clrd4t8koff
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Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:10 pm

I apologize as I don't know how to incorporate pics from the database into posts, but there is a top pic today of an LH A321's Business Class http://www.airliners.net/photo/Lufthansa/Airbus-A321-231/2204165/L/ where all they have done is taken a coach class layout and blocked the middle seat and called it J? Granted, I understand that this is only used on domestic or intra-european flights, but still it seems "cheap" in my opinion. And if it's an acceptable practice, why aren't other airlines, specifically those in the US looking to cut costs and save money, also adopting a similiar strategy?

Is LH just cheap?
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:13 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Thread starter):
Is LH just cheap?

In Europe, the blocking of the middle seat and calling it Business Class is common practice. In fact it's quite a challenge to find an airline around here that has actual biz seats in it's short haul fleet!

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clrd4t8koff
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:19 pm

I get the idea/strategy - have an aircraft capable of either flying as 1 all coach product, or have the ability to sell it as a two class J/Y product. However, as much as the US airlines get ragged on for older flight attendants and overall poor standars of service, they have a leg-up on the European airlines in terms of comfort and space.
 
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CV880
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:20 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Thread starter):
, I understand that this is only used on domestic or intra-european flights,

Nice IFE as well.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:23 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Thread starter):
And if it's an acceptable practice, why aren't other airlines, specifically those in the US looking to cut costs and save money, also adopting a similiar strategy?

Virtually every major airline offering a business class product within Europe does exactly the same thing as LH. The average flight in Europe is rarely longer than 2 hours and most are much shorter. Business travellers in Europe value things like free lounge access (which you don't normally get in the U.S. even when paying the F class domestic fare), faster boarding/deplaning, extra baggage allowance, free newspapers, better meal service etc. more than bigger seats. And I personally much prefer having an empty seat next to me. It works very well in my opinion.

You also have to consider that with very rare exceptions, European carriers don't offer free upgrades to the premium classes to their elite frequent flyers. Passengers seated in business class have paid the appropriate fare to sit there.

It also permits much more revenue to be generated since demand varies so much from route to route, day to day, and season to season. I've been on quite a few KL 737s on routes like GVA-AMS where one day there will only be 2 rows allocated to J class and there may be one or two passengers (or none), while another flight on another day at a peak demand time for business travel, there may be 5 or 6 rows in front of the curtain and almost all seats occupied. Seat pitch in those rows on some carriers (KL 737s being one example) is also about 2 inches greater than in the rows used only for Y class further back.
 
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:39 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Thread starter):

Its a common practice in europe, BA does this with its 737s, though, I think their A320s are slightly different.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 1):
In Europe, the blocking of the middle seat and calling it Business Class is common practice. In fact it's quite a challenge to find an airline around here that has actual biz seats in it's short haul fleet!

  
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LAXintl
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:49 pm

I wish a US major would have the balls and adopt the concept.

Much more practical from aircraft configuration along with fleet utilization angle.

Today domestically so few people actually purchase F class seats, the cabins are made up of free upgrades or nonrevs anyhow, so no harm in evolution to the European style product imo.
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OA260
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:36 pm

The US carriers win on seats in F Class Domestic and European carrier generally win on catering. Shame we cant combine the best of both  
 
MH017
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:41 am

The only European airlines with a real Business Class configuration IMHO is Aeroflot; their 320's and 321's have 2-2 in Business Class, while all the other European airlines use the LH-KL (or whatever airline), configuration with the curtain-divider...
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PanHAM
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:03 pm

I've been on LH 321 flights with more than 20 rows of J class, especially LHR FRA on a Friday evening. Why should the carriers tiurn away passengers willinhg to pay for biz class? This seating arrangement allows a lot of flexibility.

OTH I've been on domestic US - what they call "F" and you get a hot danish for breakfast. Who needs to pick up calories that way?
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gabrielchew
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:39 pm

As others have said, seats in business are normally filled with people paying to sit there, unlike in the US where top tier members on Y fares are there instead. Whislt i'm sure 99% of European C pax would rather the US style seats, unless you need a much larger seat on a short hop, most also prefer the superior catering and lounge access you get in Europe.

