As I first wrote about in early August, airberlin is planning on introducing business class on intra-Europe flights this year. The airline lacks a vision as they continue to bleed money, and seem internally conflicted as to whether they want to be a full service or low cost airline.
In the meantime it looks like airberlin will soon be leasing about a third of their planes to Lufthansa, which will operate all of the airberlin’s routes that aren’t to Dusseldorf or Berlin.
Anyway, as anyone who has flown intra-Europe business class knows, it’s not exactly a glam experience. Instead it’s typically economy with a blocked middle seat in the front of the plane, with better onboard service, as well as priority ground services (premium check-in, security, boarding, and lounge access).
Airberlin was planning on just making the first row of each plane business class, primarily so they can create a better offering for passengers coming off longhaul airberlin flights. It sucks to pay for airberlin’s longhaul business class, only to connect onto a short-haul flight in economy.
Well, it looks like airberlin is rolling out this new concept very quickly. Airberlin is now selling business class on intra-Europe flights as of October 4, 2016.
When you go to book an intra-Europe flight on airberlin’s website you’ll see a button at the top right that lets you switch between seeing economy and business fares.
As is the norm within Europe, the business class fares are pretty hefty, given how little value you’re getting. As you can see below, a one-way ticket from Dusseldorf to Berlin costs 348EUR in business class.
However, it seems airberlin’s primary motivation in introducing this product isn’t even to sell it directly, but rather to offer it to connecting business class passengers, so they have more of an incentive to choose airberlin.
From the looks of it, it seems like airberlin’s A321s have six business class seats (since the very first row just has two seats on one side, and then there’s a full row of business class), while other planes have just four seats in business class.
As a reminder, the benefits of intra-Europe business class on airberlin include an empty middle seat, priority-checkin, security, and boarding, access to their “exclusive waiting areas,” a welcome drink, a pillow, two checked bags, and free food & drinks from airberlin’s onboard menu.
For what it’s worth, as of the time of this post it doesn’t look like airberlin has intra-Europe business class award availability, though long term I suspect they will. This could be useful in conjunction with an airberlin transatlantic award ticket..
(Tip of the hat to Moritz)