Are you hemming and hawing over flight purchases, looking for the very best value? I know how you feel. I also carefully consider business class vs. economy class – particularly for long-haul journeys. Previously, I consistently booked economy because I had never been spoiled by business class. Now, with both experiences under my belt, I can outline the benefits of booking business class flights, so you can determine: Is business class worth it? Here ten reasons that make flying business class great.
Benefits of Flying Business Class
There are definitely more perks of flying in business class than there are of upgrading a half-step to premium economy. Purchasing business class tickets brings a host of benefits, some of which you can enjoy even before you step on board.
All air carriers are slightly different, but for this article, I will discuss the bonuses of flying business class with British Airways. They are currently in the process of outfitting their aircrafts with the new Club World Cabin ‘suites’ (essentially a wall with a door that surrounds the seat), but the BA planes I flew in spring and summer 2019 were not yet upgraded.
Pre-Flight Perks of Flying Business Class
1. Check-In More Luggage – At No Extra Cost
As airlines compete with each other by slashing fares, they cut costs by reducing the amount of luggage that each traveler can check in and bring on board the flight. Business class travelers, however, are still offered a generous baggage allowance. This is great for people who haven’t mastered the skill of ‘traveling light,’ as well as for shopaholics, who want to stuff their suitcases with goodies from abroad to bring back home.
2. Priority Check-In Queue
Rushing to the airport just to stand in a long line of other soon-to-be holidaymakers can be a real drag. But business class flyers (and first class flyers) can use a separate, much shorter priority check-in queue. This means you’ll breeze through the check-in process in comparison to other travelers – and you may also receive a pass to enter a shorter security queue, as well. Traveling business class can definitely save you time at the airport.
3. Club Lounge Access
Admittedly, most airports are no fun. Sure, you can peruse duty free or charge a device if you happen to stumble upon a free outlet, but there’s nothing particularly enjoyable to do. In Europe, especially, many airports only have small seating areas by the gate – so you might even get stuck standing or sitting on the floor until departure. Hanging out in the airline’s club lounge is loads better. They’ve got comfy seats, reading materials, and complimentary nibbles and drinks. The toilets are definitely nicer, and facilities may include showers and/or spa treatment rooms.
All Aboard: Business Class Advantages
4. Early Boarding on The Aircraft
For some travelers, the less time spent in an aircraft, the better. This isn’t necessarily the case for business class travelers, though (unless they’re in a hurry to – you know, complete some work for their business). After you join another priority queue, you’ll be among the first to board, so you have plenty of time to get settled in the business class cabin. Once you put your hand luggage overhead or in the designated drawer, rather than under the seat in front of you, you can plug in the giant noise-reducing headphones and lose yourself in a movie on a larger, more defined screen than you’d find in economy.
Fun fact: Did you know that EVA Air’s safety video features modern dance?
5. Welcome Drinks, Plus a Few More
When you’re seated, the staff will offer you a welcome drink. (During my business class experiences, travelers could choose between champagne and still water.) Let the hydration begin! Depending on the length of the flight, the cabin crew will serve another drink (any from the menu, this time) with snacks before starting meal service – accompanied by another tipple (or soft drink), should you wish. Many airlines take great pride in offering high-end wines and spirits, and you’ll have ample opportunity to sample the selection. Whatever your preferred drink, you will not go thirsty on this flight.
6. Hearty Meals, Served on Plates
Sure, you can indulge in drinks, but save space for food. Even if you’re the kind of traveler that brings extra snacks on board because you’re worried you may still feel hungry after dinner, you will be satisfied after your main meal in business class. The first meal, preceded by hot towel service, drinks and a possible snack mix, is three courses: starter, main and dessert. And it’s not just the oh-so-sophisticated plates and silverware that make the food seem tastier; the food is nicer. (Think burrata or salmon, just for starters.) The second meal is also more substantial than the ones in economy class, but if you are still peckish, there’s a bucket of snacks and chocolate bars – you can just help yourself.
7. Handy Amenity Kit
While amenity kits have all but disappeared from the economy cabin, they are still freely handed out in the front of the plane. The pouch will be filled with a pen, an eye mask, a pair of socks, a pair of earplugs, a toothbrush and a mini toothpaste, as per usual. (But the eyemask is nicer, plusher and won’t smell like plastic – so that’s a nice change.) And there a few nice additions to the biz class amenities kit. Flying British Airways Club World, you’ll receive some nicely scented moisturizer, lip balm and ‘pulse point’ fragrance by The White Company. The lotion and a premium hand wash will also be stationed in the loos, if you just can’t get enough.
8. Sweet Dreams in a Flat Bed
Drifting to sleep on a flight isn’t always easy in cramped quarters. That’s why travel accessories were invented to make flying more comfortable, such as travel pillows, travel footstools and tiny travel hammocks just for your feet. But you probably won’t need all of these contraptions to get comfortable in business class seats that transform into lie-flat beds. The seats are only slightly wider, but the space in front of you is much more expansive for lounging and sleeping. (Eating, too.) In addition to all of the extra space, the bedding is better in business class, too. You’ve got a proper plush pillow, a seat cover and a light duvet in addition to the standard blanket. Tuck in and prepare for sweet dreams.
9. Small Cabin = Greater Toilet Availability and Better Service
By now we’ve learned that a smaller cabin doesn’t mean less personal space – but there are other bonuses of flying in business class, too. The queue for the loo won’t be nearly as long, and you can get speedier service, too. The staff to passenger ratio is much higher in premium cabins than it is in economy class cabins; so you can also expect more personalized business class service. The staff won’t be as rushed, so the interactions with the flight crew are generally more pleasant. They’ll also keep an eye out for when you’ve finished your meal to clear plates and when you’ve finish drinks to offer you another.
Bye, Business Class… It’s Been Great!
10. Priority Baggage [& Fast-Track Entry]
And just like that – your business class flight ends, but not without a few additional perks to send you on your merry way. Business class flyers disembark the aircraft first, which gives them a head start to the immigration queue. Some airlines will also offer their business class passengers a fast-track entry for immigration. (I received a ticket upon return to London, but now US travellers are able to use UK e-passport gates at the airport.) Last, but not least, your checked baggage is also given priority onto the luggage carousels, so you can pick up your bag and start your vacation right away – or start your journey back home from the airport.
What do you think are the best parts of flying in business class? And if you’ve purchased business class tickets before, tell us where you flew – and with which airline – in the comments field below.