Quoting MH017 (Reply 8):
The only European airlines with a real Business Class configuration IMHO is Aeroflot; their 320's and 321's have 2-2 in Business Class, while all the other European airlines use the LH-KL (or whatever airline), configuration with the curtain-divider...

The average sector length on SU is much longer than for most EU carriers

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 9):
I've been on LH 321 flights with more than 20 rows of J class, especially LHR FRA on a Friday evening. Why should the carriers tiurn away passengers willinhg to pay for biz class? This seating arrangement allows a lot of flexibility.

Exactly, why limit yourself to selling just 8 seats at peak business times, when you can sell far more. Last week I lfew to Dubrovnik on BA. When I booked, C was just 3 rows. By the time we pushed back, C was back to row 9 (and nearly full). On BAs old 767s, I heard that on some Moscow routes, C extended all the back to row 25 on Friday evenings. On weekend flights, C had only a few rows.
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LJ
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:58 pm

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 10):

Exactly, why limit yourself to selling just 8 seats at peak business times, when you can sell far more.

Moreover, a limited C-class means you may loose the long haul pax. I've been a CDG-AMS where they had 12 rows of C-class. Probablyh much needed to transport the connecting pax from AF long haul. What would KL do if they hadn't got so many C-class seats? Say no to the pax and thus also losing the business on the long haul flight? Doesn't make business sense.

However, I think the most important reason why EU airlines do this is not mentioned yet. Most large multinationals prohibit business class travel for even senior employees if the travel time is under a certain limit (which can vary from 4 to 6 hours). This means that C class is mostly filled with connecting pax and it also requires a large Y class. Thus in order to get the maximum revenue one has to be very flexible.
 
dc9northwest
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:20 pm

Quoting MH017 (Reply 8):
The only European airlines with a real Business Class configuration IMHO is Aeroflot; their 320's and 321's have 2-2 in Business Class, while all the other European airlines use the LH-KL (or whatever airline), configuration with the curtain-divider...

TAROM as well  

Although the business class section is getting smaller as time goes on... probably not long until it will disappear.

I wouldn't pay for this "fake" business class--and it could worse: KL used to not even block the middle seat until a year or 2 ago.

Yeah, there is something US airlines do better, after all. And, no, I don't really care about the "business" side of airlines. I only care about the passenger experience.
 
qf002
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:18 am

Quoting OA260 (Reply 7):
The US carriers win on seats in F Class Domestic and European carrier generally win on catering. Shame we cant combine the best of both

It's time you made a trip down here to Australia...
 
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:32 am

This past May I took 4 flights on TK. All were on the A321 (even though the scheduled flights were supposed to be a mix between A320, A321 and 738). MUC-IST and IST-AMM were all standard economy seats with the center seat blocked. AMM-IST and IST-FRA were likewise on A321 aircraft but these had two different types of seats that were far superior to domestic F in the United States. The best was on the IST-FRA sector where the seats actually had footrests and could be similar to an international wide body C-class cradle seat (before the new generation of lie-flats or similar). The food was excellent on all sectors and the CIP lounge in IST was the nicest business-class lounge I've ever been in (Only the LF First Class lounges in FRA & MUC and the LX first class lounge in ZRH are superior). So, you can add TK to the "sometimes" list for decent C-class seating. Even on the relatively short IST-AMM sector, the catering was excellent (even with a midnight departure and a middle-of-the-night arrival).
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CXfirst
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:47 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 13):
It's time you made a trip down here to Australia...

Funny really. Australia is going the opposite direction to more dedicated business class seats, but that has been more of a push from Virgin.

-CXfirst
 
jfrworld
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:54 am

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 5):
Its a common practice in europe, BA does this with its 737s, though, I think their A320s are slightly different.

No, BA does the exact same thing on their 319s/320s. I've flown Club Europe on a A319/A320 and the middle seat is blocked just like on LH.

