Cutting Frills

Some first-class dropouts

When Sir Freddie Laker inaugurated his no-frills, low-fare transatlantic flights in 1977, Europe's flagship airlines viewed the enterprising Englishman with a mixture of disdain—and apprehension. Now that Laker has proved the profitability of catering to frugal flyers, some of the once haughty carriers are imitating his stripped-down style. Beginning this week, British Airways and Air France will eliminate first-class seats from all their nights within Europe. The two airlines will offer first-class service only on intercontinental trips. KLM Airlines has already eliminated the first-class section on flights between Amsterdam and London. Yet at the same tune, another carrier,...

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