flights.
Business travel spending in the U.S. last year increased 3 percent to $292 billion, and will likely expand around 4 percent over the next five years, according to the Global Business Travel Association, an industry group.
Delta is reaping the benefits of that robust corporate travel demand and a strategy of selling seats at the front of the plane, instead of offering them as free upgrades.
The carrier used to sell about 13 percent of its first-class seats and now sells 60 percent, Delta’s president, Glen Hauenstein, said during an earnings call in October.