Although “Imperial Class” was originally about airlines, the same phenomenon applies to a variety of other services that can be segmented into “luxury” and “common.” From the NYT:
In the Haven, as this ship within a ship is called, about 275 elite guests enjoy not only a concierge and 24-hour butler service, but also a private pool, sun deck and restaurant, creating an oasis free from the crowds elsewhere on the Norwegian Escape.
Said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s former chief executive, who helped design the Escape with the hope of attracting a richer clientele: “That segment of the population wants to be surrounded by people with similar characteristics.”
“In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone Is in the Same Boat,” by Nelson D. Schwartz (very slightly edited for brevity).
The premise of “Imperial Class” is that in the limit, they won’t even want you on the same plane with them, and the airline will find it simpler and more profitable just to eliminate coach class entirely.
For earlier pieces on this theme: