Whether you live in a sweeping Hollywood mansion or a Sydney shoebox, 2020 has thrown up unprecedented challenges. Not only has the pandemic reminded us we’re still part of the food chain, but it’s sent the economy (if not the stock market) back five years.
So when you go on holiday, especially if you’ve paid for the privilege of flying flat, you’d hope to be able to forget about it all, and bliss out in signature style. Unfortunately, due to the strict new hygiene requirements (and the need to minimise passenger-crew interactions), that is not the case, with many of the classic business class features passengers have come to expect being swept off the deck.
As Bloomberg recently reported, “Forget the flute of chilled Moet & Chandon before takeoff, midflight gin and tonics and a roaming dessert trolley after dinner. Flying business class isn’t what it used to be.”
“Gone are the multi-course banquets and warm personal service, once the hallmarks of carriers like Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways. These days, what’s left of premium-grade travel is functional, hygienic and closer to cattle class – only with more legroom.”
“There’s nobody to help you with your bag, you’re not escorted to your seat, and there’s definitely no preflight champagne,” Sandra Lim, a food and beverage consultant who flew business class to Singapore from Los Angeles with Singapore Air late last month told Bloomberg. “It feels like it’s reverted back to economy class.”
Meals also came with everything on one tray rather than in separate courses, “just like in economy,” (Bloomberg).
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The same piece has been splashed across Traveller and the South China Morning Post, and similar ‘business class now feels like economy’ observations have been published across such publications as Business Times.
However, a range of travellers have taken to Twitter to criticise the article. Whether you believe they have misconstrued the piece as a complaint (rather than an observation) or whether you believe the Bloomberg article held an implicit element of criticism, we’ll leave up to you.
The fact remains: words are being thrown.
This article plays into the marketing hype of business class: refined service, restaurant meals, luxury alcohol.
The reality for most high-yielding premium passengers: skip the food and maximise sleep or work time. https://t.co/s7o56fPBGi
— Will Horton (@winglets747) September 13, 2020
Hong Kong based aviation analyst Will Horton wrote, in response to the Bloomberg piece, “This article plays into the marketing hype of business class: refined service, restaurant meals, luxury alcohol.”
“The reality for most high-yielding premium passengers: skip the food and maximise sleep or work time.”
Thomas Grove, a Wall Street Journal reporter wrote, “Just to put your own problems in perspective.”
Just to put your own problems in perspective. https://t.co/UJuftC27Nl
— Thomas Grove (@tggrove) September 14, 2020
Meanwhile, Latinx Socialists Of America (perhaps predictably) also posted the article on Twitter, with the caption: “Businesspersons problems…”
The same article yesterday made its way to Reddit, inspiring similar comments.
“I don’t really care about the service in business class – it’s obviously nicer than economy, but what I hate about flying economy is not the meal, or the service, or even the $3 a bottle wine they serve,” the top comment read.
“It’s the fact that an economy seat is like spending the entire flight sitting upright in an office chair, and then, just as you’re exhausted from that, having missed a sleep cycle, you get hit with eight hours of jetlag.”
“Unless Covid has somehow stopped the seat from folding flat into a bed, or you can’t even improvise your own bedding to stay warm: business class is still nothing like economy.”
Another wrote: “If anything, I am more likely to fly Business now than before. You can actually socially distance in Business.”
This was followed by further observations from further Reddit users like, “Who the fuck flies business for that. It’s for the extra leg room and width. And maybe so I can stay at the gate longer hanging out at the bar, board at the last minute and still get a guaranteed overhead bin space.”
“I could [sic] care less about the meals or comforts. I just want to minimize my contact and business lets me do that as much as possible. I don’t even know if they’re offering meals but I am not taking my mask or shield off for any reason. Not even gonna drink water that day so I make it through the airport and the 6 hour flight not getting up from My seat. Feels intense but makes me feel better.”
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