These new ‘business plus’ airfares offers first class perks
Airlines are looking at new ways to encourage you to pay more for your ticket.
While an increasing number of airlines are unbundling business class – stripping out standard inclusions such as lounge access and checked luggage – American Airlines is trialling a new approach to upselling business class with the lure of first class benefits.
The Oneworld member’s new Flagship Business Plus package will initially include a trio of primo perks usually associated with its first class fares:
- use of Flagship First Check-In at selected airports, where travellers can enjoy “a private check-in experience” with a fast-track to security
- access to the restaurant-style Flagship First Dining room in American’s Flagship Lounges
- a third complimentary checked bag
The new Flagship Business Plus fares, first reported by The Points Guy, will be priced above regular business class tickets – although how much higher remains to be seen.
An American Airlines spokesperson describes Flagship Business Plus as “a new way to access American’s Flagship premium travel experience”, although it’s understood that these ‘business plus’ fares won’t be sold on flights with first class, such as American’s Boeing 777-300ERs.
Lufthansa has previously talked up the prospects of ‘business plus’ as the German carrier moves towards what it terms “tailored needs-based airfare bundles.”
Travellers could purchase a baseline business class fare and then pay extra for not only a better seat – one with more space, legroom or privacy, such as the centre ‘throne’ seats on Lufthansa’s next-gen business class – but a series of bundled packages which could include services such as inflight WiFi.
“It's not just one business class anymore,” Lufthansa exec Harry Hohmeister suggested to Executive Traveller in 2019, after the launch of the business class seat intended for the still-not-ready-yet Boeing 777-9.
“For example, having a 220cm bed (as an upsell) is of course a selling argument, especially for (taller) guys like me!”
The long-standing practice of what Lufthansa terms “static branded fares’ will be replaced by “need-based bundles’ coupled to an “upselling structure (of) bundling the right offers and pricing them according to the customers’ willingness to pay.”
Lufthansa cites examples of what it describes as Efficiency and Traveller packages – and even a beefed-up Plus version of each – being purchased atop a base fare.
“It's not unbundling, it's upgrading,” Hohmeister told Executive Traveller.
“We have to make clear in the market that we are not disrupting the (existing business class) product, but developing it to a better quality standard … to give the customer the best selection for themselves in terms of individualisation.”
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Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
10 Nov 2015
Total posts 8
Is there no end to the lengths some airlines won't go to to gouge customers? Next they will be charging more for first class to keep the riff raff out.
Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
12 Feb 2021
Total posts 23
As oneworld Emerald I can use AA F benefits anyway and travel with small carry so will not pay the supplement. Also on 773 F services from LHR to MIA and downgrade to J to to EZE all F benefits available and fare diff from J to F not that much if travelling from Oslo/Athens /LCA / and Baltic states. They do not charge for seat selection and most of the 773 F flights are upgrades anyway. I assume highrer level mmbers of OW will get an upgrade or go on the priority list. To give credit, with weather op reasons/delays they do treat F pax well . Have safe travels everyone.
United Airlines - Mileage Plus
12 Sep 2011
Total posts 344
Great pics of the Flagship First Dining Room at JFK!! Whenever I've been in there I'm usually alone, or with one other pax. The rest of the mob who aren't actually flying International First Class on CX or AA or AA Transcontinental Flagship First are relegated to the reasonable Flagship First Lounge. Now AA need to make some $ so they are selling access. The Flagship First Dining room at LAX was quite good, but no decent tarmac views like JFK. And it was always full LAX being located in Tehran-geles, with an appropriate non-kosher non-halal yet distinctly hummus pomegranete Middle Eastern menu with great champagnes. AA know how to capture their markets, and keep them engaged. And this is how they continue to evolve. Qantas? Well Qantas seem intent upon destroying their base market.....but then again a lot have left the fold and have spread their wings to other carriers!