The Business Class difference?

2013-01-14 10:15

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The reality is that most people cannot afford to fly the luxurious First Class or Business, more than a few times in their flying careers, if at all. So, here are a few pointers to help make the decision if it is worth it to upgrade and go that extra mile high, or if Economy will be the way to go for the long haul.


It’s clear that when you walk by the Business Class seats to your own, tiny, sad looking, chair in Economy how much more space there is in the world of luxury.  
Flatbeds make any sardine packed flyer feel a rage of temporary jealousy.  Wishes of having worked a little bit harder for that few hours in spoiled lavishness are suddenly upon you.

It is more comfortable, but the price is not always worth it if you can make your own luxury in Economy.

Economy comparable:

Having slept in both (to return to Economy and live a normal life) one should know that if you can have 3-4 seats to yourself in Economy you can snooze almost as comfortably.  

The best suggestion would be to book flights when the season is slow and ask to sit in the back where no one else is.  Continuously pester and ask if anyone is sitting next to you and try your very best to get that extra seat for extra comfort.  If you can do this on a long haul flight, there’s less reason to need the extra space.  

Business comfort:

Business is a guaranteed sleep with extra comfort like pillows and duvets, real ones!  To wake up feeling rested is a gift that money can buy, so, don’t let anyone tell you money can’t buy happiness.

The seat reclines fully or halfway and is much softer than the Economy seats.

Taller and heavier people will benefit the most from the extra room, but even the smallest child will wake up feeling rested.  


The idea of flying Business for both work and pleasure streamlines in the airlines’ effort for customer service.  As a Club World flyer you are asked “can I help you,” every step of the way.  The airline employees and attendants are also trained in premium service, which translates to a more comfortable and satisfying experience.    
Basically, it’s just nice to be treated nicely.  And, if you are on your honeymoon, or a special trip, it might be worth it to splurge.   There is no doubt about it here, the difference is astounding, less people to attend to equals better service, it’s as simple as that.

Bonus benefits:
Access to the lounge includes: free wifi, name brand snacks (bring a big tote bag!), personal service if you have questions about your flight or ticket, and comfortable space to spread out and relax. Some lounges even have access to free spa services.

Buy a 1 day pass for the lounge: If you cannot afford to fly Business class, it’s definitely worth purchasing a few hours in a lounge to recoup from a long transfer.


British Airways prides itself in Height Cuisine that Heston Bloomenthal, among other top chefs, created to supplement the changes in your taste when up in the air.
It’s not just the food that’s actually better, but the service of the food and presentation. 

Appetizers, followed by mains, then dessert, are presented on dining ware made specifically for the airline (check underneath the cup to see the branding).  Actual cutlery, a real serviette, and glasses for drinks make the entire experience feel that much classier.  And, there’s always, seriously always, someone coming by to fill up your glass with a smile on their face.

The actual taste of plane food is never going to be what it is on land.  Business food mains don’t taste that much better than Economy.  The starters and dessert are where it counts most, as easily prepared food like prawns, dips, and meats can be just as delicious on the ground or off.

The Cost:
The cost of Business compared to Economy can range up to 4 times the price of a regular Economy ticket.

Get that upgrade:
Last minute deals offer upgrades on the day of, or 24 hours before the flight.  Call the airline to check what options are available and instead of spending thousands you may be able to spend a few hundred extra bucks.

Asking for an upgrade at the airport may allow a last minute deal, but try and turn on that charm to the person checking you in. Sure, this almost never works, but it couldn’t hurt.

Save and use miles.  If you aren’t collecting miles from the airlines you fly with, you should, so go right now and sign up.

British Airways business only flight London to NYC:

 If you are in serious need of extra time and have limited options for meetings or events this flight was designed for you.  This is the fastest and most efficient way to get from London to NYC.

And, the major benefit is; when flying from London to the USA you stop in Shannon, Ireland to check into US customs instead of waiting in that dreadful line at JFK. When arriving in America, it’s as if you are flying domestic.

Details about the London City flight:

“In 2009 British Airways launched its business class-only service from London City airport to New York’s JFK.

Using two specially adapted Airbus A318s the twice-daily service (none on Saturday, as London City airport is closed, and once on a Sunday) provides an experience specially tailored for business, and premium leisure, travellers between the heart of two of the world’s largest financial centres – London and New York.

The service uses the former Concorde flight designation numbers – BA001, BA002, BA003 and BA004 - to reflect the premium nature of the service.

The total journey time from London City to New York, including the Shannon stopover is no more than nine hours and 45 minutes, while the direct return from New York is no more than seven hours and 35 minutes.”

Business or no?

If you are on a short flight, it doesn’t seem worth it to spend twice the price on a Business seat if your budget will be stretched.  The longer the flight, the more you ache for the grandeur of an upgrade.  In Business, they provide service unlike in Economy.

When the extra space is available to you in Economy, it’s surely not worth the extra cash for Business if all you want to do is sleep.

For special occasions and cheap upgrade options Business will be the happiest place on earth, unless you are going to Disney World, then that will be.

And, if you are looking for a better meal for an extra R10, 000, maybe just treat yourself to a really nice restaurant when you land at your destination.

Shaina Herman was hosted by British Airways. BA flies to New York from London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 10 times a day. South African customers arriving on any of the airline’s double-daily Cape Town or Johannesburg services can transfer directly to these flights through the flight connections centre in Terminal 5.

Read more on:    flights  |  travel international  |  aviation

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