Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Flying "business class" in Europe

If you've ever flown long haul business class in a modern cabin, you'll have to laugh about what European carriers sell as 'business class' for their intra-European flights. It's generally this:
  • Priority lane for security
  • Lounge access at the airport
  • Priority boarding
  • A seat identical to an economy seat
  • A blocked middle seat in a row of three seats, leaving some room for a small tray table
  • Better catering
This would be okay if prices would be accordingly, but they aren't. It's quite easy to pay a whopping 1,200 euro for a business return between Amsterdam and Venice. (Yes, that's as much as I usually pay for a business return between Europe and Thailand.) You probably get flexibility for that amount of money, but, well, you can book a lot of nonrefundable 100 euro returns for 1,200 euro. Twelve, that is. So here's your "fly low cost business class" guide for Europe:
  • Select a low cost carrier without a business class (yes, there are low cost carriers with a - sort of - business class)
  • Book a seat on the first row or in an emergency exit row. This will generally set you back between 10 and 25 euro per person per leg, but it's worth it.
  • Buy priority boarding and buy lounge access
  • Buy priority for the security lane at the airport (not always possible)
  • Don't cut down on your on board spend on food and beverage - yes it's expensive, but business class tickets are much more expensive
It's not uncommon for my wife and I to spend as much on extras such as priority boarding as on the base flight price, even though we never check in luggage. But we'd rather not end up in row 30 at the back of the plane, directly next to the lavatories.

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