Brussels Airlines long haul

Back to Forum
Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

  • LHRSENflyer
    Participant

    Taking soundings. Either I should be grateful to have secured a bargain Business Class flight or I should be grumpy and voice my dissent.
    I purchased a ticket via LH on the basis of the SN Business class cabin. Now, they have a small fleet that often goes tech due to some of the destinations to which they fly and they are the bottom of the Miles&More hierarchy with a fleet of 330s in various states of differing paintwork and the joy of OO-SFJ which is painted in Eurowings livery and still has the dated LH cabin of its previous owners.
    OO-SFJ seems to often fly to JFK, which clearly SN sees as a non-premium route. I have already experienced this delight once on a daylight flight, now yet again I received the dreaded email with seat change a week before departure and the seatmap shows 2-2-2. I called the Service Centre which has no record of a change of status in the reservation. I feel I have been mis-sold this ticket as I purchased access to the preferred throne seats in the SN 1-2-1 cabin layout and now have an uncomfortable journey on an overnight flight on Eurowings 2-2-2.
    I also find it disingenuous of SN to not notify LH as the ticket seller of the full status change until 1 day prior to departure and part of the mis-selling. I realise it’s a cheap fare and there’s no way the LH group would ever condone a change of reservation on that fare class to to LX with a similar to the product I purchased.
    On a side note, tickets purchased on the American side of the Atlantic still seem to have more flexibility and it seems these customers rebook in droves when getting these emails, which won’t help SN turn a profit.


    Senator
    Participant

    I do a lot of trips with the Star Alliance Joint Venture to North America, and the prices are the same if you fly LH, LX, SN, OS, UA or AC assuming there is inventory of course. Sometimes SN is cheaper, other times LX on my route, but the prices are the same in essence.

    To my pre-covid recollection, SN has a Singapore Airlines hand-me-down A330-300 with the old SQ regional business class product. I was onboard this as well with the 2-2-2 config. It could be either this aircraft or as you mention, the hand-me-down Eurowings/Discover.

    Most airlines are awful notifying of aircraft changes. Sure, I might get a schedule change that would indicate a change, but it’s only when looking at all details you can see a change. The most notorious airline for this in my experience is Thai.

    Regardless of where you have purchased the ticket, it is IMHO, the operating carrier’s responsibilities of notifying you of this. The real issue, is that operationally most carriers don’t care if their “promised hardware” is not delivered. You can look at BA Club Suites as an example. Sure, at the time of purchase they rostered an aircraft with Club Suites, but on the day of operations, they have to dip into the hangar to get a replacement without Suites. Technically, same aircraft. Technically, same service cabin. Experience wise, very different.

    I have been disappointed several times by similar experiences myself. And I wish material changes in the experience would automatically trigger notifications from any airlines with a choice to change. It doesn’t. So we are left underwhelmed at times, even disappointed. However, the choice of the airline would be a cancellation. Then we must ask ourselves if this would have been better.

    My layman’s understanding is that recovery from Covid was faster than expected. A mix of shortage of aircrafts (both from storing and due to delayed deliveries of new), combined with staff shortages have put the industry under strain.

    With the Lufthansa Group’s stellar track record of deploying new cabins, I brace myself for the German Roulette that will be known as the “Allegris Game”. Will the aircraft be equipped? Which of the seven options will be available?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    LHRSENflyer
    Participant

    Thanks for the considered reply as ever @Senator.
    Agree there is a significant shortage of metal as well as staff. In addition, I think SN has high utilisation rates of a small fleet and 1/9 of the 330s seems to be undergoing maintenance at any time, also flies to airports in West and East Africa with possibly dubious infrastructure.
    I also understand there is widespread frustration at short-term changes in operating aircraft. At least TG has disposed of its 744s finally. I haven’t been on TK for many years, but understand there is a similar lottery of very varying cabins.
    Within Miles&More OS has a similarly small long-haul fleet but manages to dish up a standardised hard product. My understanding is the ex-SQ aircraft has now been brought up to SN standards and it’s only the former Eurowings craft that is still in the old cabin and a regular on JFK and in full Eurowings (pre-Discover) colours. The email notes the standard of service will be up to normal SN standards, but the espresso machine has been removed. First world problems, I know! But as you note, it diminishes the overall experience.
    On a side note, in the last week 3/7 SN flights to JFK have been cancelled, so there’s hope yet! Or more likely just a switch to the same old LH cabin on a different routeing.
    Agreed that Allegris will be an interesting game for the rest of the decade!


