They say every seven to ten years the entirety of your body’s cells or molecules are replaced by new ones, prompting many to ask: are you really the same person?
In somewhat similar fashion, as Qatar Airways unbundles perk after perk from its business class, some are wondering, at what point is ‘business class’ no longer ‘business class’?
First: some context though. Qatar Airways has one of the most luxurious business class offerings in the world. It’s also one of the few airlines to keep flying to Australia during the pandemic.
However, earlier this month we noticed they had removed an ‘unalienable’ business class right in order to, depending on your viewpoint, cut costs to help with the pandemic pinch, or offer customers greater choice (that’s what the airline says it was intended to do).
What did they do? They removed the ability for business class fare holders to select their own seat for free (this was previously a given when purchasing a business class ticket).
This was part of a de-bundling, which occurred in November 2020.
— Eric Rosen (@EricRosenLA) November 11, 2020
Today the process continues, with Qatar Airways now doing something else that that might have the pointy end brigade raising their eyebrows.
Not only has Qatar Airways removed business class fare purchasers’ ability to pick their seat free of charge, but as part of their new ‘unbundled’ business class option, airport lounge access is also not going to be included under a Business Lite ticket (another type of unbundled fare which has now been added to the roster).
Business Lite is a new type of fare you will be able to select from September the 4th, 2021. It slides in underneath the existing business class fare options of Classic (R), Comfort (I, D) and Elite (C, J).
Frequent flyers with enough status will be able to access the lounge regardless of whether they take the Lite option or not.
Travel + Leisure reports that “In Business Lite, passengers get the same number of checked bags as other business fares, but do not get complimentary access to the airline’s business class lounge (the one in Doha is one of the best in the world). Instead, passengers can purchase access to the lounge.”
“However, Qatar will still grant complimentary lounge access to passengers in Business Lite if they are an elite member of either the carrier’s frequent flyer program or a Oneworld frequent flyer program.”
While this might irritate some business class flyers who love the lounge, they can always just book the higher tiered business class. And we reckon there is a large contingent of customers who book business, more than anything, for the in-flight experience (and the lie flat bed), who will be more than happy to take the airline up on its offer for a cheaper price.
What will make or break whether the scheme is worth it, is, of course, how much cheaper the unbundled ‘Lite’ fare is. Looking on Qatar Airways’ website, trying to book flights from Sydney to Dubai for 2022, at the time of writing the ‘Lite’ business class fare option was not coming up as an option.
Frequent flyer (and owner of Flight Hacks) Imannuel Debeer has previously told DMARGE that some of the classic fare prices he had seen (from Sydney to London) were not, in his opinion, that great value.
“Would be fair if tickets were genuinely cheaper but hard to say (7k ish return isn’t cheap in my opinion).”
As for the new ‘Lite’ option, only time and ticket sales will tell… But we’d wager there are plenty of people who fly business class mostly for the bed, and who will be willing to try.
Interest piqued? Check out the following video, by TikTok user @tourdelust, which shows what it’s like to fly Qatar Airways’ coveted Qsuite.