Malaysia Airlines Drops First Class And Rebrands It ‘Business Suites’

Malaysia Airlines has decided to leave the first class market and rebrand its remaining first class seats as ‘business suites’ as announced by Australian Business Traveller.

But this change is in name only, passengers will still get the same service, food, entertainment, seats, pajamas and more as in the old first class soft product.

“The same seats, the same cabin, the same food and beverage, the same service… everything remains the same, it’s just that we have renamed it Business Suites.” – Lau Yin May, Malaysia Airlines’ Head of Customer Experience

The change will only affect 12 Airbus planes in the fleet, specifically 6 A380s, and 6 A350s, starting from December 12th.

Why is Malaysia Airlines changing the name?

These days, there is less first class demand and many firms don’t want their staff paying large costs to sit at the front of the plane. Back in the day, it was only first class that had lie-flat seats, but now most business travelers expect a lie-flat seat in normal business. So why even bother upgrading to first?

“We realise that with the recent economic situation a lot of people have moved away from first class, and a lot of corporate passengers now have the limitation of not flying first class (due to) corporate policy, so we want to cater to that market and open it up,” Lau tells Australian Business Traveller.

Commentors have pointed out that this is a creative solution to a first class product that’s simply not competitive, especially on the A350s, and which is not selling. It’s a surprise they are not changing anything but the name and the price though. If Malaysian Airlines can convince business class passengers to buy up to Business Suites or if this lets some business travelers sneak their way into what is otherwise first class, good on Malaysian Airlines.

Many airlines are doing away with first class on board their planes (Such as the new Lufthansa 777X) and this trend continues with Airlines opting to go for a premium economy instead of first class.

What will be changed?

As we have said, just the name for their suites on their A380s.

business class Malaysia
Business Suite Malaysian Airlines A380

And their A350s

Malaysia Airlines
Business Suite Malaysian Airlines A350

The class will be decreased in price to a value between normal business and what was once first class. By doing this, Malaysia hopes that they can coax some business travelers to upgrade.

“We realised over the past years that there is a lot of demand for our business class and it’s always full, especially to London, so why not open up that first class product and offer them that premium experience?”

If you want to try out these for yourself, the best would be on the Sydney to London route during peak season, or from Kuala Lumpur to Japan.

What do you think of the name change, will it be successful?