Welp, I thought the days of European Fake Business Class were in the past, but boy I was wrong.
On a recent little jaunt over to the fabulously besieged Ukraine for a long weekend, I had the pleasure of flying Lot Polish Airlines for the third and fourth legs of my never-ending journey to Kiev. I haven’t been to Poland in years, but the last few times I was there I absolutely loved the country.
And while Poland has come a long way after qualifying for EU entry and modernizing a lot across the board while still retaining a lot of Old World charm (especially in Kraków!!!), the same cannot be said for Poland’s national airline, Lot. For the sake of accuracy, let’s just call it Not-a-Lot for now.
So I flew into Prague from New York today on Delta and enjoyed my 8 hour Delta One experience. By the way, Delta’s int’l business class product has come a long way over the past 5 years and is the leader aesthetically and in terms of offerings among US airlines. And their stand-out lead is even more pronounced domestically.
Anyway, I digress. So I flew a real airline over to Europe and then found a relatively decent biz class fare the rest of the way on to Kiev on Not-a-Lot for around 450 buckaroos. Ohhhhh but how quickly I forget about those sneaky snake Euro airlines though.
You see, if you’ve never flown business class within Europe or between Europe and the Middle East, you may not know what I’m talking about. And if you’ve flown it, well you still haven’t flown business class. You’ve flown fake business class, as I’ve always called it.
In 2012 when I ran a company in Egypt and traveled back and forth between the US and Cairo every month, I used to take KLM or AirFrance quite a bit. The trans-Atlantic flight was fine, marvelous in fact. Those classy Euros know how to treat their pax. But once you got to Europe and connected on to another destination, they pulled a bait-and-switcheroo on you and you quickly found out you were stuck in the infamous European fake business class.
So what do I mean by “fake” biz class, you ask? Well, I say fake because they called it a biz class seat but it totally wasn’t. No really, it was a plain old coach seat – the exact same one that was behind you in the coach cabin. The only “difference” was that they didn’t seat anyone in the seat next to you. And if the seat next to you was empty, somehow they justified calling that “business class” and taking your money for it when you thought you were getting a real business class seat. B to the S, right?
You would work 783 extra shifts at Taco Bell so you could spoil yourself a little and shell out (no pun intended) for a luxury comfy premium seat on your flight and you’d find out half way through your trip – surprise, it’s fake business class you actually get. In other words, we are keeping all of your pesos for selling you that special “business” class seat and we’re sticking you in a coach seat. But we won’t sit anyone beside you, at least. So you can squeeze into your coach seat that you paid more for and not have to look at another person for a whole 2.2 feet.
What added insult to injury most of the time is that if you looked back into the coach cabin, there were usually fewer passengers the rows back there than up in the fake business cabin. So while you paid more for a coach seat with no ONE beside you, they paid less for the exact same seat and often had no one else on their whole row of seats. So it’s like you got fake biz class and they got fake suites class or something. Except they weren’t the suckers who paid more for it like you.
This bait, switch, and don’t disclose shit has pissed me off for years. And before anyone whines about some spoiled dickhead not getting his business class seat… it’s about getting what you paid for and were sold in good faith with an expectation for something within the realm of an industry standard product.
In other words, if I sell you a taco supreme and only give you a regular taco but include pretty wrapping paper with it, you’re gonna be pissed off, right? We all know that the extra shit that comes with a taco supreme – whether you get it at Taco Bell or Uncle Julios or your mamma makes it at home – there is more stuff inside the taco. If the “supreme” part is just the wrapper and you get an ordinary damn taco but paid a butt load more, you’re going to be pissed, right? Bam!
So anyway, here I am in yet another euro fake biz class seat and writing this rant while descending into Kiev. On a related note, I didn’t think to check about the fake biz class phenomenon on this flight today because I thought this was a thing of the past. I had read and been told that AirFrance and KLM had phased out their older fake biz class seats years ago, and I didn’t even think it possible that major Euro airlines would still be peddling this kind of product.
Now I know. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, we can’t get fooled again. At least I have the beautiful people of Ukraine to look forward to meeting when I land in a few minutes.