Just a few days ago, I published my experience flying in airBaltic’s economy class on my flight from Amsterdam (AMS) to Vilnius (VNO). After after some great adventures in Lithuania, I was ready to hit the skies again — but this time in the front of the (air) bus — I was flying in airBaltic’s Business Class. I was excited to see how it would compare to economy and see how a low cost carrier would handle a premium product.
The airBaltic check-in & lounge experience at VNO
Check-in at VNO was quick and easy. VNO does not have dedicated counter space for any one airline. Rather, overhead monitors display which check-in counter is for which airline at that time, and signage can be moved around.
After I had checked my bag and gotten through security, I wandered through a large section of duty free items before finding the lounge. The lounge was mostly empty, and I didn’t have much time. The lounge featured a self-service bar, with some wine, Lithuanian herbal liqueurs, and other spirits.
There was a also a fancy coffee machine. At this early in the morning, I was not in the mood for alcohol but coffee was a must have. Specifically, coffee with two cubes of sugar.
There was also a spread of pastries along one of the walls. I was not hungry, and was going to receive breakfast on the plane, so I didn’t eat anything. Instead, I just grabbed some candies for later and made my way to a chair to enjoy my coffee. I had time for a quick refill, but had to chug it as boarding time was near.
Back to AMS — Time to Board the A220
The gate area at VNO was smaller and less chaotic than at AMS. The boarding process was similar to most airlines in the US, with everyone crowding the gate area waiting for their group to be called. Being in business class, I could have been one of the first to board, but I had arrived later due to being in the lounge and just took my place at the end of the line.
As I walked down the jet bridge, I noticed that our plane had a special livery. AirBaltic has three A220-300s with a special livery, using the flags of the three Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The plane I was about to board sported the Estonian flag livery. As I stepped off the jet bridge and into the plane, I noticed that the door mat still said “C Series,” on it, but the fuselage had “A220-300” stamped beside the door.
The flight attendants greeted me as I boarded, and I found my seat. This time, I was in seat 2D, an aisle seat. AirBaltic’s business class is similar to other European business classes. There was a row of three seats, with the middle seat left empty. In the case of airBaltic, there was actually a plastic tray attached to the middle seats, prohibiting use by anyone. When I flew the now-defunct Joon’s business class a couple years ago, the middle seat was left empty.
The airBaltic Airbus A220 Business Class Product
After I took my seat and everyone had boarded, the safety demonstration began. A pre-recorded voice asked us to follow along, “even if you are a frequent flyer and know this all by heart.” After the demonstration was over, the flight attendants closed the curtain between business and economy class. They also offered me a newspaper, and I selected the Financial Times. I was the only one in business class, and the closed curtain gave me a feeling of flying in a private jet. The leg room was less than the exit row seat I had in economy.
Once we had reached our cruising altitude, the flight attendant asked if I would like anything to drink. Early in the morning, the only drink I desire is coffee. The coffee was served in a nice mug, white with a small, patterned green stripe opposite the handle. This mug was kept full during the flight, and represented impeccable service by the flight attendant.
The airBaltic Business Class Food and Drinks
The flight attendant asked when I would like to be served breakfast. Normally, my breakfast consists of just coffee. I wasn’t that hungry, and the flight attendant informed me it would take about 15 minutes for it to heat up. I decided to go on and have it prepared, even though I normally don’t eat breakfast.
The breakfast service consisted of a selection of bread. Since I was the only one in business class, they gave me the entire bread basket. The croissants were delicious.
This was followed by a tray full of food. An appetizer of fresh vegetables and cheese, the main course of a chicken and cream cheese omelet, and dessert with granola, yogurt, and honey. The appetizer and dessert tasted like you would expect, but the omelet was delicious. When it comes to serving a hot breakfast, airBaltic and Air Canada are among the best in my experience.
As I was finishing my breakfast, the flight attendants began service to the main cabin. As on the initial flight to VNO, they made a couples passes through the cabin to sell various items. The first pass was to sell coffee, breakfast items, and snacks in the main cabin. The second pass was to sell perfumes, colognes, and souvenirs. Like on the first flight, the screens advertised the items for sale. The rest of the flight was uneventful. My coffee mug was kept full, and my book kept me entertained. We landed at AMS about two hours after takeoff. As the plane pulled into the gate, another airBaltic A220 was parked next to us, with the Lithuanian flag livery.
The forward door opened, and I deplaned, making my way to the KLM lounge to wait until it was time to board my next flight, onboard a KLM 787-9 Dreamliner to JFK.
My airBaltic Airbus A220 Business Class Review Conclusion
Overall, airBaltic is a great airline for a budget carrier. Passengers who value legroom should definitely try to get a seat in the exit row. Those who want additional space can purchase the option to keep the middle seat empty. If flying works up your appetite, then business class is the way to go. Either way, your experience is sure to be more enjoyable than other budget options flying around Europe.
The A220 itself is a great airplane. Whether airBaltic, or Air Canada, it will have a more spacious feel than smaller regional jets and enable mainline service on multiple routes served by regional contractors. Fun fact: airBaltic was actually the launch customer for the A220. In the future, airBaltic is planning on flying an all A220 fleet.