With everything troubling the aviation industry in recent months, one of the main concerns for all passengers would be rising wage prices. To maintain its competitiveness in the chaotic European market, airBaltic is introducing a new type of ticket – Business Light.
Almost like business class
With more affordable numbers compared to airBaltic’s traditional business class ticket prices, Business Light still offers passengers a complete business class onboard experience. This includes personalized service from the Latvian airline’s cabin crew and service of a three-course seasonal meal and beverages.
Business Light passengers can also benefit from priority check-ins for flights at a separate check-in counter and are permitted to carry additional baggage in the cabin and check-in baggage. The sports equipment check fee is also included for Business Light, so passengers do not have to pay the fee starting at €34.99 ($35.31). Like Business Class tickets, Business Light allows passengers to reserve their seats and are entitled to one free seat. Passengers under the new ticket type can use the airport’s expedited security lines and are entitled to use the business lounge.
However, the slight subtraction from a regular Business Class ticket stems from some contrasts, such as the fact that a name change on a Business Light ticket would cost a flat rate of €100 ($100.92). Any change of flight date or time is only free for Business Light passengers before departure, compared to the inclusion allowed for Business Class ticket holders. And when it comes to airBaltic club member benefits, Business Light passengers earn only 50 points less than Business Class passengers.
A return business class ticket from Riga directly to Berlin on board the Airbus A220-300 would cost around €288.99 ($291.64), compared to a Business Light ticket costing around €203.99 ($205. $.86). Photo: airBaltic
Back to business
But why would the flag carrier think of creating a new type of ticket, and why would it be a cheaper but similar alternative to business class? The answer lies in the market, as despite passenger anxiety over rising prices, the spotlight has been on higher demands for more premium cabin classes. Although instead of taking the long road of revamping its current business class cabin, airBaltic is opting to give passengers the choice of lower cost premium.
Today’s passengers want more seating space and priority benefits that make traveling more fun after two years of stagnation, a well-deserved reward. International carriers have focused on revamping their business class and first class cabins with seat designs that provide more privacy or space to attract more passengers. Still, rising prices have played quite a blocking role, and airBaltic has noticed that, which is why the idea of offering Business Light could turn out to be a real winner for the airline.
Martin Gauss, Managing Director of airBaltic, said:
“As an innovative airline, we are always striving to revise our products to meet the changing needs of our customers. The new type of ticket offers the passenger all the services traditionally associated with business class and will increase our competitiveness in the European aviation market. We expect it to be popular among vacationers as well.
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Personalized service, seat reservations, faster check-ins and security lanes are some of the perks passengers are looking for these days, but not everyone can afford the inflated prices. Photo: airBaltic
At the end of the line
Business Light seems like a strategically smart move on the part of airBaltic in the short term. It will undoubtedly attract many passengers considering the price difference between the new type of ticket and business class is a leap forward. However, given the fixed number of seats in the Business Class cabin, the long-term effects on the future of airBaltic’s Business Class could be tragic, especially if Business Light already offers the majority of the benefits of the type of highest ticket.
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