When checking in to an Air Malta flight at MLA, you will occasionally see a message on the check-in screen stating that Air Malta Business Class upgrades are available for €99. It does not matter what ticket you bought, every economy ticket (including the cheapest promotional fares) is eligible for this upgrade if it is available.
In short, this is a pretty good deal. It is quite rare (although not impossible) to find an Air Malta Business Class fare in advance that is under €99 more than the equivalent economy class fare, so this in itself means it is very often a better value option than simply booking a business class fare (although, of course, you cannot be sure that the upgrade will be available on the day of your flight: it’s entirely subject to availability).
It is worth noting that sometimes Club Malta Saver (i.e. business class) fares can actually be cheaper than Economy Saver fares, so be aware of this. This is a rare occurrence, but obviously you should always book Business Class if it’s cheaper than Economy!
So, what do you get for your €99?
Flying business class involves the payment of a “premium” for a premium service, so it’s very hard to put a clear cash value on it. However, you actually get the following, which probably justifies the €99 spend:
- A dedicated check in desk (although discount this if you are a Flypass permanent member or BOV Flypass card holder, as you get it anyway)
- Access to the La Valette lounge at MLA (free food, drink, newspapers, internet access etc)
- Priority treatment through security
- Priority treatment of your checked bags
- Priority boarding (not that this matters a great deal)
- The benefit of the “two seat” layout: with the middle seat converted to a table
- A special (substantially improved) onboard menu, together with complimentary wine
- A free in flight bar for the journey (alcoholic drinks in economy class need to be paid for)
- Substantially increased Flypass KMiles of 3 X miles flown. Taking a flight to Gatwick as an example, a base Economy Class fare would earn 1 X miles flown (1285 KMiles), while the business class upgrade would entitle you to 3855 KMiles.
In light of the above, my suggestion is that if you would like to fly Air Malta Business Class but can live without it, then (assuming the Business Class option is not less than €99 more than the economy equivalent) you should book an Economy flight, but if the €99 upgrade is then available on the day at the airport, you go for it. Certainly there are worse ways to spend €99. Ultimately it’s all down to personal preference – if your rule is that you simply seek out the cheapest possible fare, then clearly this is not a good option for you. Conversely, if you do like to splurge occasionally, and want value when you do, this is a very good option.
It’s probably a little irresponsible to say that the more you drink on the flight, the better value this €99 upgrade becomes, but I suppose that is technically true (although your liver may not agree).