Which Airlines Offer A “Business Class Plus” Product?

Which Airlines Offer A “Business Class Plus” Product?

36

We’ve seen a trend whereby an increasing number of airlines are offering what I like to call a “business class plus” product, which is a special seating option within the business class cabin. While business class has come a long way in general, these seats can take your experience to the next level.

I wanted to take a closer look at that in this post. Which airlines are offering this, why, and how much extra do these seats cost?

Why airlines are introducing “premium” business class

Airlines do everything in their power to utilize space on aircraft efficienly. This can be done in a variety of ways, ranging from cramming as many seats into an aircraft as possible, to creating as many differentiated products onboard as possible, so that there are buy-up opportunities.

In recent years, we’ve increasingly seen airlines introduce premium products within business class. Really this is just another example of airlines trying to create additional revenue streams.

The logic for these business class plus products is pretty straightforward. In most business class configurations nowadays, seats utilize the space to the side of the seat in front, to minimize each seat’s overall pitch. That’s why we often see business class seats with small footwells, since that’s what’s needed to make the seats economical.

In the first row of the cabin, though, space can’t be utilized as efficiently, since there’s no seat in front where you can place a footwell. Historically airlines haven’t done much to differentiate the first row, perhaps aside from a marginally larger footwell. However, that’s a trend that has changed.

Airlines have increasingly been making the first row of business class more spacious, and selling those seats at an extra cost. In some cases, airlines also differentiate the soft product, while in other cases they don’t.

Airlines sometimes have more space in the first row

Airlines offering “business class plus” products

With the above out of the way, let me share some of the airlines offering business class plus products. As I go over each product, I’ll talk about:

  • What makes the seat better than other business class seats in the cabin
  • If the soft product is at all differentiated
  • How you can score these seats

Note that I’ll only be covering the products that are currently in service. So I won’t include any new business class products on the horizon, like American’s new business class or Air New Zealand’s new business class, which have special front row products. I also won’t include products that just have marginally bigger footwells at the bulkhead, since that’s probably most airlines.

With that out of the way, here we go, in no particular order…

Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite (A330-900neo)

Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-900neos have two special business class seats (1D, 1G), known as Retreat Suites.

While the seats might on the surface look similar to the other staggered seats in this configuration, what makes the product unique is that you have more space. You get a much larger ottoman, you can dine face-to-face with your travel companion, the beds are larger (the bed becomes 6’7″), and the entertainment screens are larger (27″ vs. 17″). There’s no differentiation to the soft product.

If you want to select one of the Retreat Suites, the cost is currently typically £300 per person per flight, and it can be selected through Virgin Atlantic’s website in the weeks leading up to departure.

Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite Airbus A330-900neo
Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite Airbus A330-900neo

JetBlue Mint Studio (A321LR & A321neo)

JetBlue’s Airbus A321LRs and A321neos have two special Mint business class seats (1A, 1F), known as Mint Studios.

What makes these seats unique is that they boast a massive amount of extra space. Rather than being a herringbone seat where you’re right next to someone, you have a bench next to you where you can even have someone visit you in your seat, as well as extra storage. There’s no differentiation to the soft product.

If you want to select one of the Mint Suites, the cost is currently typically $299 per person for transatlantic flights, though the cost can vary. You can purchase these seats anytime between when you book and when you travel.

JetBlue Mint Studio Airbus A321LR
JetBlue Mint Studio Airbus A321LR

Condor Prime Seat (A330-900neo)

Condor’s Airbus A330-900neos have four special business class seats (1E, 1F, 2A, 2K), known as Prime Seats.

What makes these seats special is that they have ottomans that are way larger than what you’ll find in the rest of the cabin. You can also dine face-to-face with your companion, and the entertainment screens are larger (24″ vs. 17″). Condor also differentiates the soft product, offering those in Prime Seats a snack basket, free Wi-Fi, pajamas, and more.

If you want to select one of the Prime Seats, the cost is currently typically $360 per person per flight. You can purchase these seats anytime between when you book and when you travel.

Condor Prime Seat Airbus A330-900neo
Condor Prime Seat Airbus A330-900neo

Lufthansa Allegris Business First Row Suite (A350-900)

Lufthansa recently introduced its long awaited Allegris business class, and it debuted on the Airbus A350-900. Allegris features an irrational number of seating options, though the most noteworthy is the suites that are available in the first rows of the two business class cabins (2A, 2D, 2G, 2K, 8A, 8D, 8G, 8K).