Different from US carriers, a meal in standard in Business even on the shortest of flights (e.g. 30 minutes) plus free alcohol including premium champagne.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:21 pm

BA followed LH and others with some delay. Long time after LH guaranteed the free middle seat, BA had the middle seat free only on the lift side whereas all three seats on the right side could be sold.

Contrary to the US, a quality meal plus champagne and good wine and spirits are available on demand in Europe, even on short flights. Lounge access always guaramteed as well What they call "F" in the US does not even match C / J in Europe.
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LJ
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:17 pm

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 5):
Its a common practice in europe, BA does this with its 737s, though, I think their A320s are slightly different.

AFAIK only the ex-BMI A321s have a genuine C-class and fly exclusively long haul.
 
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817Dreamliiner
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:13 pm

Quoting jfrworld (Reply 16):
No, BA does the exact same thing on their 319s/320s. I've flown Club Europe on a A319/A320 and the middle seat is blocked just like on LH.
Quoting LJ (Reply 18):
AFAIK only the ex-BMI A321s have a genuine C-class and fly exclusively long haul.

My mistake! I think I got this confused with something else, thanks for the correction.
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baguy
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:06 pm

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 19):

I thin perhaps 817dreamliner was referring to the system where there was a 'crank' and when turned the seats expanded, making the middle seat more of a divider? I think they were known as convertible seats. I have an inkling these were removed some time ago - not entirely sure though!

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OA260
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:19 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 13):

I wouldn't be against that idea   lol... Never flown QF and always wanted to.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:15 am

It's not just intra-European flights. Some airlines go all the way to TLV and MOW with this business class model. Usually, the pitch is slightly better, but it is still a bit long to call it Business Class in my opinion. I suppose the alternative is no flight at all...
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MHG
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:51 pm

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 10):
On BAs old 767s, I heard that on some Moscow routes, C extended all the back to row 25 on Friday evenings. On weekend flights, C had only a few rows.

I doubt that !
As I have flown a few tims BA´s 767 in C/J class I can tell they offer real C-Class seats in a dedicated section of the cabin (forward of the galley).

It would be very weird if they´d assign some Y-Class seats (behind the galley) as C/J-class.
That´s not going to happen.
On the B 737 and A319/320 it´s a different story. Last time I flew Club world on a B734 it had the middle seat blocked but also added wider armrests with a little pad at the front end of the armrest where one can leave a drink without the need to unfold the mealtray. That little pad does not exist in Y-Class.
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qf002
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:11 am

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 15):
that has been more of a push from Virgin.

Really? VA isn't doing anything that QF doesn't already do (except a priority boarding line perhaps). The lounges, seats, service etc are all very similar once you get past the cosmetic differences on the surface, and follow exactly what QF has already been doing for the last 15+ years.
 
rahulrahul
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:36 am

Is there more legroom?
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bwaflyer
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:49 am

Quoting MHG (Reply 23):
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 10):
On BAs old 767s, I heard that on some Moscow routes, C extended all the back to row 25 on Friday evenings. On weekend flights, C had only a few rows.

I doubt that !
As I have flown a few tims BA´s 767 in C/J class I can tell they offer real C-Class seats in a dedicated section of the cabin (forward of the galley).

It would be very weird if they´d assign some Y-Class seats (behind the galley) as C/J-class.
That´s not going to happen.
On the B 737 and A319/320 it´s a different story. Last time I flew Club world on a B734 it had the middle seat blocked but also added wider armrests with a little pad at the front end of the armrest where one can leave a drink without the need to unfold the mealtray. That little pad does not exist in Y-Class.

There are two versions of the 767, a short haul and a long haul seating layout. The short haul version has the convertible seating found on the Airbus fleet, and on the DME service, Club could indeed stretch all the way to doors 3. Moscow is now served with long haul configured aircraft.
 
rwsea
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:50 pm

Quoting rahulrahul (Reply 25):

Is there more legroom?

