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机舱经济学 – 译学馆
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The Economics of Airline Class

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飞机为什么不能再飞快一点的续作 视频的最后讨论了有关协和式超音速喷射客机的一些信息
last one–Why Planes Don’t Fly Faster. I ended up talking a lot about the Concorde–the
不过还有部分未被提及 即使协和式飞机失败了
supersonic plane–but part of the story was left untold. Even though the Concorde failed,
尽管它在商业上不可行 但它仍然对我们今天的飞行方式产生了深远的影响
even though it wasn’t commercially viable, it still had a profound effect on how we fly
我来解释一下 经济舱并不是航空公司的赚钱之道
today. Let me explain… Economy class is not how airlines make money.
至少对于传统航空公司来说 真正带来收益的是高等舱位
The real money, at least for the traditional airlines, is in premium cabins. Let’s take,
举个例子 这架英国航空公司的波音777飞机 总共有224个座位
for example, this British Airways 777. There are 224 total seats on this plane and it flies
daily between London Heathrow and Washington Dulles airport. A roundtrip economy class
一张3月15日起飞 3月22日返回的经济舱往返票
ticket leaving March 15th and returning on March 22nd costs, at the time of writing,
当时是876美元 也就是说 如果122个经济舱座位都坐满
$876. That means that, if each one of the 122 economy class seats is filled, the entire
back section of the plane will make the airline, round-trip, $106,872. Meanwhile, the going
然而 对于往返机票为2633美元的豪华经济舱 整个舱位会赚到105320美元
rate for one of their premium-economy seats is $2,633 round-trip meaning the entire cabin
可以发现 40座的豪华经济舱
will make $105,320. Already you can see that the entire 40 seat premium-economy section
makes British Airways roughly as much as the entire economy-class section. Going up to
再说商务舱 共48座 每座6723美元 共322704美元
Business Class, there are 48 seats sold each for $6,723 making the airline $322,704. The
单张票价为8715美元的14座头等舱总共可获122010美元的收益 那么 总结一下就是
14 first class seats are sold for $8,715 each or $122,010 total. So, once again, the 14
passengers at the front of the plane make the airline more money than the 122 at the
经济舱 总体上 本航次的三种豪华舱–豪华经济舱 商务舱 头等舱
back of the plane. In total, the three premium cabins–premium economy, business, and first–make
共可获收益550034美元 也就是说45%的乘客占据了
the airline on this flight $550,034. That means that 45% of the passengers account for
航空公司总收入的84% 现在再看看其他关注点
84% of the airline’s revenue! Now, I need to add some caveats. There is
目前 还没有任何一个时长6小时横跨大西洋的航班能获50万美元的收益
no airline on earth that makes half a million dollars for a six hour flight over the Atlantic.
如果有 那航空公司可就赚大了 这趟特定航线航班的票价
If they did, they would be swimming in money. The fares for this particular routing are
significantly higher than the average fare paid for that flight because they’re non-stop
这是两个高收入 高需求城市之间直航的票价 当然 大多数乘客
fares between two high-income, high-demand cities. Of course, a majority of the passengers
不会在伦敦和华盛顿之间往返 他们会转机
on that flight will not be traveling between London and Washington, they’ll have connected.
如果你乘坐斯德哥尔摩来的飞机 然后在华盛顿转机到波音777航班上
If you originate the ticket in, say, Stockholm, and connect onto that 777 flight to Washington
经济舱票价就会降到392美元 豪华舱降到1150美元 商务舱
the economy class price drops to $392, the premium economy to $1,150, the business class
降到3025美元 头等舱5564美元 不过收益比例仍大致
to $3,025, and the first class to $5,564. But the proportions are still roughly the
相同 大部分的收入来自少部分的乘客 尤其是
same. A vast majority of the revenue comes from a minority of passengers. This particular
英国航空公司的这架波音777 豪华舱占有很大的配置 因为英国航空公司
British Airways 777 is also a very premium-heavy configuration because British Airways is an
主营高端旅游 不过总体上 公司2/3的收入仍是
airline that focuses a lot on premium travel, but still, on average, 2/3 of any airlines
来自于头等舱 商务舱和豪华经济舱
revenue comes from passengers in First, Business, or Premium Economy class but this wasn’t
不过以前不是这样的 在商业航空的初期
always the case. In the beginning of commercial aviation, there
是不分舱级的全部都是豪华舱 这也并不是说
weren’t really any classes because everything was premium. That’s not to say that planes
飞机很奢侈 20世纪20年代的飞机就像这样 不过机票贵是因为
were very luxurious–a 1920s plane looked like this–but flying was just so expensive
航行体验本身是件奢侈的事 这有点像你没有
that the experience of flying was the luxury itself. It’s kind of like how you don’t
看到维珍银河公司在他们计划的飞往太空的旅游航班上销售头等舱 商务舱和经济舱的座位
see Virgin Galactic selling first, business, and economy class seats on their planned tourist
体验本身够奢侈 一旦商业太空旅行
flights to space. The experience itself is the luxury. Once commercial space travel becomes
变得常见 我们几乎可以肯定这种体验的分类一定会产生
commonplace, we’ll almost certainly see a classification of the experience but until
但是也要等到运输成本达到了正常的人所能接受的水平 否则
a transport method is at a cost where it’s attainable to the normal person, it’s all
只会全是头等舱 1950年往返
first class. In 1950 a round-trip coach fare between New
纽约和伦敦的机票是675美元 折算到今天就是6800美元 基本就是
York and London was $675–adjusted for inflation, thats $6,800 today–roughly the same price
同航线头等舱的票价 两者座位数相同
as a first-class ticket on the same route nowadays. It’s the exact same type of passenger
flying in both these seats. What’s changed is who’s flying further back in the plane.
