Finnair is launching a new Business Light fare, and the reduced-rate tickets comes with reduced baggage – specifically, no checked bag in what is a long-range 'cabin bag only' fare.
Available from March 31, Business Light will slide in under Business Classic and Business Flex and will be available "on selected routes with limited flexibility for those who are looking for the comfort of business class travel without a need to have checked-in luggage," Finnair says.
Those routes will be within Europe and also from Europe to Asia.
The lower-cost Business Light tickets will be available under the 'I' booking class, although Finnair has yet to reveal the fare's earning rates for Finnair Plus Award Points and Tier Points.
The most noteworthy restriction? A Business Light fare "will not allow changes, nor will it be refundable," a Finnair spokeswoman tells Executive Traveller, and "advance seat reservation will be chargeable."
"Those travellers who value flexibility, for example when traveling for work, might want to consider the Business Classic or Business Flex product."
Also from March 31, Finnair's baggage-included business class fares – Business Classic and Business Flex – will see their checked luggage allowance reduced to two bags of 32kg each, from the previous and more generous three 32Kg bags.
Finnair's debut of Business Light nods at what appears to be slow-growing trend towards pared-down business class offerings.
Emirates last year introduced a Business Class Special fare, initially limited to "certain routes based on seasonal trends in travel demand," pegged at 15% below the price of a standard Business Saver ticket but without the airline's chauffeur drive, lounge access or advance seat-selection, and earning the same number of Skywards miles as an Economy Flex ticket.
Bespoke or unbundled?
Lufthansa is also planning a transition to what it calls "tailored needs-based airfare bundles", built on the foundation of a baseline business class fare with the option to pay extra for not only a better seat – one with more space, legroom or privacy – but a series of bundled packages which could include services such as inflight WiFi.
However, the German flag-carrier says its bespoke Business Class Plus approach "is not unbundling, it's upgrading."
“It's not just one business class anymore," Lufthansa exec Harry Hohmeister told Executive Traveller. "Within the (Boeing 777X) business class cabin, you can upgrade yourself to an even better product than just standard business class."
"For example, having a 220cm bed (as an upsell) is of course a selling argument, especially for (taller) guys like me."