Air France, KLM launch ‘unbundled’ business class

These slightly cheaper tickets ditch lounge access and slash your checked luggage allowance.

By David Flynn, April 27 2023
Air France, KLM launch ‘unbundled’ business class

Air France and KLM’s most affordable business class fares will no longer include lounge access, while also halving the checked luggage allowance to a single bag.

Those are the take-aways for the new ‘unbundled’ Business Light fares now on sale from the two SkyTeam members, which have joined the likes of Emirates, Qatar Airways and Finnair in unbundling premium fares to cut both the price and the perks.

Available on most intercontinental routes, the Air France and KLM Business Light fares have four key differences from their Business Standard and Business Flex counterparts:

  • there’s no lounge access on a Business Light ticket, although if you hold top-tier frequent flyer status such as Flying Blue Gold or Platinum or SkyTeam Elite Plus, then your status still provides lounge access
  • you get only a single checked bag up to 32kg, whereas other Air France and KLM business class fares include two checked bags (also of 32kg each) – but again, this condition is waived in favour of frequent flyer status
  • there’s no free advance seat selection before you check in for your flight, so by the time you check in, all the best seats will probably have already been nabbed by others
  • you’ll face a €300 surcharge for any ticket changes, on top of paying any fare difference, and there’s no refund if you cancel your flight altogether
Air France's new Boeing 777 business class
Air France's new Boeing 777 business class

Those are pretty much standard exclusions for unbundled business class, with several of the biggest hits being trumped by frequent flyers status.

So how much do you save by opting for one of the Air France or KLM unbundled Business Light fares? Online estimates peg the difference at around €100 against a one-way Business Standard ticket.

However, it’s pleasing that the new Air France/KLM unbundled Business Light tickets seem to offer the same number of points or status credits (in Flying Blue parlance, these are called Miles and Experience Points) as any other business class fare.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1519

100 Euros? Seriously? And then pay 300 for any changes?

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 165

This unbundling doesn't actually mean the cheapest (basic) business class fare have gotten cheaper. They haven't. The basic fares have stayed about the same. All that's changed is the packaging and terminology. AF have simply stripped away a few benefits from the basic fare while maintaining the price level(!) So an oblivious pax would think they're getting a 'bargain', whereas in reality it's the exact opposite. Smoke & mirrors.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 571

Probably an unhealthy trend in full service airline to make it look like a cheaper option but not really. Agree with sunnybrae that these are just smoke & mirrors and doesn’t really offer a bargain. These airlines may eventually use this lite fare excuse to increase fares off the full J class services 


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