SpiceJet Launches Business Class Following Rushed Aircraft Acquisition

SpiceJet have taken 22 of Jet Airways 737NG aircraft and are launching their own business class product on board. SpiceBiz promises a real business class experience, with big seats, gourmet meals, priority boarding and check in as well as lounge access. It’s open for bookings now for flights from May 11th onwards.

Spicejet business class
SpiceJet are launching their business class product. Photo: Nabajit Mallik via Flickr

Budget Indian airline SpiceJet have opened booking for their new and first domestic business class product. Interestingly named SpiceBiz, this new product sits on a number of 737-800s which were formerly in use by Jet Airways.

It’s the first time SpiceJet have tried out a true business class product, having previously only offered economy and a form of premium economy known as SpiceMax. With SpiceMax, passengers could enjoy priority boarding, extra legroom and meals in flight.

However, the new SpiceBiz product uses a true business class cabin, with better seats and a promise of gourmet meals and lounge access too. The introduction of this product signifies an evolution from low cost carrier to hybrid model for SpiceJet.

Jet Airways were previously India’s largest operator of business class seats, but since they ceased operations last month, the market has been seriously lacking a premium product.

What can we expect from SpiceBiz?

The business class on SpiceJet is, unsurprisingly, identical to that of Jet Airways. It’s arranged in a 2-2 configuration, with 16 seats per aircraft. The pitch is around 40 inches, and they’re recliners not lie flat. But, let’s be honest, it’s only a domestic service and most people won’t need to get serious shuteye on board.

In terms of soft product, passengers will be afforded more baggage allowance, priority check in and boarding as well as access to lounges at the airports. They also promised refreshing towels, blankets and cushions.

The carrier recently released this enchanting video on their new business class product:

SpiceJet were very quick to take on Boeing 737s from Jet Airways and have so far taken 22 of them. Part of the reason for this was a codeshare agreement signed with Emirates on April 22nd. This meant they needed to rush towards becoming a hybrid carrier so they could start taking Emirates business class passengers on local connections.

The problem that they might come up against is if the scheduled aircraft is unable to fly, for whatever reason. A last minute equipment swap could well see a 737 equipped with business seating switched to one without. That’s going to give SpiceJet a headache trying to sort out passengers who booked to fly business.

Where can you fly SpiceBiz?

Right now, SpiceBiz is only available on selected domestic routes in India. According to Flight Global, these will be largely on routes between major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.

The routes will launch from May 11th, and seats are promised at rates of around 30 – 40% less than their competitors. Calling these fares ‘best in class’, they are aiming to undercut the competition with a product that they are promising will be as good as the next airline.

SpiceJet will launch SpiceBiz on thier 737s Photo: Boeing

Although a good reason for launching SpiceBiz is to avoid expensive reconfiguration of Jet Airways aircraft. These low prices are sure to have an impact on the premium travel market in India. According to News18, prices for business class on SpiceJet between Delhi and Mumbai are sitting at around Rs 32,000, compared to Rs 46,000 with Vistara or Air India.

Taking advantage of the demise of Jet Airways

Even before Jet Airways stopped flying, SpiceJet were waiting in the wings looking to lease as many as 50 of their grounded planes. Although these were thought to be to replace capacity caused by the grounding of their 13 MAX aircraft, it seems they are keen to grow their fleet also.

Jet Airways Cabin Crew
Some of Jet’s former cabin crew joined rival carriers. Photo: Jet Airways

And it’s not just the planes they’ve been poaching from beleaguered Jet Airways either. According to reports, more than 500 ex-Jet Airways staff have already been hired by SpiceJet, and they’re keen to grab more of them too.

In addition to Jet Airways’ castoffs, SpiceJet have been investing in their own fresh fleet too. They are in the process of acquiring a total of five Bombardier Q400s, all due to be in service by next month. They also have an additional six 737-800s on dry lease order which are expected to be with them soon.