This probably depends on the airline. On KLM, the first half of the plane (including Business Class) has 33-34" pitch, whereas all seats after the exit rows are 31". So, the business class section does have more legroom, but it's the same as the first several rows of economy.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:17 pm

Quoting rwsea (Reply 27):
Quoting rahulrahul (Reply 25):

Is there more legroom?

This probably depends on the airline. On KLM, the first half of the plane (including Business Class) has 33-34" pitch, whereas all seats after the exit rows are 31". So, the business class section does have more legroom, but it's the same as the first several rows of economy.

It's actually less than half of the aircraft. KL now sells the unused business class rows with the extra legroom as "Economy Comfort" at a small surcharge. It's not worth the surcharge on short flights in Europe (it might be if you're very tall). Until KL started the current policy a few months ago I almost aways succeeded in getting a seat in the first few Y class rows with the extra legroom when they were available without a surcharge, except on rare flights with enough demand to require all those rows in business class.
 
MHG
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:25 pm

Quoting bwaflyer (Reply 26):
There are two versions of the 767, a short haul and a long haul seating layout. The short haul version has the convertible seating found on the Airbus fleet, and on the DME service, Club could indeed stretch all the way to doors 3. Moscow is now served with long haul configured aircraft.

Well, I´ve only flown on the shorthaul ones (G-BZHA/G-BZHC) so far.
Never seen "convertible" Y-class seats since I flew Club Europe only and was seated in the front section always ...
Upon leaving the aircraft I never tried to snatch a view of the Y-class seats (didn´t expect something "extraordinary")
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:45 am

Quoting MH017 (Reply 8):
The only European airlines with a real Business Class configuration IMHO is Aeroflot; their 320's and 321's have 2-2 in Business Class, while all the other European airlines use the LH-KL (or whatever airline), configuration with the curtain-divider...

Also Rossiya has a 'true' business class seat on board its aircraft.
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gabrielchew
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:27 am

Quoting MHG (Reply 29):

Well, I´ve only flown on the shorthaul ones (G-BZHA/G-BZHC) so far.
Never seen "convertible" Y-class seats since I flew Club Europe only and was seated in the front section always ...
Upon leaving the aircraft I never tried to snatch a view of the Y-class seats (didn´t expect something "extraordinary")

All the shorthual 767s have converitible seats back to door 3 (between 3 and 4, it's only Y seats, and they're cloth not leather). The seats are identical between door 1 and door 3. The two seats next to the window are the same in Club and Economy. In Club, the very central seat is not used. That's the only difference. Last year I flew CDG-LHR on the 767, and Y started in around row 5, so in the middle of the front cabin. When loads allow it, I think BA try and keep the front cabin as just CE, but of course will move the curtain forward or backward to suit demand.
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glbltrvlr
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:36 am

Quoting MHG (Reply 29):
Never seen "convertible" Y-class seats

LH used to have seats that would adjust by moving the armrests of the outer seats into the area of the middle seat, making the outer seats wider. Not sure how that worked for the part you sat on, but the last few flights I took, they didn't bother making the change for business class - just blocked the middle seat.

I suspect they decided the weight and complexity of such a seat wasn't worth it and just order standard Y seating for the entire aircraft now.
 
PI4EVER
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:12 pm

Accustomed to the more traditional F class in the U.S. I was impressed with BA's Club Europe Business class service between LHR-OSL. As pointed out, food and beverage, lounge access and comfortable seats in the A320 were a nice surprise for what was just a $100USD difference in price when I purchased the tickets on BA's website here in the U.S.
From LHR the first 9 rows up to the first exit was Club and every row was occupied by at least one person. From OSL only 4 rows were designated for about 10 persons, so many traveling in regular Y got the advantage of some extra legroom up through the exit row seats. As the F/A pointed out "Its sometimes the luck of the draw" so apparently BA doesn't charge for the extra space if you're lucky to get assigned to those rows. The divider curtain is simply moved from row-to-row based on J class passenger count for each flight segment.
A very nice service and concept that likely would not be readily accepted in the U.S. by those more familiar with the usual 2-2 "big fancy seats" layout of our domestic F. I remember that US attempted to replace domestic F in the mid-90's by offering a 6 abreast "Business Select" service on 737-200's. Although the middle seat was not guaranteed, the intent was not to "oversell" the designated rows. It was not liked and did not last long so the idea and concept was shelved. On down the road those airplanes became the fleet for the "Metrojet" low fare division that too was not very successful as an attempt at flying "an airline within an airline".
A gutsy new airline could potentially make the European concept work, but not a change to the established "First Class" airlines like AA, DL, UA. It may have been successful at FL, but they chose to have the 2-2 layout as a true upgrade from their low-fare Y service and it was obviously a very successful program so hard to say at this point if "Europe" would have worked here.
The European concept is a very nice way to travel if you can afford it, and in most cases is a notch above typical domestic F in the U.S.
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Eagleboy
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:39 pm

