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Difference Between Business and First Class

business-classAs international business travel becomes more prevalent, airlines are competing to attract travelers by narrowing the gap between business and first class flights.

You’ve just decided to fly from JFK to Heathrow or from Heathrow to Hong Kong. Cramped economy class is out of the question. So what does the savvy traveller chose: business class or first class?
Just thirty years ago, that wasn’t even a choice. Flyers could either pack themselves into economy class or stretch out in first class. However, as more businesses are globalizing, business class has come to occupy an important niche in the market. At first, business class was closer to economy class, only offering more leg room and a better entree at dinner. Now, the difference between business and economy class is widening while the difference between business and first class is shrinking to the point where some airlines are eliminating first class altogether.

Comparing the Quality of Business and First Class International Flights

Only a very discerning traveller is able to recognize the difference between business and first class amenities.

Nowadays, there is very little difference between the amenities in business and first class. In first class there is a little more space, the food and liquor is a little better, your check-in time is a little faster, and you have a little larger luggage allowance. If you take a look a sample of the amenities for both classes on American Airlines, you’ll see there is very little difference. They both offer a premium cabin duvet, amenity kit, personal laptop powerports, and individual satellite telephones.
Most people would say that on a long flight seat comfort is the most important factor. There is a difference between the seats in business in first class. On American Airlines the seats in first class swivel so one is able to have a conference with the people nearest to them. The first class seats also lay flat, but so do the business class seats on the newer planes. Passengers traveling first class on Cathay Pacific are asked to think of their space as a suite rather than a seat. They too fold down to a bed, but so do the business class seats. Here, the difference is privacy.

Comparing the Cost of Business and First Class on International Flights

The small difference in comfort between business and first class cannot account for the enormous difference in price. While it may be difficult to discern the difference in quality between business and first class travel, it is easy to see the difference in cost. For example, an American Airlines flight from JFK to Heathrow on a given day will cost $2472 in business class and $7246 in first class. A Cathay Pacific flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong will cost $3434 in business class and $11,068 in first class. The difference in price is out of proportion with the difference in comfort. The savvy traveller should always opt for business class.


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