With all that’s troubling the aviation industry these past several months, one main worry on every passenger’s mind would be the rising airfare prices. To maintain its competitiveness across the European market where chaos looms endlessly, airBaltic is introducing a new ticket type – Business Light.
Almost like Business Class
Priced with more affordable numbers when compared to the traditional airBaltic Business Class ticket prices, Business Light still offers passengers a whole onboard Business Class experience. This includes dedicated personal service from the Latvian airline’s cabin crew and being served a seasonal three-course meal and beverages.
Business Light passengers can also enjoy priority check-ins for flights at a separate registration counter and are permitted to carry extra baggage in the cabin and check-in bags. The allowance for checking sports equipment is also included for Business Light, so passengers need not pay the charge starting from €34.99 ($35.31). Like Business Class tickets, Business Light allows passengers to reserve their seats and are entitled to a free neighboring seat. Passengers under the new ticket type can use fast-tracked airport security lines and are entitled to use the business lounge.
However, the slight subtraction from a regular Business Class ticket comes from some contrasts, such as how a name change on a Business Light ticket would cost a flat fee of €100 ($100.92). Any flight date or time changes are only made free to Business Light passengers before departure, compared to the inclusion allowed for Business Class ticket holders. And as for the airBaltic Club member benefits, Business Light passengers only earn 50 points less than Business Class passengers.
A round-trip Business Class ticket from Riga direct to Berlin onboard the Airbus A220-300 would cost approximately €288.99 ($291.64), compared to a Business Light ticket costing about €203.99 ($205.86). Photo: airBaltic
Back in business
But why would the flag carrier think about creating a new ticket type, and why would it be a cheaper yet similar alternative to Business Class? The answer lies in the market, as despite the anxiety amongst passengers when it comes to rising airfare prices, the spotlight has been shining on higher demands for the more premium cabin classes. Though instead of taking the long route of revamping its current Business Class cabin, airBaltic is choosing to give passengers the choice of premium for less.
These days, passengers want more seating space and priority perks that make them feel more joy in traveling after two stagnant years, a much-needed reward. International carriers have been focusing on redoing their Business and First Class cabins with seat designs that offer more privacy or space to attract more passengers. Still, the rising prices have played quite the blocking role, and airBaltic has noticed, which is why the idea of offering Business Light could prove a real winner for the airline.
Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic, said:
“As an innovative airline, we always strive to revise our products to meet the changing needs of our customers. The newly introduced ticket type provides the passenger with all of the services traditionally associated with Business Class and will increase our competitiveness in the European aviation market. We expect that it will be popular also among leisure travelers.”
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Personalized service, seat reservations, quicker check-ins, and security lanes are some of the perks that passengers want these days, but not everyone can afford the inflated prices. Photo: airBaltic
Business Light seems to be a strategically smart move on airBaltic’s part for the short-term. It will undoubtedly attract plenty of passengers considering the price differential between the new ticket type, and Business Class is quite a leap. However, considering the fixed number of seats within 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 perks from the higher ticket type.