Qatar Airways are unbundling business class, which means that people on the lowest fares will no longer have lounge access or seat selection at the time of booking. The initial reaction has been mainly against the idea.
The oneworld alliance airline is not the first to do this. Emirates also unbundle their product in a similar manner, which certainly hasn’t stopped people flying with them.
Unbundling Business Class Is Not Bad
Since I am not wealthy, I fly business class on long-haul flights only when the price is right. That means low – okay, cheap! This means keeping an eye on sales, being extremely flexible with travel dates and also being willing to leave from another country in Europe.
It means I can avoid dropping over €4,000 on return flights to Australia and pay at a price point more suited to my budget. With Qatar Airways unbundling business class, it will mean I will no longer have lounge access on my connection or be able to select seats.
Lounge Access – No Big Deal
That is not as big a deal as you might think. For one, Qatar Airways allow you to buy access to the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge in Doha. This is reportedly 450 Qatari Riyals, which is around A$170, US$123, £94 and €105 at today’s exchange rates.
Considering how much cheaper a discounted business class ticket can be, even paying for lounge access still comes out at good value, as long as you add the extra price to the overall cost and don’t look at it in isolation. You can also avoid it altogether by choosing flights with short connections and just go from flight to flight.
But I Want To Choose My Seat!
You know, I’m a window seat boy through and through. I only ever take an aisle seat if I am flying economy or premium economy on long-haul flights, so I can get up and down at a whim without bothering someone.
However, is it really that big a deal in business class? All the seats are the same and nowadays virtually all the seats have aisle access. Even a window guy like me realises I don’t sit looking out the window very much at all. My face is often buried in my meal or I’m watching a movie or I’m attempting to sleep.
Unbundling business class, while unusual, is not exactly a show stopper. It allows you to pay for the elements you want, while avoiding those you don’t use. Some people have no use for a lounge nor do they care where they sit, so why not let them pay less?
Of course, if you have a 6 hour connection, you’re going to want to be in a lounge. I get that, and that’s why you can elect to pay more. As long as the option is not taken away altogether, I really see no problem with this.
What do you think of Qatar Airways unbundling business class? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Qatar Airways.