These seats feature an unreal amount of personal space, that will make you feel like you’re in first class. The seats have privacy doors, higher partitions, extra storage, larger ottomans, and bigger entertainment screens. It really is like a different experience than the rest of the cabin. There’s also a slight differentiation with the soft product, including extra bedding and pajamas.

As of now, Lufthansa hasn’t yet started charging extra for these seats, but rather is assigning them to top elite members, including HON Circle members. However, it’s expected that in the near future Lufthansa will charge extra for these seats, and the price remains to be seen.

Lufthansa Allegris First Row Suite Airbus A350-900
Lufthansa Allegris First Row Suite Airbus A350-900

Malaysia Airlines Business Suite (A350-900)

Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A350-900s have four special business class seats (1A, 1D, 1G, 1K), known as Business Suites. Back in the day, this product was actually marketed as first class, but the airline decided to rebrand it.

These seats are significantly different than the standard business class seats the airline has. They’re suites with proper doors, and are quite a bit more spacious than the standard business class. Note that this includes a differentiated soft product as well, from premium lounge access, to a better inflight menu.

Business Suites are sold as a totally separate product, and can be purchased at the time you make your booking. Expect it to be significantly more expensive than business class.

Malaysia Airlines Business Suite Airbus A350-900
Malaysia Airlines Business Suite Airbus A350-900

Asiana Airlines Business Suite (A380)

Asiana Airlines’ Airbus A380s have 12 special business class seats (seats in rows 1-3), known as Business Suites. In reality, this used to be marketed as the first class cabin, but the airline decided to rebrand it.

This is probably the most spacious business class product you’ll find anywhere, as the cabin has huge suites with doors. While the rest of business class is on the upper deck, this is located at the front of the lower deck. The soft product is also differentiated a bit, with better lounge access on the ground, plus more bedding onboard.

Business Suites are sold as a totally separate product, and can be purchased at the time you make your booking. Expect it to be significantly more expensive than business class.

Asiana Business Suite Airbus A380
Asiana Business Suite Airbus A380

China Eastern business class (A350-900)

China Eastern’s Airbus A350-900s have four special business class seats (1A, 1D, 1G, 1K), and they’re not talked about a whole lot.

The plane is snazzy in general, and has staggered seats with doors in business class. The first row of seats has extra space, including a much bigger ottoman, and larger entertainment monitors, similar to what you’ll find on Condor and Virgin Atlantic. Now, there’s not actually a whole lot out there about the soft product, so I’m not sure if that’s differentiated.

Rather than being a seat assignment upgrade option, this is actually marketed as a separate business class product. When you go to China Eastern’s website to book a flight on the A350, you’ll see the option of booking “Business Class” or “Luxury Business Class,” with the latter being this product. What I’m not sure of is if there’s any way to upgrade to this at the airport for a discount, so if any OMAAT readers have insights, I’d be curious to hear them!

China Eastern business class Airbus A350-900

Shanghai Airlines business class (787-9)

Shanghai Airlines’ Boeing 787-9s have four special business class seats (1A, 1D, 1G, 1K).

Shanghai Airlines is actually a subsidiary of China Eastern, and this is exactly the same setup as above for China Eastern. You’ll find that the standard seats are marketed as “Business Class,” while the bulkhead seats are marketed as “Luxury Business Class,” and can be booked when you reserve your ticket.

Shanghai Airlines business class Boeing 787-9

Air France business class (A350-900 & 777-300ER)

Air France’s newest Airbus A350-900s (1A, 1D, 1H, 1L, 10A, 10D, 10H, 10L) and reconfigured Boeing 777-300ERs (1A, 1D, 1H, 1L, 9A, 9D, 9H, 9L) feature some amazing seats in the bulkhead rows.

Note that formally these aren’t marketed as a special product in the same way as above, but they’re really special seats. While Air France has comfortable reverse herringbone seats throughout these jets, the bulkhead rows have an unbelievable amount of personal space, with a massive ottoman. This is the biggest ottoman you’ll find at any seat in the industry.

Air France doesn’t actually sell these seats at an extra cost, but instead they’re reserved for Flying Blue Platinum and Gold members in advance. Then within 72 hours of departure, they can be assigned by any confirmed business class passenger.

Air France business class Airbus A350-900
Air France business class Airbus A350-900

Singapore Airlines business class (A350-900 & 777-300ER)

Singapore Airlines’ long haul configured Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 777-300ERs feature some very special bulkhead seats.

Much like on Air France, these aren’t formally marketed as a special product, but that doesn’t make them any less exceptional. While other Singapore Airlines business class seats have a footwell to the side that you have to place your feet into, these seats offer way more space, whether sitting up or sleeping. Being able to snag one of these can greatly change your impression of the experience.

