A year ago airberlin announced that they were going to introduce business class on their intra-Europe flights. As anyone who has flown intra-Europe business class knows, it’s not a terribly exciting product. It’s typically just an economy seat with a blocked middle and improved food and drinks.
Airberlin has been struggling financially, and they’ve ultimately had an identity crisis as to whether they want to be a low cost carrier or full service airline. It seems like they’re going in the direction of trying to at least offer products tailored towards business travelers. Now those booking a longhaul airberlin business class ticket won’t have to be in economy for the short-haul flight.
When airberlin first introduced regional business class they just had made the first row business class (and on the A321 it’s 1.5 rows, since the first row has just three seats on one side).
It looks like airberlin is expanding the business class concept, however. As of September 1, 2017, airberlin will be adding a second row to their intra-Europe business class cabins. Per the press release:
“Our strategy to offer the comfort of Business Class travel at affordable prices on our European flights as well is proving successful. Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback, we decided to expand the offer to include the second row of seats as well, and are open to the idea of expanding it even further in future. This is the first of many measures to improve the on-board product. Flying with airberlin will become even simpler and more comfortable for our passengers”, says Götz Ahmelmann, Chief Commercial Officer of airberlin.
“One of the special features on board in the European Business Class is the extensive selection of food and drinks available for the passengers to choose from. As such, we are conforming to the general trend of more personalised services that make each flight into a unique experience”, Ahmelmann continues.
Passengers traveling in airberlin business class get free snacks and drinks that are available for purchase in economy, including meals on flights that are longer than 60 minutes. One other thing that makes airberlin unique is that they’ll actually have more legroom in business class. While an extra 2″ isn’t a huge difference (30″ vs. 32″), it’s nice to see them at least trying to differentiate the product, especially as other airlines are cutting business class legroom and making the pitch the same in economy and business class.
Presumably this means they’ll have to reconfigure the planes to add an extra 2″ of legroom in the second row. I’m not sure where exactly that space will come from (hopefully not from other rows, but I’m not sure where else it would come from). I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
I’m happy to see this concept working well for airberlin. While other airlines have flexible business class cabins on intra-Europe flights (where the number of business class seats varies flight-to-flight), it seems like airberlin is sticking to a fixed seat model. For the most part the premium for business class is significant, so I suspect most business class passengers on these flights are those connecting from longhauls.
Have you flown airberlin’s regional business class yet?