Over a year ago, Finnair announced the introduction of a new business class light fare. Back then, the details sounded acceptable, as it seemed the new fare would not include checked bags, but perks like lounge access, and priority check-in and security.
A lot has happened since. The implementation of the new fare kept getting postponed until today, when Finnair opened up a bag of unpleasant surprises. Based on Information on Finnair’s homepage and a closer look at the booking process, we can be sure that the new fare:
- Doesn’t include checked bags
- Doesn’t include lounge access
- Doesn’t include seat reservation
- Doesn’t include priority check-in
- Doesn’t include security fast track
- Doesn’t include priority boarding
- Doesn’t include any flexibility other than the usual Covid-19 goodwill policies
Time to take a deep breath and face the truth…
Is This an Economy Class Ticket for a Business Class Seat?
Well, it kind of is. Regarding ground services, there is no difference between an economy class and a business class light passenger. As soon as you take off, you’ll get the proper business class experience with only minor restrictions, as you still can expect:
- A business class seat (lie-flat on widebody planes)
- Superior catering
- 2 x 10 kg carry-on luggage + personal item
- 150% miles (w/ Finnair Plus)
Some amenities like lounge access and seat reservations are still available for purchase. Sadly, with the price tag of roughly €300, this seems rather unattractive.
Available From Today Onwards on Short and Long Haul Flights
Finnair has yet to announce on which routes the new fare will be available. Based on our researched, you can select the new business class light fare on European as well as on most international flights.
Only connections to/from North America remain unchanged. We speculate the Finnair’s transatlantic Joint Venture with British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and American Airlines doesn’t allow cutting back services on premium tickets (yet).
On long haul routes to Asia, things look a little different: A ticket from Frankfurt to Bangkok (December 8-15, 2021) carries the following price tag:
- Business Light at €2,450 r/t
- Business Classic at €2,750 r/t
- Business Flex at €3,443 r/t
So if you decide on spending €2,450 on a premium ticket for two 10+ hour flights with a stop in Helsinki, you cannot access lounges at any airport and have to queue up with all economy passengers. Including all the usual amenities increases the price by €300.
What About Status Holders?
If you’re a proud Oneworld Sapphire or Oneworld Emerald customer, things don’t look quite as bleak. Free checked luggage, priority check-in and security as well as seat reservations are among your perks as a status holder.
We strongly anticipate that you will be able to enjoy these, even if you go with the “discount” business class ticket. Still, things like seat reservations might get more complicated, as you might have to call the airline personally to get your preferred place.
A minor setback might be that your status only entitles you to one checked bag of 23 kg, instead of two at 32 kg that Finnair used to offer.
Finnair’s new business class light fare cuts down what used to be a special experience on the ground and in the sky to the bare minimum. It might have been easier to just sell economy light tickets and let people select a business class seat for a hefty fee. In contrast to this, Qatar Airways’ new business classic fare (excluding lounge access and seat selection) seems kinda generous.
We sincerely hope that Finnair’s experiment will stand out as an exception – and doesn’t inspire other airlines to strip down their business class experience as well. Sadly, it is more likely the first stone that will ultimately lead to another industry changing avalanche.
Source: Finnair Press Release