Economy, Business or First-Class Flights: Is it Really Worth It?

first class

“Have you ever them flown first class?” he asked me.

My new boss was speaking of Virgin Atlantic, referring to a flight he was about to book on my behalf. Miami to London.

I’ve been fortunate enough to fly a few transatlantic flights at the very front of the plane, all comfy in my sleeping suit and a champagne toast at take off (not a real toast, just me sipping and cheers-ing to myself, as you do). And I’ve spent far more long-haul flights bumping my knees back in economy. It’s a difference experience, to put it lightly.

I think most of us who travel frequently would be in agreement that it’s not the getting to the airport early, trying to redress and repack quickly after security, nor the possibility of turbulence that marks itself as the most unpleasant aspect of flying… it’s the seats.

You know what I’m talking about – the way your knees brush up against the seat-back pocket, the attempt to turn yourself into a contortionist in order to reach your carry-on bag on the floor, when the person in front of you decides the strict upright angle is no longer doable, and you almost go cross-eyed trying to see the screen that is now 6 inches in front of your nose… unpleasant is putting it mildly.

But, those first-class horizontal sleeping pods come with first-class price tags, many of which are outside the budget of those who would consider themselves fairly successful. This article from Flights.com examines the best first-class airline seats, and from the sounds of them, they’d be worth the splurge. Or at least sacrificing my wine habit for a bit to save up my pennies.

But is it really worth it?

As someone who has flown on both sides of the curtain, and been on everything from Singapore Airlines to Ryanair, I thought I’d weigh in. This year the internet been witness to the announcement of a brand new Emirates first-class suites  and Norwegian Airlines promising to fly between the U.S. and Europe for $69, it seems that everyone is looking to make their money go farther, when that’s in actual distance, or quality of service acquired.

Here’s the rundown:

Economy

This is the lowest level ticket you can buy, so essentially, it’s either turn over the change for the bare minimum of luxuries or forget it and stay home. That’s pretty much the only two options, so it depends on how badly you want to go. So it’s in those terms that I’ve given my final verdict.

Worth it? Yes.

Business Class

Consider this the middle class of airline seats. It’s definitely a step up from the chicken crates they put you in back in steerage, but not quite at the level of the upper tier. But, that depends on which airline you are flying. I’ve been on some planes, for example, on which the business class seats still convert to beds so you can sleep horizontally. That for me is really the best perk, so if this option is available I’m tempted to go for it. Especially because the seat price is usually within reach if you use points to cover the extra cost.

Worth it? Yes, especially if you have points to us.

First Class

Now we’ve moved up to the entire other side of the spectrum. These tickets are PRIC-EY, but of course it’s the best of the best. And all the airlines seem to be in a race to out do each other in terms of level of services and amenities offered. Obviously, you’ll have more time to enjoy said amenities and services if you’re on a longer flight, and will enjoy them even more if it’s a long-haul flight during the day. Honestly, the business class seats that convert to beds are fine for overnighters. You’ll want to be sleeping as much as you can anyways, so why spend all that extra cash to sleep a few rows up? Points are the way to go here as well, especially if you’ve been saving them (for years and years) for a special occasion.

Worth it? No, if you can get business class seats that convert to beds. Yes if you have the points (or money) to burn and are on a long-haul flight.

Going back to my boss’s question in the beginning, I did confirm that yes, I had in fact flown Virgin Atlantic first-class. But of course, I’d be more than happy to sample their premier cabin again.

Because the very best way to fly first class is to do so when the company who’s employing you is footing the bill.


*This post is brought to you in partnership with Flights.com. All opinions and thoughts stated are completely my own in order to provide the most honest and beneficial information possible.

  • My answer on whether or not first class/business class is worth the upgrade is totally dependent on whether it’s a day flight or a night flight. I’ll scrunch up in a window seat in coach and read my book during a daylight flight, and maybe catch a nap. But if I’m sleeping on the plane, I want the footrest or the seat that folds into a bed!

    Of course…if the company employing me were footing the bill, my answer would always be, yes, I’ll take the upgrade 😀

    • I’m totally with you on that!! Though I can pretty much sleep on any flight, so sometimes I figure I’ll enjoy the upgrade more if I’m actually awake to remember it! lol But it’s all the more enjoyable when it’s not coming straight out of your own pocket for sure! 😉