所以 航空公司的发展并不在于
So the story of the development of airline classes really isn’t the story of how airlines
有了更加豪华的舱位 而在于他们通过削减了成本
developed more and more luxurious seats, it’s how they cut costs to allow more and more
让更多人乘得起飞机 这也是个非常典型的经济学问题 航空公司已经找到了
people to fly. It’s also a fascinating demonstration of economics. Airlines have figured out a
一种方法 从而将相同的产品以不同的价格卖给不同的人 无论你乘坐的是
way to sell the same product for different prices to different people. The overall product
哪个舱位 航空公司所销售的产品是一样的 都是从a地到b地的航班
that airlines are selling is the same no matter which class you’re flying–a flight from
从a地飞b地的航班 不同的是飞机上的体验
point a to point b. What’s different is the experience within the plane.
第一次航空旅程的分舱是在四、五十年代 当时
The first classification of air travel happened in the 40s and 50s. A significant amount of
revenue for airlines at the time came from contracts for air-mail routes with the US
Postal Service. These flights flew with many stops often overnight or at odd hours. While
尽管飞机主要用来运输邮件的 不过仍然会有乘客区
the planes mostly carried mail, they still had a passenger section. The first class fares
比如 你可以选择纽约和芝加哥之间的直达航班的头等舱 同时 你也可以选
got you, for example, on a non-stop flight between New York and Chicago while the coach
fare might get you on a mail flight that left at 2am and stopped in Pittsburgh and Cleveland
当然 票价越便宜 航行时间越长 而飞机上的
on the way to Chicago. While the fare was cheaper and the flight took longer, the experience
体验大致相同 直到1952年 航空公司才开始
onboard the plane was largely the same. It wasn’t until 1952 that airlines started
分舱位售票 比如 某航空公司以395美元的价格
selling the same flights for different prices. One airline, for example, sold standard class
出售纽约和伦敦之间的标准单程票 以270美元的价格出售经济舱位票
one-way tickets between New York and London for $395 and tourist-class tickets for $270.
这其实是同一架飞机的同一个航班 不同之处在于机票
It was the exact same flight on the exact same plane–the difference was in the ticket.
经济舱得提前预定且不得改签 你只能
Tourist class tickets had to be purchased in advance and had no flexibility–you had
乘坐所购机票的对应航班 正如它的名字
to fly on the exact flight the ticket was purchased for. As the name suggested, these
这些机票主要针对游客 他们会提前安排行程 实际上
tickets were primarily for tourists. Tourists plan trips far in advance and don’t really
也不需要改签 所以对他们来说固定到某一航班没什么问题 全价票
need flexibility so it was no problem for them to commit to one flight. The full-fare
是针对另一类型的旅客的 即商务人士 首先
tickets were for the other type of traveller–the business-person. Business travelers, first
商务出行人士一般不需要自购机票 老板会给他们报销 所以
off, don’t typically pay for their own tickets. They’re paid for by their employer so they
他们个人完全不需要考虑票价问题 商务出行人士需要
individually don’t really care what the ticket costs. Business travelers also require
一定的灵活性 一般临近出发才会购票 这时
flexibility and generally don’t purchase tickets until the last minute. At the time,
it was common practice to just walk up to the counter an hour before a flight and buy
这就是全价票的对象 通过这种系统
a ticket. That’s what the full-fare tickets were for. Through this system, the airlines
segmented the market into two categories based on what people were willing to pay. Over the
在接下来的几十年里 这是航空出行中唯一一个大型的分类系统
coming decades, this was the only large classification system in air travel.
