Business class seats are impossible to book due to new type of traveler

This summer’s huge travel surge in the U.S. and Europe, after two years of COVID-19 lockdowns and border restrictions, spawned an entirely new class of passengers on flights—those splurging on air tickets as though someone else was footing the bill.

“We see a strong new type of customer, which we call a ‘luxury leisure’ customer,” Air France CEO Ben Smith told Fortune and other journalists over breakfast in Paris earlier this summer. The trend was impossible to miss: Business class cabins in Smith’s planes were chocked full, as they were on most airlines. Yet there was hardly a business suit