Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Poor bankers are having to fly Economy class . . . and the airlines are hurting more than ever

Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS AG and JPMorgan & Chase Co. are telling senior bankers in Asia to fly coach on short-haul flights and reduce non-essential travel as they step up cost cuts, officials at the firms said.

UBS advised bankers this month to travel economy class for flights of up to five hours, two officials at the biggest Swiss bank said, asking not to be identified because it's an internal policy. Merrill employees have been told to travel economy for flights of as much as three hours since mid-September, two executives at the firm said. . . .

JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, has requested senior bankers fly economy on flights of less than three hours since late August, said an official who declined to be identified. . . .

Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which ceded majority control to the U.K. government this month, in an Oct. 16 memo asked workers worldwide to fly economy on regional routes and to cut back on travel, said an RBS banker who's seen the document. RBS spokeswoman Hui Yukmin declined to comment.

HSBC Holdings Plc's Asia unit asked its Hong Kong department heads and branch managers to cut travel expenses by 15 percent to 20 percent next year, two officials at the bank said, citing a Sept. 23 memo sent by Chief Operating Officer Jon Addis. . . .
And so it goes.

Poor guys. No more free alcoholic beverages, oversized seats, or extra legroom on short-haul flights!

So sad.

. . . But it really does put the pinch on the airlines, since First and Business Class travel normally provides such a large proportion of their income (and, therefore, profits).

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