Tourists discover business class, business travelers fly more in economy


February 2, 2024
Today at
2:55 PM

While business travelers fly less and less, private individuals are discovering the joys of business class. ‘Much more than that glass of bubbles, the traveler discovers the convenience of the entire business class process: from security to collecting luggage.’

Brussels Airlines will introduce business class on all its flights starting next month. While this was until now limited to intercontinental flights, the glass of bubbly and the meal with real cutlery and porcelain crockery are now also available at classic holiday destinations such as Las Palmas, Palermo and Rhodes. Business class tickets are one and a half to twice as expensive as the same tickets in economy, a quick sample shows.

The essence

  • Since the corona crisis, leisure travelers have increasingly been traveling in business class.
  • Brussels Airlines is introducing the luxury travel formula for all its European flights.
  • Travelers are happy to pay the often almost double price for a faster flow at the airport.
  • At the same time, companies are canceling a lot of air travel and business class is often taboo for business trips.

The airline is responding to the growing popularity of business class. The major European airlines posted record profits last summer, partly due to the high demand from leisure travelers for the more expensive classes.

“The comfort on board is very nice,” says Inflight product manager at Brussels Airlines Xandra Quak. ‘But it is the entire process that comes with business class that is increasingly making people decide to switch.’ She mainly refers to access to the fast lane at security, access to the lounge, being the first to board, the certainty that there is sufficient space for hand luggage in the compartments above the seat, being the first to disembark and priority for luggage. on arrival. “The chaos at various airports in recent years has made many people realize the added value of those types of services,” says Quak.


Business class

Up to 10 percent of Brussels Airlines passengers to Nice, Malaga and the Canary Islands fly in business class.

On an average European flight, approximately 5 percent of Brussels Airlines seats will be reserved for business class passengers. They take place in classic economy seats, but the middle seat of the row of three seats always remains free. The first bookings show that business class is particularly popular with travelers to Nice, Malaga and the Canary Islands. “Up to 10 percent of the tickets are often sold in business class there,” says the Brussels Airlines manager.

Quak does not want to say how much Brussels Airlines is investing in the expansion of its business class offering. The operation does fit in with a luxury offensive by parent Lufthansa. It will invest a total of 2.5 billion euros until 2025 in upgrading comfort in the more expensive classes. Not only are the business class seats in the aircraft being replaced, but investments have also been made in the lounges at the home airports, including the two business lounges at Brussels Airport.

The growing interest of tourists in business class is in stark contrast to the demand among business travelers. Companies are increasingly forcing their employees to fly in economy. This is largely a cost saving, but it also fits in with the green objectives that companies set for themselves.

At the end of last year, the British division of the consultant PwC put an end to all business class travel, including those for senior managers and partners. The consultant has committed to being CO2 neutral by 2030. He calculated that air travel alone accounts for two-thirds of the company’s entire CO2 emissions. Business flights count extra heavily in this regard. Due to the extra space that business takes up on the plane, CO2 emissions per passenger are approximately 50 percent higher than those in economy, according to PwC.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Tourists discover business class business travelers fly economy


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