    Mark
    Participant

    Not an airline I have desired to fly. It just screams blah to me.


    LHRSENflyer
    Participant


    @Mark
    , recent experience within Europe suggests avoidance isn’t a bad move. Coincidentally, a reply from SN has just arrived, which again reiterates your thoughts!

    “Your flight was scheduled on an Eurowings aircraft. Allow me to inform you that this aircraft has to be repainted in the Brussels Airlines colours and the interior has to be renovated, but this is taking time. Initially, the aircraft will be operated in its current configuration by Eurowings. In the meantime, it is being maintained to Lufthansa Group standards in order to guarantee our customers a safe flight, which is our top priority. The service in Business Class, however, is no different from the service on our refurbished aircraft. It is provided by our own crew, and meals are prepared by a Belgian Michelin-starred chef and accompanied by Belgian wines and beers.”


    cwoodward
    Participant

    It seems that the group have no shortage of decent younger aircraft available that could seemingly be loaned to Brussels Airlines should they wish to offer customers a decent experienced.

    Lufthansa alone with 41 aircraft including 6 youngish wide bodies and 27 A320/1 that have been parked for several years now. Austrian has 2 very young (leased) B787s long term parked for over 3 years and Swiss has a long term parked A330.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    LHRSENflyer
    Participant


    @cwoodward
    It seems to reflect the wider questionable management decision-making within the group.


    Senator
    Participant

    My take on the Lufthansa Group is that currently they are doing everything they can to shore up income statements and balance sheets before the next dip. They are not the most innovative lot, and more a follower than a leader. I think they have been slow in rehiring and bringing aircrafts back online due the cautious nature of their culture.

    Having said that, the B777X program delays combined with B787 program issues have created issues in their planning. You look at those beautiful, but tatty B747-400s or the workhorse A340-300 in production to premium routes, the customers based in Frankfurt must be devoted fans or prefer direct flights over anything else. I mean, JFK which is a flagship route for most airlines have seen nothing but old metal the entire winter season. I was surprised the EWR route was prioritized with the B747-8i over JFK.

    I fly a fair amount of Lufthansa Business in Europe via FRA/MUC for three reasons:
    1. Schedule
    2. Pricing
    3. Access to the stellar First Class Lounges (FCL) in FRA and MUC with my AMEX Centurion card

    I certainly don’t fly them for the “Heimat” food concept in Business :). I normally pick Lufthansa or Swiss Business on flights I know I can upgrade using the SME program PartnerPlus from Business to First. I check upgrade availability before I book.

    Back to SN. The long-haul product is pretty good. The short-haul is ok. I miss their flights BRU-BMA here in Stockholm. They moved to ARN ahead of the W23/24 time table to allow them more flexibility with aircraft rostering and to align with the rest of the group. Given the short runway at Bromma, they could only use a special A319 without full weight and special training for crews once the Avros were retired. Pre-covid, I could leave my flat at 06:10 by taxi, be at BMA by 06:22, and in my seat by 06:30 for the 06:50 departure to BRU. They also offered the earliest possible JFK arrival for me using Star Alliance and same day travel. I could be at Manhattan for a 14:00 meeting.

    I am torn these days. I am two or three years away from Senator for Life. I am not the fan I used to be. I also know my days of First Class are numbered when seats go eight to three. I suspect A-class deals rather than F-class full fare are gone. Same with upgrades.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    alistairNicoll
    Participant

    Back end of last year I flew Manchester/Brussels/Kigali and back in business class with Brussels Air and having secure one of the throne seats I had no complaints regarding the long haul sectors. Change of equipment is an occupational hazzard of flying in December I was twice the beneficiary when Ethiopian changed the planes on my Addis Manchester and return flights from 2-2-2 to 1-2-1

    1 user thanked author for this post.
Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
The cover of the Business Traveller May 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller May 2024 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls