Every time I’m booking my next flight, I always think of why I should or should not book business class. The advantages are certainly clear – better meals, more space, generally nicer experience. But is the extra money worth all the comfort for just a few hours?
Let’s find out what makes business class seats so great and if they are worth the money airlines are asking for.
Most airlines will do their best to make flying less of a pain and more of a pleasure. For example, when boarding Qatar Airways business class, you are greeted with champagne. You will be offered choice of soup, appetizers, mains, cheese plate, dessert, pastries, snacks. Wine list is quite impressive. To keep you entertained, you will be given noise cancelling headphones, so you can fully enjoy big screen with selection of movies. Moreover, when it’s time to sleep, comfortable pillow, blanket and pajamas will be provided. Your amenity kit is Armani (includes perfume).
Clearly, business class seats are wider, with more leg room. You have space to adjust your body from time to time. Not surprisingly, on intercontinental routes, a lie-flat bed has become a standard for most international airlines.
In economy class you have to stay put, sit straight and try to share the armrest with your neighbor(s). Most airlines keep reducing personal space by putting extra seats. Previously free features, such as checked-in baggage, choosing your seat, food, and entertainment, are becoming paid features now.
Despite free drinks, fare difference can hardly be compensated compared to economy. Even though they might be better, any decent restaurant at the destination will have better food.
Getting through lines
Faster service is very convenient when you are in a rush, but one shouldn’t forget that it differs by airport. Moreover, smooth access can also be purchased separately.
Generally, in case of business class, there seems to be better service, more attention and much nicer neighbors. In case of cancelled flights, business class passengers may have better chances at getting to their destination with minimum delay.
Many airlines offer free access to in-flight WiFi, earlier boarding, free cancellation of the flight with re-booking possibility.
If you are lucky, you may receive a chauffeur service to pick you up pre flight and drop you off post flight.
If you think about the differences, it is clear that airlines all over the world have been busy making larger gap in terms of comfort. Business (first) class is getting more luxurious.
Whenever flying long hauls, try to book with European, Asian, or Middle Eastern airlines. Usually they offer more comfort in economy than US Airlines.
If you would like to experience business class for the price of economy – consider applying for mystery shopping company. You will need to fill a questionnaire during the flight about your business class experience. Questions include the flight crew and how they’re dressed at various times in the flight. How they address you. What is the lighting like. Quality/freshness/texture of every part of the meal etc. Even though you will probably be busy for most of the flight, you will still get the chance to experience the luxury of first class.
How do you prefer to travel? Business or economy? Why?