Asiana Airlines To Kill Off First Class Service

Following a number of cost-cutting measures, Asiana Airlines is to axe its first class service and replace it with business suites. The change will start from September 1st, and accompanies a number of route cuts too.

Asiana Airlines A380
Only the Asiana Airlines Airbus A380 contains first class suites. Photo: lasta29 via Wikimedia

Just last week, Simple Flying reported that Asiana Airlines was offering unpaid leave and early retirement in a bid to cut costs. That news followed a revelation that the airline plans to receive 1.6 trillion won (£1.1bn, $1.4bn) worth of financial support. Asiana Airlines will not be the first airline to look at cutting its first class cabin.

Business suites

While the first class service is being discontinued, the seats won’t be ripped from the aircraft. According to Sam Chui, the airline will still charge a premium for the seats, however, this is expected to be around 30-40% of the current first class fares.

As far as the differences between first class and business suites go, the seat will stay exactly the same. It is likely that the soft product from business class, such as the food on offer, will be carried over to business suites.

Additionally, the award mileage earned in business class is set to be offered in business suites and the current first-class baggage allowance will be downgraded to the business allowance.

Asiana Airlines Suite
Asiana’s first class suites will be rebranded as business suites. Photo: Ron Reiring via Flickr

According to One Mile At A Time, few passengers are likely to be affected as the only aircraft still offering first class is the Airbus A380, flying to Frankfurt, Los Angeles, and New York. They additionally comment that Asiana Airlines doesn’t sell many first class seats due to their award availability.

Routes to be cut

Asiana Airlines Cuts Routes
Asiana Airlines is set to cut four underperforming routes. Photo: GCMaps

Along with axing first class, Flight Global also reports that Asiana Airlines is looking to cut some of its routes with lower popularity. The airline reportedly told Flight Global that they were due to cease flights to Chicago, Delhi, Sakhalin, and Khabarovsk. Chicago will cease on 27th of October, with the remaining routes ceasing earlier on the 8th of July.

Asiana Airlines restructure

All of the changes currently underway within Asiana Airlines are part of plans to restructure the airline. Poor financial performance has led to the airline having a lack of available liquidity.

Asiana Airlines To Kill Off First Class Service
The changes come as Asiana Airlines battles liquidity issues. Photo: InSapphoWeTrust via Flickr

As such, the airline is looking to cut costs, with the fastest route to this being to cut the things that are not making money. It is likely that the routes being cut are only just breaking even, if at all. Additionally, it appears that the first class cabin is just taking up space. Suites can make or break. If filled, they can make a huge profit. However, left empty they take up the space of at least three economy seats.

Do you think the actions being taken by Asiana Airlines will help? Would you book an Asiana Airlines business suite? Let us know in the comments!