If you're looking for evidence of a widening class gap, take a look at the differences today between business class and coach on a flight.
For those whom Delta Air Lines considers its best customers, the experience may include expedited security screening where you can keep your shoes and belt on, followed by entry into an airport Sky Club with complimentary drinks and snacks.
That might seem far different if you've been munching on peanuts in your cramped seat in coach. Over the years, airlines have been squeezing more seats into the back of the plane and have removed some extras like free checked bags and meals. Now, much of their attention is on ever-more luxurious seats and amenities for those up front, where the profits are.
On long international flights, some well-heeled passengers are willing to pay upward of $8,000 for a ticket that includes the creature comforts in business class: Those heading overseas in Delta's BusinessElite seats may dine on pan-fried halibut with spicy tartar sauce, smashed fingerling potatoes, asparagus and wine pairings.
On board may be free movies and HBO, a seat that reclines into a flat bed with a comforter and pillow from Westin Hotels, and a luxury amenity kit. Upon arrival back in Atlanta, there's a chance of getting picked up at the gate in a Porsche.
“There's no question that business class on long-haul flights has become much more comfortable, and if you're in standard coach, it's not always so pleasant,” said Hudson Crossing travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt. “With airlines really focusing on premium customers, what we have to accept is that that's who's going to get the love.”