Yesterday I was checking in online for a flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai, when to my big surprise I was able to change my economy class seat to a seat in business class. At first I thought it was a mistake in the website, but I was able to print out my boarding card. When I arrived at the airport I was still a bit suspicious that it would have been a mistake, but while dropping off my luggage nobody said anything.
When I entered the aircraft it turned out I indeed had a business class seat (seat 1K, the front window seat, and one of my favorite seats). However, it also turned out that I would get economy service instead of the better food and drinks that you normally get in the business class. But that is not a big deal for me. Business class service is something I don’t care about much, the flight to China is always an overnight flight, and the main thing for me is to get a good rest so that I am still able to work upon arrival. So I was once again very happy with KLM: something similar happened to me about 2-3 weeks ago when flying from Shanghai to Amsterdam (although then I did get business class service).
Maybe KLM should start offering business class seats with economy service as an option when you book. China Southern used to have this on their flights from China to Europe, but I am not sure if they still do. As an entrepreneur I still find business class unreasonably priced, but I would be willing to pay a price in the middle between economy and business just for the better seats. The main thing for me is that I can rest during the flight and preferably do some work. In cattle class that is often impossible, although KLM’s economy class is still a lot better than for example NWA’s (the airline that I flew to India last week).
This morning I read in the newspaper that Lufthansa is thinking about installing bunk beds in economy class in the new A380 (3 beds above one another, diagonally placed – see the link above for an artist impression). If they would do that I would immediately switch to them for intercontinental flights, and I am sure many business travelers would do the same. I hope a lot of airlines will follow their example!