Malaysia Airlines are changing their first class product to Business Suites. This means the oneworld alliance carrier will no longer offer the highest class of service.
The reasons for the change is to attract more customers into business class. On certain routes, the carrier experiences strong business class demand, so this will allow for even more people to be carried.
What is interesting about the change to Business Suites is that it is not a change at all. First class is presently offered on the Airbus A350 and the Airbus A380 at Malaysia Airlines.
There will be no change to the current seating. Six suites are installed on the Airbus A380 fleet which you can see below, and four are on board the A350 which is at the top of this post.
It is not just the seat that will not change. The on board service offered will be the same as that currently offered in first class, and lounge access will also remain the same. Even the booking codes for the business suites will be the same as now.
Pricing will be different however. Rather than first class pricing, Business Suites will be priced at a rate between business class and first class. Essentially it means you can fly up front for less.
The new class of service will be a step up from the current business class offering. Thompson Vantage seats are used in business class, which is the same seat as that used by Aer Lingus and JetBlue Mint among others.
These are very comfortable and offer a fully lie flat experience. They are definitely not as posh as Malaysia Airlines first class seats, so people may want to upgrade their experience, especially on long flights such as Kuala Lumpur to London.
Since corporate travel policies rarely include first class, this move does make sense. Enticing business people to spend more to buy a more comfortable seat with better service makes perfect sense.
Underlying the decision seems to be the fact that the numbers don’t stack up for the Malaysian carrier to have a separate first class product.
What do you think of this change, which is really just a change in name only? Have you experienced Malaysia Airlines first class or business class? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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All images via Malaysia Airlines.
Original reporting from Australian Business Traveller.