German Politicians Banned From Flying Business Class After Blowing Travel Budgets

No more Champagne during boarding?!

German Politicians Banned From Flying Business Class After Blowing Travel Budgets

Some hard limits on politicians’ travel perks have been set this week, including a banning on business class seats, reflecting a global trend in reevaluating political travel privileges.

With the recent unveiling of the world’s best business class seats and news that there’s a brand new hack for ultra-cheap business class bidding, you can understand why the swathes of politicians that have just been banned from flying at the pointy end of the plane in Germany might be a little miffed.

This week, Germany’s Bundestag has introduced a new travel policy that restricts members of parliament from flying business class on flights under four hours long. The decision hopes to cut government travel expenses by around 50%, ensuring that the annual ringfenced travel budget is not exhausted prematurely, as was the case in 2023 after a mere five months.

RELATED: Cathay Pacific Announces ‘Aria’ Business Class Upgrade

The move has stirred what you might politely call ‘mixed reactions’ among Bundestag members, who until recently enjoyed the privilege of travelling in business class on pretty much any flight they fancied. The new policy mandates economy class travel for shorter flights, typically within Europe, stripping members of the enhanced comfort, priority services, and complimentary champagne associated with the pointy end.

To soften the blow, the Bundestag has made arrangements for members to access airport lounges and fast-track security lanes — using the argument, we can only assume, that this allows them to spend more time working and less time idling — although the costs for these services remain undisclosed at time of writing.

The policy change reflects a broader trend of reevaluating travel perks for politicians around the world. Until 2022, Bundestag members received the catchily-named “Lufthansa Miles & More Senator elite status”, a benefit that was eventually discontinued due to ethical considerations. The cap on acceptable gifts for politicians — set at a very progressive 25 euros in Germany — underscores a wider tightening of regulations surrounding political privileges.

Some writers have drawn an interesting and arguably problematic contrast with Australia, where politicians enjoy access to the highly exclusive Qantas Chairman’s Lounge, an invitation-only club for VIPs. Ben Schlappig from One Mile At A Time explains further…

“I’ve always found it strange how politicians in Australia are given an invitation to the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge… I know companies and organizations exercise soft political power in all kinds of ways, though creating a special lounge and inviting celebrities and politicians sure seems to create a pretty major conflict of interest if you ask me.”

Ben Schlappig

The Bundestag’s decision to limit business class travel is certainly a bold step towards more ethical governance. Any rule that helps hold politicians to account for their expenditure of taxpayers’ hard-earned dosh is never a bad thing, so far as we’re concerned. Airlines who’ve made a pretty penny of their own by dolling out champagne to mid-air politicians may feel otherwise…