Singapore Airlines doesn’t sell these seats at an extra cost, but instead they’re reserved for KrisFlyer PPS Club members in advance. Then within 96 hours of departure, they can be assigned by any confirmed business class passenger (from 48 to 96 hours, you can only reserve these by phone).

Singapore Airlines business class Boeing 777-300ER
Singapore Airlines business class Boeing 777-300ER

Bottom line

Not only have we seen business class improve hugely over the years, but we’re also seeing airlines increasingly create a cabin within a cabin. Generally these products are thanks to the extra space available at bulkheads. Airlines are making the most of this by creating seating that they hope consumers will be willing to pay extra for, and I’d say many airlines have succeeded.

I figured it would be useful to recap the airlines offering these kinds of experiences. I think this is a trend that we’re only going to see continue, so I’m sure when I update this list in a couple of years, it’ll be much longer.

What do you make of these “business class plus” products?

Conversations (36)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Enjoy Fine Food Guest

    I like calling it "Bu-rst." Had a great AF flight in Bu[siness Fi]rst when they had 2-3-2 on the porpoise --two at the window with a ledge for stuff, a recliner, and great food.

  2. Elie Guest

    ITA also has a premium business seat on the A321neo.

  3. yoloswag420 Guest

    You do get a pair of PJs for JetBlue Mint studios. You've even written about it yourself.

    Probably worth a call out since you discuss the Condor PJs right below

  4. stogieguy7 Diamond

    Apparently, Air New Zealand have such a product as well on their ex-Cathay Pacific 777s. And yes, I'm stealing that from the fine YouTube vid that Noel Phillips just dropped this week. He reviewed that product (AKL-IAH) which definitely fits here.

  5. AJO Gold

    Doesn't Condor charge the extra fee in Euros, given the fact that they're Germany-based?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ AJO -- Maybe it depends on where you're accessing Condor's site from, but when I look up the price I see it in USD, regardless of whether I look at a ticket to or from Frankfurt.

    2. AJO Gold

      The price I currently get is EUR 299,99 (visiting the site from Europe).

    3. UncleRonnie Gold

      UK passengers also get charged Euros on the Condor website.

  6. Andrew Guest

    Why would you pay more for an ottoman? ‍♂️

    1. Lee Guest

      In some cases, you don't. On Air France, the front bulkhead business class seats on certain A350s and B777s have substantially more room and are priced the same as any other business class seat. I've booked this twice. That's why I stated in another comment that it's not an offering per se. That is, there's no bundle of things you get, it's just the bigger seat, and there's no up-charge.

    2. Andrew Reiser Guest

      That’s fine Lee, clearly I was not commenting on opportunities where there are no up charges. I am just not seeing the value of paying for the basically the same experience with an ottoman lol.

  7. mjk Guest

    I just don't get the fascination with these bulkhead seats in business class. You're right on top of the galley, and in many instances there is essentially a thin wall separating you and somebody doing their business in the lavs. Everytime the washroom door is open you get a waft of their "business".

    Much rather be in the middle of the of the cabin, away from smells and noise disruptions.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ mjk -- That's fair, and it doesn't have to be appealing to everyone. Yes, in some cases the proximity to the galleys and bathrooms can be bothersome, but that's not consistently the case.

  8. Lisfranc Guest

    Asiana flying their old F product as J+ on A380. Theres still differentiation on the ground. Soft product is almost the same in the air as J but they do give full bedding.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Lisfranc -- Good point, thank you! Added that to the list as well.

  9. H-town Guest

    At least credit Noel for this article. No way this was a coincidence less then 24 hours after he published his video.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ H-town -- Sorry, you're talking about Noel Philips on YouTube? I like his videos, but I'm not sure what would lead you to believe this has anything to do with his videos? I just checked his account and it seems he recently did a video about Air New Zealand's leased former Cathay Pacific 777? Is that what makes you think I "coped" his idea?

      The truth is that this is a post that has...

      @ H-town -- Sorry, you're talking about Noel Philips on YouTube? I like his videos, but I'm not sure what would lead you to believe this has anything to do with his videos? I just checked his account and it seems he recently did a video about Air New Zealand's leased former Cathay Pacific 777? Is that what makes you think I "coped" his idea?

      The truth is that this is a post that has been on my "list" to write for weeks, and I finally had enough time yesterday to get it done.

  10. iamhere Guest

    This makes it complicated. So what you will end up with is airlines doing it differently and then there being a lot of business class products. For example, China Eastern referring to it as "first class." Doesn't business class cost enough these days? ....

