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Back in August 2016, I booked round-trip Business Class flights from JFK to Brussels on Brussels Airlines using ~37,000 Etihad miles (transferred 1:1 from Citi ThankYou points). That was an incredible value. Now it’s 44,000 Etihad miles each way, which is still a cheap price for Business Class to Europe. But not nearly as awesome, obvi.
I took the flights in May 2017 – a full 9 months after booking. It’s the farthest in advance I’ve ever booked a trip. So I was looking forward to it for a long time.
As the date neared, I firmed up my intra-European itinerary. And booked positioning flights to and from New York.
Here’s a look at what Business Class on Brussels Airlines looks like.
In This Post
Brussels Airlines Business Class seat
I booked a single “throne” seat – 3K – there and back.
Upon entering the cabin after “turning left” into the aircraft (god I love that feeling), I was struck by how fresh and modern the setup looked.
There are 30 seats in biz, in a staggered 1-2-1/2-1-2 setup, like so:
I really liked the vibe!
As soon as I got to my seat, I was greeted by a flight attendant and offered a PDB.
There was a pillow and blanket already in the seat. And the flight attendant brought me an amenity kit and Bose headphones to wear.
The amenity kit had:
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Lip balm
- Body lotion
- Writing pen
- Eyeshade and socks
The kit itself was a basic black bag, nothing fancy. Kinda disposable.
As I settled, I immediately noticed the cubby where my feet would go when the seat was in the lie-flat position. It looked a bit narrow, and I wondered how my feet and legs were going to fit on the overnight flight.
So that was in the back of my mind.
I familiarized myself with the various controls, how the lights worked, and browsed the IFE. The screens were a nice size.
There wasn’t a lot of storage in the seat except for a little spot to place your shoes, which I loved. Everything else, I stowed in the seat back pocket or in the overhead bin.
Overall, I liked my seat. But in the overnight hours, I found the sleep setup (pillows, blankets, foot cubby) to be lacking. I’d have liked a sturdier pillow – I had to fold mine over because it was so thin. And the blankets were a bit worn.
The foot cubby thing wasn’t the end of the world, but I couldn’t “lie flat” – instead, I had to sleep on my side with my legs slightly bent. I’m 6’1″, so it’s probably fine for anyone who’s shorter. And it wasn’t a huge issue – but I knew from the get-go that little foot cubby thing would be an annoyance.
So I had the same plane to and from Brussels. But different food. Here’s what I ate on both flights.
I was a bad travel blogger and didn’t take pics of the menus. And I don’t remember what the dishes were called. Don’t kill me. But here’s how it looked so you can get a sense of presentation.
The food was “pretty good.” It didn’t blow me away, in terms of taste or presentation, really. However, the flight attendants were on the ball about serving meals as soon as we got to cruising. And were proactive about offering to wake us up for breakfast or let us sleep.
The wines were lovely. I tried a couple on each flight and found them all to be good. I tried to lay off the hard liquor during this trip, but did allow myself to try the red wines. They had a good selection of wines with different bodies and flavors, so I appreciated that.
Overall, not the best but certainly not the worst I’ve ever had on a plane: got the job done and the service was extremely efficient.
The service and experience
I liked my flights quite a lot. I watched “Lion” on the way over and cried at my seat when the film ended. The headphones were a bit tight and gave me a slight headache – and I have a small head lol. But nothing major.
The flight attendants there and back reminded me of intra-European Lufthansa service: to the point, no fluff, but very kind. They took their time explaining the menu and seat controls, so I never felt rushed or like they were out of reach. So it was a good level of service – not overbearing at all.
I was able to sleep for a few hours on the way over and back. I wore comfy pants and stowed my shoes in the little compartment. The cabin was only half full on both flights, so it was pretty peaceful. A really nice ambiance. If I’d paid retail price though, I think I’d expect a little more, from both hard and soft product.
Is it worth it now?
Look, 44,000 miles each way to Europe in Business Class isn’t bad. It’s not the steal it once was, but it’s still worth a looky-loo.
The only downside is you can only get this price from:
- New York (JFK)
- Washington, DC (IAD)
Considering some of you might be ready to burn Citi ThankYou points because of the upcoming changes to Prestige and AT&T Access More cards this month, remember you can also still book AA flights at pre-deval prices. Good luck finding an award seat, though!
Compared to Austrian, Lufthansa, and SWISS, I’d put Brussels somewhere in the middle: not the best and not the worst, but definitely belongs in the club. Considering the flights cost me next to nothing, I really can’t complain. But if I had it my way, I’d like a more spacious and/or longer seat, better pillows and blankets, and maybe a little “something more” with the food.
All that said, though: I’m glad I did it and I’d do it again. Still a great deal if you can get yourself to New York, Toronto, or Washington, DC. And it’s so easy to get from many places within Europe, either by train or plane, once you get to Brussels.
If you’ve experienced Brussels Airlines Business Class, how does your experience compare? Would you use your Citi ThankYou points for these flights?
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