While you have a point there, on the other hand, if your flight is only 2 hours long as opposed to 5 hours, you probably don’t need the bed and the reduced legroom is less important as you’re not going to be cooped up for quite as long anyway.
Remember that Concorde was very profitable during its heyday. We can argue as to whether improved communications or not would allow it to be so if it were reinvented.
Concorde also was the first of its type (the Russian Concordski was such a piece of crap I don’t even really count it in this discussion). In theory, if the SST thing took off, others may have come around with improved amenities, economies of scale could’ve brought the price for the aircraft and for tickets down, and so on.
For all intents and purposes, we’re still mostly flying on planes whose fundamental tech dates back to the 1960’s. There have been advancements in materials (use of composites), avionics, and engine tech (bigger, more efficient, more reliable engines), but otherwise the general tech hasn’t really advanced all that much. The world’s most popular airliner, the Boeing 737, was first built way back in 1967 and pretty much remained unchanged except for engines and avionics up until the brand new 737 MAX (the one that had the autotrim issues in the Lion Air crash), which was only commercially available last year. The 737 MAX was the first time they actually did a clean-sheet redesign of the entire aircraft.
I’m not sure why you keep saying two hours for a flight on Concorde. That was never the flight duration on its main route, which was transatlantic. Wikipedia: “While subsonic commercial jets took eight hours to fly from New York to Paris, the average supersonic flight time on the transatlantic routes was just under 3.5 hours.”
So if we are going to compare, we are talking about four hours sitting in a Concorde seat vs about nine for a regular flight.
And here’s the thing: for short hop flights in Europe, say London to Berlin, I’m okay with whatever legroom. But for flights more than two hours, I really appreciate more leg room. By the time I’m flying for four hours, like Berlin to Iceland, then I’m super thankful when I get randomly upgraded to business class.
If I was offered a four hour trip on Concorde-sized seats or an eight hour trip in business class, I’d take business class EVERY TIME. Except, of course, if one time meant I could fly on Concorde. Which I’d do for the novelty and experience, but then I’d go right back to business class.
I could have sworn New York to London (which is shorter than New York to Paris) was around 2 hours. I can’t seem to find any definitive citations on this anywhere online either – all my recollection is from various documentaries I’ve watched about the Concorde over the years (I’m a total aviation geek, as if you couldn’t tell, and even contemplated going into aerospace engineering when I started looking at colleges).
Then again, I’ve never flown New York to Europe, so I’ve been assuming times that are close to Boston to Europe given that Boston isn’t that far from New York by jet and it’s often an alternate airport for people flying in to New York if the NYC airspace is closed due to weather or some other issue.
I’ll agree with you there. Economy legroom is an “I don’t care” up until about 2 hours for me too, but once we start getting significantly longer than that, I really do like having the option of business class, either by dumb luck (happened to me once when flying from Boston to London and it was awesome), if someone else is paying for it (never, so far), a cheap upgrade relative to the overall cost of the ticket, or if at some point I have the financial means where I just don’t care about spending full price for business class or better.
I think I’d be with you at least 90% of the time here, including the bit about having the opportunity to experience Concorde. I’m not saying 100% just in case there is a scenario where I absolutely need to be there in 4 hours vs. 8, but if time isn’t that pressing, yeah, 8 more comfortable hours would probably be preferable to me too.
Edit: Ah, here we go. Seeing a documentary that discussed the record described here is probably where I got “2 hours” from, and it is partially due to imperfect memory as to the detailed time:
The fastest ever time for the crossing, the fastest ever set by a passenger aircraft, was 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds. This was set by Captain Leslie Scott and his crew onboard G-BOAD, flying from New York to London, on the 7th of February 1996.