There was once a time where travelling was a real luxury, at best a once a year vacation to the sun. Times have changed at that luxury is no longer there, its now just the same as getting a train or bus service, although it usually means leaving the country.
I know there is the added cost of £100 for a passport, although everyone has a passport now (unlike some Americans), which gives us access to world.
The luxury of travelling has been fuelled by the removal of luxury from travelling. Trivial I know, but the way which costs have been reduced, and the ease to which you can now travel really makes it feel like a commodity than a luxury, particularly in the short haul market and definitely when travelling long haul in economy.
We have already seen this happen. With the ever dominant low cost airlines in Europe the major player have had to respond with new fare structures and seat configurations on their short haul aircraft. America started the trend for charging for baggage, which was picked up by British Airways for European services, and therefore lowing the fare. Combined with this is the constant pressure to pack more passengers into an aircraft. The new British Airways A320’s at Gatwick have seats for 172 (easyJet have currently 180 – so one row more), that’s increased over time from the 160’s and now sees the withdrawal of the convertible Club Europe seat and much less legroom for Business class passengers.
Long haul has seen the same tactic. We have seen, especially on the 777’s that carriers are now introducing 10 abreast seating, up from the 9 of which it was designed for. The 787’s the same, with 9 across in economy, and the A380 could be seeing 11 across soon up from the standard 10. That cant be seen a luxury.
The question is will we ever see luxury travelling short haul again, and would anyone be willing to pay for it?