Air France and KLM have joined a number of other airlines in offering Basic Business Class tickets, with passengers giving up lounge access and a second checked bag. On April 25, the new unbundled Business Light fares became available on flights from Europe to other parts of the world. 

Some airlines have started using this new strategy. They aim to attract business travelers who want to save money and are willing to give up some perks in exchange for a lower fare. By offering these new class tickets, airlines can compete with low-cost carriers and attract a wider range of customers.

With the addition of the new level, Air France and KLM now give Business Class passengers three choices: Business Light, Business Standard, and Business Flex.

Business Light ticket holders can only bring one bag that weighs up to 70 pounds and can’t go into airport lounges. Business Standard and Business Flex tickets, on the other hand, include access to lounges and two 70 pounds checked bags each. Business Flex fares also include free seat selection before check-in and refunds if the trip is canceled. A price comparison shows that Business Light one-way tickets are about €100 ($110) cheaper than Business Standard one-way tickets. 

On the other hand, Business Flex tickets continue to cost about €150 ($165) more per direction of travel than Business Standard tickets. Air France and KLM say that the new, more basic version of Business Class lets them “offer customized fares at the best price” and gives passengers “more choice and control.” But, as is usual when airlines start offering basic versions of their services, the prices don’t really go down. Instead, they are charging extra for perks that used to come with premium tickets. 

Basic Business Class in Other Companies

Almost certainly, Basic Business Class tickets will cost less than regular Business Class tickets, but they won’t have as many extras. So, passengers have to decide if they want to pay an extra €100 to get access to a lounge and check a second bag. 

Air France and KLM aren’t the first airlines to separate their Business Class services to find new ways to make money from perks that used to be free. Qatar Airways started the trend in 2021, saying that its “fare families” give travelers flexibility and a way to get into business class at a lower price. 

After that, Emirates and Finnair did the same thing. All three airlines have taken away lounge access and the ability to choose your seat in advance from their most basic Business Class tickets. This means that passengers can’t earn all of their frequent flyer miles and points on these tickets. Also, Finnair’s Business Light tickets don’t include any checked luggage or priority check-in, seating, or boarding.