The Asiana Business Suites: Book A380 First Class Seats – for Less!

Recently, Asiana has announced some route changes as part of efforts to rationalize their operations. Asiana suspended routes, some of them put forward to cease operations sooner than originally planned.

On a positive note, the airline also made some other adjustments; effective later this year, they are going to introduce Asiana Business Suites service on their long-haul A380 flights.

The Asiana A380

Asiana has long touted their A380 flights to long-haul destinations such as the United States and Europe. They served a few cities such as Frankfurt, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, and soon-to-be-discontinued Chicago.

First Class

What’s interesting is that the A380 has been their only aircraft known to offer their First Suites product, which looks like this:

Asiana First Suites

Inside the Asiana First Suite cabin

Asiana First Suites

 

Asiana’s New Offering

Business Suites

The following routes are going to stop offering First Suites and begin the revamped experience they call “Business Suite”:

  • Incheon-Frankfurt: September 1, 2019
  • Incheon-New York(JFK): September 1, 2019
  • Incheon-Los Angeles
    • OZ 201/202: September 1, 2019
    • OZ 203/204: October 27, 2019

So what changed? Nothing much. Indeed, Asiana made it a point to emphasize that this new product simply uses the old hard product of First Suites:

Location of the A380 Asiana Business Suites

The Business Suite service will be “lowered” to be just like their Business class, and tickets will be categorized as standard J fare class. Passengers flying on this product, however, get to use the Asiana First Class lounge at Incheon International Airport when departing Seoul, as before.

 

The Opportunity

Where does this leave us passengers and frequent fliers?

For one, Asiana has said they plan to offer the Business Suite product for around 30 to 40% cheaper than First. By comparison however, their current A380 Business fares are already priced similarly lower. Whether the airline would stick to their new pricing plan or adjust Business class prices altogether remains to be seen.

What’s more promising, though, is in how much Business Suite seats can be redeemed with Asiana Club miles. This may be just speculation, but it is rather unlikely that Asiana will continue to offer new Business Suite award space to partners just as they have with First Suite. The airline would take this new offering as an opportunity to convert those seats into paid revenue tickets. If they were to take a hint from Singapore Airlines, they may even make these new seats exclusive only to Asiana Club members.

That said, if the new Business Suite product were to be aligned with Business Smartium award prices, we could see cheaper award redemption rates. An award could be up to 35,000 miles less per round-trip during low season (or 57,500 miles during peak season)!

 

Final Word

Asiana is currently in a tight spot and therefore rationalizing their routes and product offerings. These changes, however, don’t mean we should expect a worse experience to come. On the contrary, the Asiana Business Suite provides us with opportunities for more affordable revenue or award redemption later this year. We’ll might have to wait to hear more news about their new product, but it’s definitely something that could prove to be popular and valuable to us frequent fliers.