I was researching some one-way flights from Baltimore Washington International to San Diego this morning when I discovered a strange little error in Bing. I first did a search for an Economy class seat to get a baseline of how much I would expect to pay. Then, on a whim, I thought it would be fun to see how much a business or first class ticket would cost. I mostly fly Southwest, which only has an economy cabin, so I’m used to going long distances without needing to upgrade. But sometimes, if the price is right, it makes sense to upgrade on these longer flights.
I changed the search to “First class” and was amazed that JetBlue had a first class ticket for only $195. Then I thought to myself… I don’t think JetBlue had a first class cabin. They only have economy seats and nice ones at that, with extra leg room and a DirecTV. JetBlue also has free Wi-Fi, which makes them a pretty good choice if you want a lot of first class perks while flying economy.
Here’s a sample result from my search:
Notice it says “first class” up top but “Economy cabin” in light gray once you expand the results? There’s a little “econ” next to the duration but it’s not emphasized. It’s a little sneaky because once you find out the price, airline, takeoff/landing times, and the duration… how many think to check the seat class after they’ve already set the filter?
Finally, if JetBlue doesn’t call it first class, I don’t think Bing should put it in the first class results.
If I was one of the legacy carriers with an actual first class cabin, I’d be annoyed. If I wasn’t as careful and booked a first class result, only to discover it was a really nice coach seat, I’d be angry (but not too angry, they aren’t charging you first class prices).
I wonder how many people have fallen victim to this.