Home Travel News

Business class travel soars; now accounts for 5.6% of Aussie corporate bookings: FCTG

Premium seats are trending up among Aussie corporates with business and first-class airfares accounting for a combined 8.6 per cent of all business travel bookings in 2023, according to new Flight Centre Travel Group data.

Premium seats are trending up among Aussie corporates with business and first-class airfares accounting for a combined 8.6 per cent of all business travel bookings in 2023, according to new Flight Centre Travel Group data.

FCTG’s corporate divisions FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller found business class fares made up 5.6 per cent of all business travel bookings in 2023, up from four per cent in 2022, while first class fares made up three per cent of corporate bookings, up from two per cent.

Global FCM COO & Flight Centre Corporate MD for ANZ Melissa Elf said the rise in business and first-class bookings is a sure sign of healthy economic activity with business travel still a priority.

“Growing popularity at the plane’s front end reflects growth and stability across Australian businesses,” Ms Elf said.

“This data comes in a period of economic uncertainty and shows that despite many businesses feeling the pinch, travel continues to be necessary for business success and survival.”

The findings also reflect an August 2023 Corporate Traveller survey that found 91 per cent of SMEs would continue to travel despite economic uncertainty.

Economy & premium economy drop in popularity for business travel

Business travel
Economy and premium economy bookings have waned.

As business and first-class ticket bookings increased among corporate travellers, economy and premium economy sales decreased by -2.4 per cent in 2023.

Ms Elf said while economy cabins had seen fluctuations in booking share over the last two years, premium economy had seen the biggest drop.

“Premium economy made up 6.5 per cent of the cabin class share in the first half of 2022. In the second half of 2023 it was down to four per cent,” she noted.

Wellbeing worth the extra cost

Lie-flat beds are popular for business travel wellbeing.

The finding indicates more corporate travellers are prioritising comfort, wellbeing and status despite airfare rises across all classes in 2023.

“Many of our corporate travellers are deciding to book business or first-class travel so they can get a decent sleep if they’re travelling through the night or continue to work productively if they’re travelling through the day,” Ms Elf said.

“It all contributes to general health, wellness and productivity levels, so the extra fare cost is viewed as worthwhile for corporate travellers.”