What's The Real Value Of A Business Class Airfare?
This is a question that must be asked thousands of times a day by people travelling on the world’s airlines. Given a business class ticket can easily cost double the price of an economy fare or much higher multiples against discounted tickets – many people are likely to find that this additional expense makes choosing business class travel a questionable financial decision.
If you have the financial resources or if you are one of the diminishing number of beneficiaries of a business class option paid for by your company – you may not generally consider the fact that business class fares are expensive for what you actually get over and above the cheaper fare options. So when you sit down and work out exactly what you’re getting ‘extra’ for the money, it will be difficult not to arrive at the answer that business class travel is by all measures a highly profitable fare class for airlines, translating to high cost low margin benefit for the traveller.
Some may argue the best thing about business class travel is the meals you get when you’re on-board. These can be absolutely delicious on full service airlines such as British Airways Emirates, Qantas or Singapore Airlines and are far removed from what can be expected in the economy cabin. You will usually also enjoy a better choice of wines and champagne amongst a few other in cabin perks.
Others will go for the comfort angle to justify the costs. More leg room of course, larger more comfortable seats in general, and more airlines are installing close to flat bed seats for long haul flights, which might even get you a fair nights sleep. Then if you happen to be on the right business class flight with either Emirates or Virgin Atlantic you can while away the flying hours by holding up the bar on one of the long haul A380 flights.
Then, of course, you have the tranquillity and comfort of the airport lounges. To be able to escape the hustle and bustle of the main airport is always a welcome benefit, yet the standards of these lounges really does vary worldwide. For example, lounges at London’s busy Heathrow Airport are generally of high quality with great facilities for most airlines, compare these to say lounges at Marrakesh Airport which have been known to be very basic and at best provide a marginal escape from the crowded airport with little by way of facilities.
Other ‘perks’ that can be enjoyed by business class travellers are generally at the discretion of the particular airline. Even early boarding and prioritised disembarkation can be a little hit and miss. There are many smaller airlines that suggest many a benefit yet when it comes to practical application these additional benefits do end up seeming like very poor value for money.
Let’s be honest here and say that business class travel is never worth the extra money you’ll have to pay for it - see example below.
So if you can afford what is being asked for the little extras offered and these provide a greater emotional value rather than economic one, simply escaping some of the inconveniences of travelling in economy may be considered priceless or worth every penny paid.
Business Class vs Economy Class - The Real Value
*Above comparison is based on a airfares and data as advertised by full service airlines (British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines) at time of publishing; return airfare New York-London.
Source information provided by seatguru.com and justthefight.co.uk
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