  11. Ralph Guest

    I would include Starlux first class in your list as it's really a Business+ product.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ralph -- I hear you, but I'm going based on how the airline is marketing the product. Starlux is definitely priced like first class and has a totally different ground experience. Perhaps it's just one of the more underwhelming first class hard products out there.

  12. Chris Guest

    I've flown Shanghai Airlines' (and China Eastern's) business plus from NGB-PVG and also PVG-SIN. It's branded as "first class" and is charged a different fare. If you book in regular business, you can't pick those seats.

    The menu was the same as the regular business class menu and there was no difference in soft product either. When the NGB-PVG flight was fully boarded, they let others self-upgrade to the first class seats because it...

    I've flown Shanghai Airlines' (and China Eastern's) business plus from NGB-PVG and also PVG-SIN. It's branded as "first class" and is charged a different fare. If you book in regular business, you can't pick those seats.

    The menu was the same as the regular business class menu and there was no difference in soft product either. When the NGB-PVG flight was fully boarded, they let others self-upgrade to the first class seats because it was quite empty, but they didn't let others do that on the longer flight.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Chris -- Thanks for the report! Goodness, the pricing for the product is really steep if you consider that there's no differentiation to the soft product. I'm typically seeing it costing 2-3x as much as a standard business class seat.

  13. Eskimo Guest

    Which Airlines Offer A “Business Class Plus” Product?

    A: A greedy airline trying to charge more for what they normally provide in the past.

  14. JustinDev Member

    Extra space is needed for what purpose exactly? Is the food, boarding, amenities, lounge different? Is there a personal chauffer, butler?

    Are crew more attentive to pax sitting in these rows? Is there a different toilet dedicated to this row?

    1. Lee Guest

      As you suggest, with some airlines, it's not an offering per se. It's simply a front bulkhead seat with more room. However, AA will be rolling out a true business premium offering. It will include Flagship First Dining (where available). Regarding the lay-flat seat itself, Compared to the non-premium offering, there will be more substantial bedding. Regarding the in-flight food, there will be a different menu. Etc. Etc.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ JustinDev -- I noted in the post with each product whether the soft product is differentiated, so if it is, it's listed in each section. As far as extra space being "needed" goes, I wouldn't say it's ever needed, but rather it's a luxury. Ultimately there's a difference in spaciousness between a standard business class seat and these seats, and many will value the extra space, and are willing to pay for it.

  15. InceptionCat Gold

    I flew the LH Allegris Business Suite MUC-YYZ and this is honestly more of a first class product than business. I'd go ahead and say that the soft product is slightly different than with the rest of the the cabin. Extra bedding, pyjamas.
    There's also a small extra Menu with snacks and drinks. It could be that i'm a senator but i got much more attention than in the past in J. My glass was constantly refilled, crew came by for a chit chat. Twice. Felt more like F.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ InceptionCat -- Thanks for the data point, that's helpful! I'll update the post to reflect it.

  16. Manny Guest

    Didn't Oman Air turn its FC into a souped up J class ?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Manny -- The airline has first class on a couple of 787s, and it's marketed as a fully separate cabin. I don't know of any other "business class plus" product at the airline.

  17. tim Guest

    malaysian airlines business suites seems like a glaring, almost amateur omission

    1. AJO Gold

      To put it a bit friendlier: hey Lucky, why is MH business suites not included? Do you see it as a separate class of service?

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ tim -- Was an oversight, my apologies. Updated the post to add that.

  18. Roberto Guest

    An important addition to your list

    Don't forget MH : Malaysia Airlines

    They offer a product called "Business Suite"
    https://www.malaysiaairlines.com/hq/en/experience/in-flight-offerings/cabin-classes.html#business-suite

    May i refer to a post made by a deity in blogging circles .... the one and only
    Ben Schlappig

    https://onemileatatime.com/malaysia-business-suite-a350-review/

    * just kidding * appreciate your work, don't forget it yourself :)

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Roberto -- Hah! Thank you, not sure how that slipped my mind. I updated the post to add it. I appreciate it.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

mjk Guest

I just don't get the fascination with these bulkhead seats in business class. You're right on top of the galley, and in many instances there is essentially a thin wall separating you and somebody doing their business in the lavs. Everytime the washroom door is open you get a waft of their "business". Much rather be in the middle of the of the cabin, away from smells and noise disruptions.

1
Enjoy Fine Food Guest

I like calling it "Bu-rst." Had a great AF flight in Bu[siness Fi]rst when they had 2-3-2 on the porpoise --two at the window with a ledge for stuff, a recliner, and great food.

0
Elie Guest

ITA also has a premium business seat on the A321neo.

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT