Belgium’s flag carrier offers a stylish premium cabin on long-haul flights, which Brussels Airlines says it developed to be similar to a boutique hotel. It comes with cosy bedding, tasty cuisine and beverages, and flat-bed seats with some rather special features. The airline operates long-haul flights to, from and between North America and Africa via its Brussels hub and has carved quite a niche for connecting passengers between those two continents - as well as within Europe.
The airline has a small fleet and concentrated route network with this flat-bed Business Class product. Passengers are impressed with the number of Belgian products served aboard, from decadent chocolate truffles to a long list of the country’s famous beers. Wherever you fly with Brussels Airlines, the intercontinental Business Class experience has evolved over the years into its best incarnation yet.
As a member of Star Alliance, Brussels Airlines has dozens of airline partners with which passengers can earn and redeem miles for their flights. It also means that Star Alliance Gold members can enjoy benefits when flying via Brussels, even if in economy class. Brussels Airlines participates in the Miles & More loyalty program, which it shares with other carriers including Lufthansa and SWISS International.
As a smaller hub than other European airports, connecting through Brussels is an easier experience that requires shorter transit times. As a result, flying on Brussels Airlines can get you to your destination faster than other airlines, which may schedule flights with longer connection times at busier airports. Brussels Airport features a single terminal with three gate areas split over two concourses (A and B) with three separate gate areas: A, B and T. Long-haul flights depart from gate area T at the far end of Concourse A and area B in Concourse B. Priority check-in, security and Business Class lounge options in either make it easy to begin your travel or connect through the airport.
The flagship lounge of Brussels Airlines is the 2,040-square metre THE LOFT, located in gate area A. Since 2018. the airline has partnered with Japanese luxury car brand Lexus and it extended the size of the lounge to include a dedicated The Lexus Experience area. The lounge now includes facilities such as SPA Grohe shower suites, individual nap rooms with starlight ceilings, Lexus LS Shiatsu-effect massage chairs, a Mark Levinson audio listening room and treats such as a chocolate experience hosted by a Neuhaus maître chocolatier, organic dishes and drinks by Foodmaker and Rombouts and selected Belgian beers on tap. Wine and spirits plus juices, soft drinks, coffee and tea are also available. The buffet offers hot and cold items that change with the time of day. THE LOFT features several spaces with iconic Belgian inspiration, including a wall full of historic items from the Tintin universe. An enclosed VIP area reserved for HON Circle members (the highest tier in the Miles & More loyalty program) includes a state of the art Miele kitchen, a living room and a changing collection of foreign and Belgian art.
The Sunrise Lounge at the far end of Concourse A is dedicated to passengers departing on Brussels Airlines flights to Africa from gate area T, and is open from early morning until lunch. Facilities are limited compared to THE LOFT, but as the name implies, the lounge offers beautiful views of the sunrise during the morning hours. Passengers departing on Brussels Airlines flights from Concourse B have access to The Diamond Lounge, which is operated by Brussels Airport and used by several airlines. Showers are available by requesting keys from the reception desk. No matter which Business Class lounge you use, there is a complimentary bar with wine, beer and spirits plus juices, soft drinks, coffee and tea as well as a buffet offering hote and cold items.
If your flight is departing from gate area B or T, we reccommend visiting THE LOFT as long as you allow time to clear immigration on your way to the departure gate.
In addition to the lounges at its home base, Brussels Airlines also operates its own lounge at Kinshasa N'djili Airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - named THE SUITE.
Business Class passengers can take advantage of expedited boarding lanes when the flight is called to board.
Business Class seats vary depending on the aircraft - as more of the airline’s fleet is updated. We advise that you review the seat map when making a reservation to choose your preferred seat; there is a charge to reserve certain prized, solo throne seats with a table on either side (1A, 3A and 5A) - although this is waived for Miles & More top elite members. Availability opens up to all other passengers a couple of days before departure so keep monitoring the seat map if travelling alone.
The all-Airbus A330 fleet of aircraft has comfortable seats that recline to a flat-bed position and are laid out in a staggered, forward-facing, alternating 1-2-1 and 2-2-1 pattern. Solo travellers will prefer one of the single throne seats for maximum privacy while those travelling together should opt for the pairs of seats. The pairs of seats in the centre section have two side tables while the alternating pairs of seats on the left side of the aircraft share a central shared table. Solo fliers may prefer not to share a central table with another passenger.
Pay attention to the seat maps, which show the seats that have a small table closer to the aisle; those with the seat closer to the aisle may feel a bit more exposed as people move down the aisle. Those with the table closer to the aisle have more privacy, especially when reclined, as the seat is closer to the fuselage.
A few seats in the cabin (2A, 4A and 6A) do not have direct-aisle access, but all have plentiful storage space and easy-access power outlets. All seats on the right window side of the aircraft are solo seats, but only have one table on either side.
In the cabin, light wood and leather accents add an elegant touch, and all of the seats have half partitions that give them a bit more privacy. Some passengers complain that the footwell is rather constraining when reclining into a flat bed position, however. This is most notable in the throne seats.
Each seat comes with a large pillow and thin blanket duvet for sleeping, and electronic controls are easy to manage so that the seat can recline in various positions. There is also a massage function built into the seat with plenty of storage space including a water bottle holder and pouch for shoes.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes images, videos and seat maps for most airlines and aircraft Search results also include details such as seat pitch, width and recline. This way you can see the seat and cabin configuration of the flight in which you are interested, before making your choice.
Printed menus share details on the tasty cuisine in store, and many dishes come from the airline’s Belgian Star Chefs program consisting of Michelin-starred chefs representing special restaurants from Belgium.
As the service begins, flight attendants deliver hot towels and lay fine linens on the large tables that fold out from the side of the seat. Drinks are served from a clattering bar cart, but they do come with an aperitif and salty snack to start off the meal. Next up, a tray arrives with a choice of two starters, a side salad and some warm bread.
Drinks accompany each course, and soon the main dish arrives, which is a choice of three options usually a beef or poultry, seafood and vegetarian option. The ability to order special meals before departure is great for those with specific dietary requirements.
A cheese course arrives with three Belgian varieties followed by sweet dessert cake or tart from an attractive multi-tiered cart. Cordials, coffee, tea and other after-dinner drinks round out the service.
There is no formal snack menu between meals, but a snack basket of fresh fruit and chocolates are available in a self-service station. A midflight snack on many flights includes Belgian IJsboerke ice cream available at any time. There is also an espresso machine where you can prepare your own coffee drinks or ask for assistance from the crew. Depending on the time of day, a pre-arrival meal is served about 90 minutes before landing, but only on flights scheduled at over seven hours flight time.
Like many airlines operating to the African continent, Brussels Airlines flies several flights with a tag sector. A flight leaving Brussels en route to two African cities will make a stop in one before travelling onward to the second and then returning to Brussels. As a result, there are many one-stop flights from Brussels to African destinations and vice versa. During the intra-African tag flight, there is usually no inflight service at all, but if time allows, there may be a beverage offering with small sandwich.
As guests board, a tray of welcome drinks is offered including orange juice, water, Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Champagne or Kir Royale cocktails.
Printed menus outline what is available throughout the flight including Champagne, two white wines, two red wines and a highlighted wine of the month served in large stemless wine glasses. There is a long list of cocktails using an impressive array of liqueurs and spirits including Johnnie Walker Black Label, Glenfiddich Special Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Cointreau among others.
Most notable is the Belgian beer list, which come served in the appropriate glass for that style of beer. These can include Hoegaarden white ale from Flanders, Trappist Westmalle Tripel from Flanders and a non-alcoholic Leffe Blond from Wallonia among others. The beer menu is a point of pride for the airline.
Of course, a wide assortment of soft drinks, still and sparkling water, juices, coffee and tea are always available.
As part of the airline’s boutique hotel experience philosophy when designing the new Business Class cabins, a self-service walk-up bar is set up in the galley, allowing passengers to enjoy Belgian beers and other beverages at will. A self-service espresso machine is also available. While not a proper bar as some airlines provide, the initiative gives passengers a place to mingle if they like.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on which Champagne is served in Business Class and First Class on many airlines. We do our best to keep track of any changes, but feel free to let us know if there is something we missed.
Brussels Airlines staff is personable and proud of their small airline that has developed a reputation for reliability and good service standards. They enjoy making conversation with passengers as they serve meals - adding personality to the experience. While the crew is not the most doting, it is just the right amount of interaction.
Noise-reducing headphones plug into the side of the seat and several dozen international movies and short subject programs representing hundreds of hours of content are available. There is a good mix of international options including many from African producers given the airline’s African route network. The system operates via a touch-screen capability or by using the wired remote control on the side of the seat. An impressive moving map display is also available.
Wi-Fi is not available on Brussels Airlines.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi.
In addition to pillows and blankets, a bottle of water and an amenity kit await at each seat with beauty products, eye shades and a mask. The vegan leather amenity kits are from Belgian-based luxury fashion brand NATA, with the cosmetics products provided by Belgian brand RainPharma. They are part of a collectible series of three unique designs.
Newspapers and magazines are offered during boarding, and before landing flight attendants distribute an arrival gift to each business class passenger. This is usually an impressive, large box of chocolates or wafers in a gift bag that is a surprise touch of Belgian hospitality.
On shorter flights, the airline flies narrowbody aircraft with economy class seats; the middle seat is blocked. The airline offers a buy-on-board product for its European flights in economy, but Business Class passengers can select from the paid menu of salads, sandwiches and snacks without charge. Soft drinks, bottled water, and splits of sparkling wine, red or white wine and beer are also available without charge, but do not expect table linens or impressive tray set ups. It is a disappointing start or finish to a long-haul flight if you have a connecting flight in Europe with this rather basic product.
The airline has a four-part strategy to support the environment including renewing the fleet with new engine technology, optimizing ground operations and flight routes to conserve fuel, and investing in alternative fuels. As part of The Lufthansa Group of airlines, it plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Onboard and lounge recycling programs are in place, and the digitisation of manuals and periodicals is another way the carrier is saving weight on board the aircraft.
In 2010, the airline established b.foundation for Africa, with the purpose of accommodating and supporting humanitarian projects in Africa. The airline’s employees are involved in various humanitarian projects, and the foundation supports several NGOs. Every second year, the b.foundation organizes "Bike for Africa", a funraising mountainbike trip for Brussels Airlines employees and corporate partners. The initiative has included trips in Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Caameroon, Senegal, Gambia, Uganda and Burundi, all in the spirit of having fun and giving back to local communities.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on CO2 emissions for each flight. Our quality algorithms also give a higher score to flights operated by the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft.