The march to Imperial Class

Continues unabated: “Etihad’s New Three-Room Suite, for When First Class Just Doesn’t Cut It” in BusinessWeek.

The space, which costs about $43,000 for some flights, is priced to include two travelers and comes with a butler, chef, and shower.

For the background on Imperial Class, here’s the original press release, and here’s an update.

I’m not criticizing Etihad, by the way. If they feel there’s a market for this service and they can make a dirham or two, more power to them. That’s what business is all about.

It’s sometimes said that services like this indicate a bifurcation — the superrich and everybody else. That’s sort of what I was driving at in the original news release. But that’s not quite right.  This service is a consolation prize for those who are rolling in dough but can’t afford a Gulfstream. The real superrich will fly their own G650s or similar, leaving a service like Etihad’s for the merely very wealthy. It’s the distinction between the 1% and the .01%, a distinction that is, I’m sure, important to those concerned.

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