Who doesn’t love researching their next trip, searching for the best flights, hotels, and things to do (or not do)? Finding the perfect choice and filling in all of their details. Going to book only to find out you have to pay an extra charge to choose your seat!? If you’re paying thousands of pounds for a business class flight, at the very least, it seems fair to be able to pick your seat in advance without having to pay more!
Unfortunately, airlines have begun a trend of charging for additional services that previously were included in the price of business class tickets. British Airways has been doing this for several years now, and airlines like Finnair, Qatar Airways, and Emirates all offer their lowest fares without complimentary seat selection.
Now, thanks to Air France and KLM’s latest changes, you can expect to face a separate charge just for this privilege as well.
The new rules began applying on the 4th of April 2023 and are applicable for passengers travelling after April 13th, 2023. The rules will count on all long-haul flights, although to begin with, not on those to or from North America. After these dates, passengers will have to pay a fee of around €70 to €90 depending on their flight.
Flying Blue Silver, Gold, and Platinum members, as well as corporate customers, will not have to pay these extra charges. Business class passengers will also have the ability to choose their seats at no extra cost if they do so at the point of check-in.
Airlines are continuing to upgrade the business class experience to keep pace with other airlines and attract passengers to the premium cabin, and Air France and KLM are no exception having invested in their premium experience recently to try and further move into a more upmarket space. Placing more emphasis on offering better schedules and products, the hope is that clients will still choose to travel with them despite the extra charges.
These recent decisions could also stem from the fact that some of the biggest competitors of Air France and KLM have already done the same. Additional charges are the easiest way for an airline to generate extra revenue, and it’s not uncommon for airlines to invest money into premium products while finding other areas where they can increase revenue.
When booking business class flights with competing airlines who have already implemented this change, passengers continue to be surprised when they then have to spend more on seat selection. This often leaves a bad impression of the airline and can also sour the excitement of booking a luxury holiday.
Not surprisingly, the charging of customers just for the basic privilege of sitting next to their friends, colleagues, or loved ones on a long-haul flight is not a great way to get them on side! Perhaps members of Flying Blue will enjoy having more seats available to choose from until much closer to the flight, but for everyone else, these changes are not exactly welcome.
If you’re not happy about paying extra for a service that you have previously enjoyed for free, you might be wondering if there are any other options open to you. As previously mentioned, British Airways and some of the other airlines have the same policy already in place, but others still offer this service as complimentary. Choosing airlines such as Lufthansa, Swiss, Singapore, Emirates, and Virgin Atlantic continue to offer free seat selection on business class tickets making them better value in the eyes of some of their passengers.
While this change is frustrating for Air France and KLM customers, it is something that is slowly becoming the norm and could begin to be seen across all airlines soon enough. For now, you can simply choose your airline depending on what you prefer. The best way to make sure you are aware of all the benefits or pitfalls of business class flights is to speak to an expert. Contact the specialists at Just Fly Business on 0208 417 1366 and see which airline suits you best on your next trip.
All images courtesy of KLM & Air France