Lonely Planet Writer

New 'Last Class' for cheapest air fares

Airline travel has long been accustomed to first, business and economy classifications.

Plane normally have different classifications for travelling classes - now Last Class is being added for the cheapest fares with little or no service in-flight
Plane normally have different classifications for travelling classes – now Last Class is being added for the cheapest fares with little or no service in-flight Image by Simon_sees / CC BY 2.0

Now the carriers have a new socio-economic grouping – ‘last class’ which caters for the cheapest travellers and offers them very little other than a seat on the plane’s “densification area” where seats are closer together. Although airlines have not formally come up with a new name for this cheap end service, experts say that ‘last class’ is the term now being used informally within the industry.

Passengers in this section will get very little attention – just a piece of paper as a ticket and a phone number which they will have to call should the plane breaks down. The other three classes will be on a different level and will be helped by staff to rebook in the event of a breakdown. The MailOnline reports industry analysts as warning that last class travellers will certainly feel like second-class citizens from the moment they book until they exit the airport.

Experts have warned travellers  to avoid airlines which treat people like cattle in the way they pack them into their planes
Experts have warned travellers to avoid airlines which treat people like cattle in the way they pack them into their planes Image by francois Schnell / CC BY 2.0

Some of the seats may be the same as those taken by economy travellers but the services are likely to be much worse. For example, if you buy at last class prices, you will not get a refund and are unable to book a seat in advance of boarding. The founder of the news site NYCAviation, Phil Derner, Jr, said the new class existed because airlines are businesses. He believed that some carriers would push the limits to see what they could get away with to meet their bottom line – more finance at less cost.

Customers in last class will also have to pay through the nose if they want to change their tickets and will face additional fees for virtually everything to do with the flight – from checking in baggage to onboard food. Industry experts stress that the best way to avoid last class is to ensure you don’t travel with a carrier that treats its customers like cattle. They also warn that if you get a cheap ticket that the price is low for a very good reason.