Air Malta has recently launched a marketing drive to get more people upgrading to Business Class (Air Malta “Club Class”) at check-in.
Remarkably, prices for this upgrade now start at a very impressive €45 one way.
Available upgrade routes, and one-way costs are as follows:
- €45 – Rome, Milan
- €99 – Brussels, Paris (CDG and Orly), Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Moscow, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Munich, Vienna, Zurich.
In their promotional material, Air Malta has actually said that you should contact the check-in agents for more details. Accordingly, even where the upgrade is not being advertised for the flight, if you want to upgrade then you should certainly ask.
We have previously posted an article on whether the €99 upgrade was worth it. To summarise, you get the following for your €45/€99:
- A dedicated check in desk (although discount this if you are a Flypass permanent member, 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, believe me) 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 short, it’s very hard to put an exact monetary value on premium travel, and so much of it depends on your individual circumstances. However, we were quite positive about the value of the €99 upgrade last time we wrote about it, and we have no reason to change that verdict now. In particular, although the flights are obviously shorter, the €45 upgrades are, in our view at least, an absolute bargain.
In any event you will almost certainly be better off booking an economy flight and then benefiting from these upgrades than you would be booking a business class flight to begin with. In light of that, if you would quite like to fly business class but are happy going economy, we suggest you simply book an economy flight and then if the upgrade is available – go for it.
As a small aside, while you will always get access to the La Valette lounge where you upgrade at Malta airport, the position on lounge access is less clear if you upgrade outside of Malta. You certainly get access to the fantastic Etihad lounge if you upgrade at Heathrow, but away from Heathrow/Malta you may well not get lounge access with your upgrade, which obviously reduces its value. We suggest you check the position with the check-in staff.