As always, the answer to this eternal question depends on your circumstances. If you are financially secure and can splurge quite a bit on extra service and amenities, then first class is really worth it, especially if this is a long-haul route with sleeping time and need for some palatable food while in the sky.
But let’s consider a more plausible option: if you are a typical business traveler who just needs to get from the point A to the point B ASAP without getting totally ripped, then go for business class. The difference between seat classes is radical in few points, the majority of amenities being quite similar, so you will get the same essential goodies for a lower price tag.
So what establishes this contrast between business seat and first class and how to make a right decision when googling for last minute business class tickets?
1. Price and prestige.
The price margin between business and premium seat can be impressive, just like between pure economy and business, but it depends on the chosen airline. For some airlines, prices for first class seat can reach $12,000, like for Singapore airlines; for others, the first class cost can exceed the business by a thousand or two, for example. So if you have that spare thousand, you can win the prestige and comfort of the first class world. Yes, flying first class is a sign of high status, so if that matters to you, go for the first class.
2. Question of comfort.
The current trend with most airlines today is to upgrade business class to the level of service and comfort that was previously available in first class only. Most business seats now convert into a full flat bed and provide some privacy. That’s the greatest advantage of business and first class in comparison with economy, so in this point they go nose to nose. The only condition is that this convenience may be available for long –haul routes only in business class, shorter routes featuring comfortable but seat-only options. So be careful to check what the seat configuration is before you book a business flight, because you can get less of what you expect for the high fee. With first class, this is not an option. No matter the time in the air, you will be entitled to a bed, a privacy cocoon, a personal attendant, a whole bunch of goodies, restaurant level meal (Michelin-like) and, in some outstanding cases, to a shower or even private apartments on the plane.
Both business class and first class deal only in the high class cuisine and beverages. But there is a difference. Business class offers really good food with real tableware and a table linen. Beverages are matched to food and you have a selection of soft drinks and spirits. First class meal time is like going to one of the world’ best restaurants. Food, beverages and services are a separate experience, a curated composition from a chef, a pleasure you get for the very high price on the ground. Serving, quality, preparation, questions of allergy to some ingredients and so eliminating them, etc. – it all goes in the first class dining experience, and you really feel like a VIP guest (who you actually are).
Your first or business class experience can begin while still on the ground, when you enter the airport. Along with privileges of fast and wait-free security check (and later passport control), business class and first class passengers can access dedicated lounges. With some airlines, business and first class lounges do not differ much or are combined into one waiting area. For others, they are different, with food, drinks and level of comfort being supreme in first class (predictably). In the most outstanding cases, first class passengers will have their dedicated entrance, service lines and passage to lounges and the planes. Like, they are traveling in their own bubble, without crossing paths with economy and business class folks.
These are key points to consider when you look for a ticket to buy right away. Make up your mind, weigh pros and cons, and let us grab you the best deal on business class travel to any corner of the world.