As the Covid restrictions ease and people’s ability to travel increases, many are splashing out on business class travel as opposed to selecting the economy class. According to Bloomberg, the exclusivity of the business class is not so much now as the masses can now afford to go onboard. So, what are they likely to get?
This article explores and compares the business class opportunities provided by select airlines. In particular, we focus on British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airlines and Singapore Airlines, as we feel that this provides a good spread of the business class offerings from around the world.
British Airways, UK’s national carrier, offers the use of an airport lounge which gives complimentary food and drink delivered straight to your seat. Onboard the flight, British Airways offers those travelling in Europe (what it calls Club Europe) the opportunity to have an empty seat spaced between every two passengers allowing more room and space for each individual.
Passengers on flights to other parts of the world (Club World) are offered spacious seating arrangements with seats that can convert into beds. In terms of onboard meals, Club Europe customers can enjoy a wide range of foods, including a full British Breakfast, Lunch and Afternoon Tea and Dinner. Luxury bed linen made by the company Whites is also provided.
Club World offers delicious global cuisine. Club World customers also get an opportunity to book a Club Suite, which they describe as their own personal space to sit, sleep, work and relax. It offers increased facilities when compared to other Club World customers, such as a door separating the seats and direct aisle access from every seat. Each seat in the Suite has a 17 inch TV when compared to a 12-inch screen offered to other Club World Customers.
The Middle East
Emirates also offers its customers the use of its lounges before flying. In some of its lounges, it offers canapes prepared by Michelin starred chefs. The lounges also offer a wide range of gourmet foods, and in addition, one can also enjoy a Costa coffee. Emirates also boasts about the health benefits of some of its foods as there are fresh fruit selections, smoothies and fruit juices packed with natural goodness and superfoods. They also have dedicated quiet areas.
Onboard in terms of cuisine, you can enjoy gourmet cuisine from the Middle East as well as other places such as Mauritius and Japan. On Airbus A380 planes, an onboard lounge offers the opportunity to socialise on board with other passengers. Whilst all business class customers have access to their own TV; for Boeing 777 Flights, the TV is a 23 inch HD TV. The cabins are all fitted with seats that can recline into beds which Emirates describes as having a comfy mattress and cosy blanket.
The reason we chose to include Qatar Airways as part of this discussion is that it provides a glimpse at an alternative airline from the middle east. Dubai and other countries there becoming increasingly popular for business use. In addition, many flights have to travel through there to get to countries in the Far East and beyond, and many may choose middle eastern airlines as they give an opportunity for a stopover in the middle of their journey. There is also a chance to shop for discounted jewellery and electronics.
Qatar Airways does offer lounge facilities. However, unless you are using its Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha you will have to pay extra for it. In terms of the onboard facilities, Qatar Airways boasts spacious seating with reclining seats that can turn into beds, sumptuous world cuisine and very good inflight entertainment. In terms of entertainment, it has a dual-screen offering a chance for passengers for example to play video games whilst watching a film. In addition, Qatar Airways also offers its passengers cosy loungewear and slippers made by the company Whites.
The Far East
With Singapore Airlines, there are a variety of different seating arrangements depending on the type of plane or whether you are a regional flyer or flying long haul. These provide more space for the passengers as well as storage space for items such as laptops and work. Some do also, in a similar way to British Airways, offer direct access from every seat to the aisle.
In terms of food, gourmet-style food is offered that can be ordered 24 hours in advance before the flight for some flights. In terms of entertainment, people who are frequent flyers can log into their “Krisflyer” system and continue watching a movie that they had started watching on a previous flight from the point that they had stopped. Singapore does not offer lounge access to all business class passengers unless they are a part of one of their clubs, such as Krisflyer Elite Gold or PPS.
As one can see, all the airlines boast spacious cabins, gourmet food and superior in-flight entertainment. In terms of lounge access, only British Airways and Emirates both have it for all business class passengers. British Airways offers traditional British food on its Club Europe planes as well as world cuisine on its Club World planes. Other airlines offer gourmet world cuisine on all flights.
It appears however that the airline offerings are broadly similar, with airlines offering individual perks such as Emirates giving people access to Costa coffee and Qatar and Singapore Airlines offering distinctive inflight entertainment systems. Therefore, the choice of the airline would depend on the perks desired by the individual customer.