Discount International business class Travel
Due to the way things worked out, I couldn’t get a Business Class seat on the outbound (overnight) journey, so I had the following Business Class flights:
- Frankfurt to Stockholm (FRA-ARN) on Scandinavian
- Oslo to Berlin (OSL-TXL) on Scandinavian
- Berlin to Frankfurt (TXL-FRA) on Lufthansa
- Frankfurt to Seattle (FRA-SEA) on Lufthansa
This is not my beautiful Business Class
The first thing I learned is that Business Class means different things to different airlines. On my Scandinavian flights, this meant “you get to sit at the front of the plane” and “you get more than just coffee and tea.” And not much else. The seats didn’t appear to be appreciably larger, and they were still three across per row.
In fact, the difference was so slight that they actually needed a sign to designate where Coach began!
This was a bit disquieting. Did I just waste 30, 000 miles? Was that the reason that these flights were available (i.e. because no one wanted them)? Finding availability on award travel is a life-enveloping experience so I didn’t realize that there was more to it than just finding flights. Where was my amenity kit and lie-flat seats?
The short hop on Lufthansa to Frankfurt wasn’t much different, although they did have a bit more leg room in the front. Interestingly, instead of putting in wider seats, they just kept the middle seat empty, so we could use it as our arm rest and table, just like one does in coach when the middle seat is empty.
But by this point, I felt ripped off. I had paid a lot of extra miles to fly in Business Class, and I didn’t really feel much of any different experience. I began to think that the whole venture was a costly learning experience.
Lucky didn’t help. Lucky, a.k.a. Ben from One Mile At A Time, a very enjoyable travel blog, wrote about my final flight on his blog, though he wrote about it in the opposite direction. He said that “business class on most US carriers beats Lufthansa business class in just about every manner” and that “[t]he whole service was conducted as if the crew was working an assembly line.”
Also, I learned that Lufthansa had a “new” Business Class product, but sure enough it wasn’t available on this flight. I was stuck with the old plane.
Finally, the day came where I boarded a flight at 10AM for an 11 hour flight that would land me in Seattle at noon. (I just love that.) I was shown to my seat, which looked more like a cockpit chair than a airline seat.
I sat down and examined my new home for the next half a day. I was asleep in minutes (traveling is tiring work), but when I woke up, I played with my “old business class product” chair, and converted it into its “angle flat position” with foot rests so you don’t slide off.