Skift Take

Since first class takes up more space is often occupied by frequent flyers upgraded from business class, there's little economic reason to continue setting aside these premium seats.

U.S. airlines are curtailing first class on overseas routes because the ultra-premium service—long an institution of air travel—has one crucial flaw: Few passengers actually pay for it.

Today, with corporate travel budgets tight, the economy fragile and the price of first-class tickets sometimes topping $15,000 for a round trip, the typical first-class passenger got there with frequent-flier miles.

Free Daily Newsletter

Sign up for the most popular Skift daily download of news, happening, and headlines in the travel world

Tags: american airlines, united airlines