然后 1969年到1978年发生了三件事–波音747首飞 协和式飞机
Then, between 1969 and 1978 three things happened–the 747 flew for the first time, the Concorde
首次试飞以及航空公司在美国解除了管制 747飞机
flew for the first time and airlines were deregulated in the US. The 747 gave airlines
提供了体验奢华的空间 协和飞机给了他们理由去体验的 而接触管制
the space to experiment with luxury, the Concorde gave them the reason to, and deregulation
让他们有能力去做 此前 在美国所有机票都受到严格监管
gave them the ability to. Previously, all airfares were heavily regulated in the US
and it was difficult for airlines to charge the cost they wanted for different classes
但放松管制后 航空公司现在已经完全控制了机票定价 现在
but with deregulation airlines now had full control over their ticket prices. Now, at
最大的区别仍然体现在机票上 一些航空公司推出了
the time, much of the difference was still in the ticket. Some airlines had introduced
头等舱的机票 他们也意识到 他们必须区别对待
first class fares with nicer seats, but airlines realized that they had to start treating the
business-people who bought a full-fare coach ticket differently than the tourists paying
折扣机票的游客 越来越多的商务人士选择购买
a discounted fare. More and more of those business travelers were just paying the tourist
经济舱票 从空间上将乘客区分开 全价票乘客坐在
class fare. It began by just physically separating the passengers. The full-fare passengers would
飞机前面而折扣票乘客坐在后面 之后
be seated up front while the discounted fare passengers would be put in the back. Then,
某些航空公司还把临近全价票舱位的中间部分分离出来 最终
some airlines started blocking out the middle seat next to the full-fare passengers. Finally,
some airlines started to build cabins with slightly nicer seats and better amenities.
不过 除此之外 航空公司会避免设头等舱 大多航班的主要销售对象还是
But, with exceptions, airlines avoided first class. Most focused on capturing that middle
中层出行者 毕竟协和式飞机仍是名人和富人的首选
tier of traveller because the Concorde was going to be the first class plane for the
普通飞机会设商务舱和经济舱 至少
rich and famous–regular planes would be the business and economy class… at least that’s
他们是这么想的 当然 就像你在上个视频看到的
what they thought. Of course, as you heard about in my last video,
协和飞机失败……引人注目 航空公司七、八十年代因为协和式飞机的原因
the Concorde failed… spectacularly. Airlines avoided first class in the 70s and 80s because
避免设头等舱 但是 当他们开始注意到超音速飞机失败的时候
of the Concorde, but as they started to catch on to the failure of supersonic flight, select
航空公司慢慢地将头等舱重新引入亚音速飞机 直到现在还在沿用
airlines slowly reintroduced first class to subsonic planes. But the effect is still seen
在数十家飞越大西洋的航空公司中 只有6家设有头等舱的机舱 回到
today. Of the dozens of airlines flying transatlantic, only six have a first class cabin. Back in
六七十年代 与协和式飞机的竞争日趋激烈 确实鼓舞了航空公司
the 60s and 70s the imminent perceived competition of the Concorde really invigorated airlines
to optimize that middle class–business class–and we likely would not have seen it as early
as we did without that looming disruption to the industry.
不过 还有另一种趋势可以解释 头等舱将再次取消
But there’s another trend to explain–first class is going away… again. Let’s take
我们来看看阿提哈德航空a380的座位图 这架飞机上每个经济舱座位占
a look at the seat-map of a Etihad a380. Each economy class seat on this plane takes up
3.77平方英尺(0.35 m²)的面积 商务舱占10.14平方英尺(0.94 m²)面积
3.77 square feet (0.35 m²) of floorspace, the business class seats take up 10.14 ft²
头等舱占35平方英尺(3.25 m²)面积
(0.94 m²) of floorspace, and the first class seats take up 35 ft² of floorspace (3.25
从阿布扎比到纽约的航班 往返经济舱机票是1253美元
m².) On a flight from Abu Dhabi to New York, economy class tickets are $1,253 round-trip,
商务舱票价6140美元 头等舱14128美元 这意味着
business class tickets are $6,140, and first class tickets are $14,128. That means that
经济舱座位每平方英尺获利332美元 商务舱获利605美元
economy class seats make $332 per square foot, business class seats $605 per square foot,
头等舱403美元 经济舱和商务舱的区别很大
and first class seats $403 per square foot. The difference between economy class and business
这是一个狭窄的座位 一个相当于一张床 然而商务舱跟
class is huge–it’s a cramped seat versus a bed–but the difference between business
class and first class is just a bit more room and some better food. It’s very hard for
对于航空公司来说 出售头等舱比商务舱要困难得多因为体验
airlines to sell first class for much more than business class since the experience is
基本上是一样的 但是航空公司运营头等舱的成本要高得多
largely the same but the cost for the airlines to run a first class cabin is significantly
因此 越来越多的航空公司取消了头等舱而设置
more. Therefore, more and more airlines are taking out their first class to just put in
更多的商务舱 这可以获利更多 如果航空公司将整架飞机都设置为商务舱
more business class, it just makes more money. If an airline could fill an plane full of
曾有公司尝试过 不过没有一个航线有
business-class passengers it would–its been tried–but pretty much no route has the premium
全商务舱的高端需求 最终 还是加上了经济舱座位
demand to fill a plane-full of business class. Everyone in economy, in the end, is just there
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