If you have never traveled in inter-European business class, you may wonder why many people will say not to redeem miles for such a ticket for the seat. This is especially true since the mileage upsell can be significant over the cost of economy. In the end, inter-European business class is much more about the ground game than the seat in the air.
Sidebar: Inter-European business class seats are the same exact seats as economy class. The biggest difference is that they have blocked off the middle seat in these 3-seat rows to make your portion a little more spacious. Most airlines will give a little extra legroom for those front rows as well.
How I Went From Business To Coach In 60 Seconds – Without Changing My Seat
On a recent flight, I boarded my Aegean flight and headed for “my” seat – 3D (I always select that seat on Aegean planes – it is my personal favorite). I saw someone sitting comfortably in my seat and pulled my ticket out to present to him to show him that it was my seat, except it wasn’t. The thing I like about row 3 is that it is right behind business class which means quick off the plane. So, I am used to just looking at the first row behind the curtain. This time, row 3 was the row just in front of the curtain – in business class.
I sat down in the row with the middle seat already blocked off and wondered what happened that I ended up on a business class ticket. More than the seat, I was mentally checking the fare class and hoping I would be receiving extra miles (higher fare classes of revenue tickets earn more miles). Not a minute after I sat down, the flight attendants came to the row and asked us to watch our heads as they loosened the bar holding the curtain between business and coach and slid it forward – over our heads – to resume its normal position between row 2 and 3. That was it – in 60 seconds I had gone from business to coach without changing my seat!
Why Choose Business Class?
So, what is important about business class on inter-European flights if it is not the seat that makes it special? First of all, meal service in business is quite a bit better than coach. But, if you have ever flown Aegean Airlines you would know that coach meals are nothing to sniff at. They serve some of the best coach food I have eaten on airplanes and that is even on flights under 2 hours! So, either coach or business, the food will still be quite edible.
The real benefit to having a business class ticket on inter-European flights is what happens on the ground. Depending on the European airports you are transiting between, it can be a real pain dealing with the crowds of people. European airports can seem to be much more crowded than their American counterparts even if there aren’t more people. Not only that but you always have the crowd-cutters, the passengers who will just cut the line like they don’t have a clue. That always makes a crowded situation a little messy! 🙂
Perks Of Business Class From The Ground Perspective
Having a business class ticket removes some of the annoyance of inter-airport travel. It gives you access to the following perks (it could depend on the airline and airport):
- Priority check-in (at the airport when you are preparing to leave)
- Priority security lines (huge time saver since fewer people are traveling in business and it is only valid for business class and elite members)
- Lounge access (great way to spend downtime at airports and a way to get free food and drinks)
- Priority boarding (the boarding process at European airports can be a real frenzy at times – this helps cut through that a bit)
- Priority disembarking (if the plane lands away from a gate and you have to take a bus to the terminal, this will often put you on your own bus/vehicle to the gate)
- Extra luggage (many airlines charge for any bags so getting two bags for free is great! It also gives you greater cabin baggage allowance)
- Priority passport control (this is not true for all airports but some airports do offer this which is great!)
As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to book business class tickets for inter-European travel – and they all are for what happens on the ground. If you want a smoother ground experience at European airports, having a business class ticket will give you that. Just keep in mind the premium you will pay if you redeem for inter-European business with miles! If the cash difference is not too great, that would be your better route.
Of course, you can also get all of that (minus the priority disembarking) by being an elite member within that airline alliance you are flying. But, if you are not that and your time/trouble on the ground is important to you, flying business class on regional jets can be worth it. Just don’t expect much from the seat itself!