Are Basic Business Class Fares The Future?

Airlines are starting to introduce basic business fares. Essentially, this sees passengers only buying a business class seat, with extras being optional. While on one level it makes sense, we have to ask, are basic business class fares the future?

Basic Business class fares
Would you prefer an unbundled business class? Photo: Lufthansa

There is an argument to be made both for and against basic business class fares. As such, it is important to examine both sides of the argument. There likely isn’t a one size fits all answer to the question, however. All in all, it is down to the person buying the ticket as to which approach they prefer. So, without further ado, let us begin!

For basic business class

There are several reasons why passengers might want to busy a basic business class ticket. On long haul flights, there is an awful lot to be said about the seats. Take the British Airways Airbus A350. Passengers in economy will get a fairly standard economy seat in a 3-3-3 configuration. However, passengers in business will each be treated to a private suite in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Now, in addition to the suite, passengers will also get a better soft service from the flight. One example is an upgraded catering offer in the business cabin, as well as lounge access. While these are essential to some passengers, others are only interested in the lie-flat seat. The argument for a basic business class fare goes along these lines: why should passengers pay more for amenities they don’t want?

Basic Business Class Fares
Maybe you want to experience BA’s new Club World suite without extras such as lounge access. Photo: British Airways

Against basic business class

Of course, there are several reasons people also wouldn’t like basic business class. Firstly, passengers paying the price of a business class ticket may feel entitled to extras such as priority boarding and lounge access. Suddenly having to pay for these extras could prove unpopular at first, however some airlines are willing to try it.

Meanwhile, there is also the issue of business class tickets that are expensed. Some businesses may be willing to pay for a business class seat, but no extras. This could mean that passengers would have to pay for extras such as lounge access out of their own pocket. This, again, could prove rather unpopular at first.

Basic Business Class Fares
Some passengers would pass on lounge access if offered lower fares. Photo: Emirates

The solution?

Perhaps a potential solution is to meet in the middle and offered a tiered approach. Lufthansa sells three different tiers of economy tickets, each more expensive, but with more perks than the last. While they believe in tailoring extras to the client, perhaps this tiered approach could be applied to business class.

This would allow passengers to be able to buy a basic fare or a full fare, without having to buy the extras individually. With airlines starting to move towards unbundled fares, I personally think that they will become the future as airlines seek to cater to individuals as opposed to demographics.

What do you think of unbundled business fares? Are they the future? Let us know in the comments!

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