Why Airlines Shouldn’t Unbundle Business Class Fares

Several airlines have recently announced unbundled business class fares. The idea behind these fares is that some passengers don’t need all the amenities that come with a standard ticket. However, there are some flaws with that logic. Here’s why airlines shouldn’t unbundle business class fares.

Emirates is starting to unbundle their business class tickets. Photo: Emirates

Why people buy business class tickets

There are two main types of business class travelers. First, you have business class passengers who received the ticket as part of a work trip. Then, there are leisure passengers who have paid their own fare. In both cases, business class passengers selected business class as a way to have a more comfortable flying experience. That’s something that unbundled fares will not help with.

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Leisure travelers may find some business class products perfect as part of a relaxing vacation. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Unbundled fares and business travelers

In the case of people who travel for work, usually a travel agent or company agent is responsible for booking the ticket. As a result, there can be discrepancies in regards to what features are included as part of a ticket. Although the airline will likely profit from the confusion.

Lufthansa Unbundled Airfares Ancillary revenue
Lufthansa is set to unbundle its airfares to increase ancillary revenue. Photo: Lufthansa

Unbundled fares and leisure travelers

Leisure travelers will likely be more price conscious than corporate customers. As a result, leisure travelers may book the cheapest business class tickets without checking all of the amenities. This can lead to unnecessary confusion and stress at the airport before a trip.

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Dealing with stress from an unbundled fare could set off a vacation on the wrong foot. Photo: Jay Singh

The overall issue

Flying is stressful. The number of steps travelers have to go through before getting onboard an aircraft can be incredibly overwhelming. In some cases, passengers have to deal with unexpected expenditures at the airport. This includes heavy or excess baggage fees, fees for seat selection, costs for a snack, etc. Then onboard, there’s the added stress of cramped legroom and shrinking amenities.

This is the reason why I, and many others like me, prefer business class fares. There is inherently less stress involved in flying business class. Generally, you’ll get free seat selection, lounge access, in-flight entertainment, enhanced meals, and even a flatbed. On the ground, you’ll usually have fewer baggage restrictions, smaller lines, and better customer service.

Business class helps make a flying experience more stressful. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Unbundled airfares in business class add an additional level of stress to what should be a stress-free experience. First off, paying more for a ticket is never fun. Then, having to add amenities and deal with what is and isn’t included in your ticket reduces the business class ticket to that of a basic economy ticket. Anything that makes flying more stressful isn’t what many would consider an ‘enhancement’, despite what airlines may say.

A message for airlines

Passengers like to be treated well. So much happens (or can happen) before stepping onboard an aircraft. United CEO Oscar Munoz had a point when he said the following about flying:

“It’s become so stressful from when you leave, wherever you live, to get into traffic, to find a parking spot, to get through security. Frankly, by the time you sit on one of our aircraft… you’re just pissed at the world”

This is part of the reason why I am loyal to Delta. Having flown United, American, and Delta (Alaska and JetBlue just aren’t good options for where I’m based), I chose to remain loyal with Delta because, once onboard, I know I’m usually going to have a great experience. From consistent offerings (including free seatback IFE on most mainline aircraft) and some of the best cabin crew, Delta lets me fly with the least amount of stress.

Here at Simple Flying, you’ve read about my jaunts around the world in premium cabins. However, I do fly economy far more frequently than I fly Singapore Airlines business class or Lufthansa First Class. What makes a business or first class experience so much better is having to leave behind the stress that inevitably comes with an economy ticket.

Now that Lufthansa and Emirates are starting to add them, I’ll probably seek to take my business elsewhere. After all, there are some incredibly stunning business class products in the world.

What do you think about unbundled business class fares? Let us know in the comments!

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