O'Hare International Airport

Growing air travel gap: Luxury lie-flat seats in front, 'basic' fares in back

Growing air travel gap: Luxury lie-flat seats in front, 'basic' fares in back

Book a business-class ticket on a United Airlines long-haul international flight and you'll enjoy Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, an ergonomic eye shade and midair wine tasting. Buy the airline's lowest-priced basic economy seat in mid-2017 and you won't even get space in an overhead bin.

As airlines cater to the wishes of lucrative elite fliers while working to get Joe Passenger in economy to pay for more of the perks he enjoys, the gap between what a ticket gets in the front and back of the plane is getting wider.

Airlines have brought some crowd-pleasers, such as power outlets and free snacks, back to economy. But if you want to move a step closer to business class or first...

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