As I began to plan my next trip, this time to Europe, I started investigating European Airlines’ Business class offerings, specific star alliance carriers. I personally have never flown a European Star Alliance carrier, so whether it is SAS, Lufthansa, Swiss, Brussels airline, etc., the experience was definitely going to be a new one. After finding initial routing to my final destination (Frankfurt) and securing it, the tweaking took place and I put together my ideal itinerary and secured space on the airline of my liking. Although, when doing my research, I noticed that many European Star Alliance carriers offer the same, or VERY similar hard products in business class.
Initially when planning my trip, my first thought was to fly on Austrian’s newest business class product from NYC, after all, other than the LOT 787 hard product or Lufthansa’s 747-8i hard product it was among the newest product in the sky plying between the US and Europe. Sadly, the LOT 787 will not start flying again until June 1st so that was not an option and for my dates of travel there was no space on the 747-8i, so both of these products were out. I searched and searched and failed to find any space on the days that I wanted on Austrian. So this option was out. My next option was Swiss, and DING DING DING Success!
Modified so I could fly the 787 from IAH-ORD
Final itinerary including 787 & Swiss Air with a long stop over in ORD/NYC/GVA
Anyway, not to elongate a post longer than it needs to be. What was interesting about my research of European carriers and their business class product is that many of the carriers are now offering the SAME hard product or VERY similar products. Of course the final Hard product is tweaked to match the airlines own colors and themes, but overall the seat and space is set up basically the same. Swiss, Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airline and Finnair (OneWorld) all uses the same new seat and Air Canada’s new “executive first” (really business) is also similar!
From Top to Bottom: Swiss, Air Canada, Austrian Airlines, Finnair, Brussels Airlines
So what do you guys think? I know this is not the first time airlines have shared seats, after all Cathay Pacific and the new AA B777-300ER have the same seat, amongst others. Nevertheless, is this a good thing that the airlines are streamlining their products or do you think it takes away the competitive advantage? Clearly not every airline will have the same hard product, but it is interesting to see the same product on so many different carriers out of Europe. I guess the good part about this is, it will truly make a carriers service and soft product standout!