I always liked the EI J class seat that they had in the past (Willie Walsh scrapped it in 2004/5)

The seats were variable config, so you could have all Y with a 3-3 config. Then on the return leg you could have up to half of the rows in a 2-3 config with wider seats. The A and C seats were pushed closer, eliminating the B seat, while the DEF were opened up to give 3-4 extra inches of width per pax.
 
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falstaff
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:52 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Thread starter):
but still it seems "cheap" in my opinion
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 4):
Virtually every major airline offering a business class product within Europe does exactly the same thing as LH

I have seen this on AF, KL, and LH. I think it is silly and I would never pay extra for the same seat as I get in Y.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 4):
Business travellers in Europe value things like free lounge access (which you don't normally get in the U.S. even when paying the F class domestic fare), faster boarding/deplaning, extra baggage allowance, free newspapers, better meal service etc. more than bigger seats. And I personally much prefer having an empty seat next to me. It works very well in my opinion.

That makes sense and I can see why you like that. However I am a stereotypical American (fat) so I would prefer a wider seat and more leg room.
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n729pa
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:46 pm

I laugh at the folks in Business sitting in those seats, especially when you have a flight perhaps first or last thing and get the same deal or even a row to myself down the back for a fraction of the price. Each to their own as they say
 
Viscount724
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:52 am

Quoting n729pa (Reply 36):
I laugh at the folks in Business sitting in those seats, especially when you have a flight perhaps first or last thing and get the same deal or even a row to myself down the back for a fraction of the price. Each to their own as they say

They also get lounge access, far more frequent flyer miles, and often higher baggage allowance. Knowing that the middle seat will always be empty is also worth something. On some carriers, for example on KLM 737s, you also get about 2 more inches of seat pitch.

A high percentage of passengers in business class aren't paying the fare themselves so that's not much of a factor. Many passengers are also connecting to/from longhaul flights at a hub. I usually find that point-to-point flights that don't involve a hub have very few business class passengers, often none. I flew LH 2 weeks ago GVA-TXL-GVA. It was an A319 in both directions with 3 rows in the business class cabin. It was completely empty on both flights, but they didn't need the seats for Y class as it was barely half full both ways.
 
EL-AL
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:03 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 22):
It's not just intra-European flights. Some airlines go all the way to TLV and MOW with this business class model. Usually, the pitch is slightly better, but it is still a bit long to call it Business Class in my opinion. I suppose the alternative is no flight at all...

This is true. The only airline flying a non-"european" C class to TLV is British Airways, operating newly configured A321s, and also swiss when it fly a widebody to TLV (usually 1 out of 2 daily flights).

On the other hand, El Al has a "real" business class on all it's airplanes, including 737s. Don't forget that flights to MAD, LON, AMS and other places in europe takes more then 5 hours.
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reffado
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RE: Blocking Middle Seat - European Business Class

Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:52 am

This technique has been going on for a few years now. Even here in South America it's becoming common. GOL offers this, as does LAN, and I think it's safe to assume that TAM will soon join the club. LAN though, offers premium service along with the extra space, whereas GOL does not. I miss the RG times, when even their 737's (300's and 500's IIRC) had real 2-2 business class seating, with larger seats, etc.

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