You’re online about to book your next long haul flight. do you splurge on First Class or save some money and be content with Business Class? After all Business is far superior to Premium Economy or Economy and there usually is a significant price difference from Business to First. As with many things in the world there is no clear cut answer but in his inaugural column, Daniel Green shares his ideas and insights with you.
We’re proud to introduce a new weekly column called Living Green with Daniel Green. Daniel will be writing each Friday on travel, food and staying healthy on the road. Daniel is a world-renowned television celebrity Chef know as The Model Cook for his good looks, healthy recipes and relaxed approach to living well. Each week he’ll impart some ideas and provide some inspiration on travel and living the good life. Face it you can’t spend as much time in the air or in hotels as Daniel does and still look as good as does without knowing a thing or two about being healthy. So we thought our community would appreciate his smart approaches to life and luxury.
There is a massive jump in price from Business class to 1st class. So what do you get for your money and when is it really worth splurging on the difference?
Today the lay flat seat is standard in not only 1st class but most airlines business class product. So if we get priority baggage, use of a lounge, dedicated check in desks and a full flat bed, Why do we need to spend thousands of dollars more?
Well a lot of this is to do with the Elite level of being one of only 8 people compared to maybe 65 business class passengers. The attentive service and a few extra miles.
Here are some tips on when to and why not to spend the extra money. You can feel a little snubbed to spend $10,000 on a ticket for 1st class when we end up using a lounge that is for business and 1st class passengers. We also feel a little done out of pocket if we bought a 1st class ticket to Bangkok from LA for instance on JAL and they do not have a 1st class service from Narita to Bangkok. So we arrive in Narita and have to use the business class lounge and walk away from that 1st class oasis that we feel we deserve. Some airlines will allow it if you have a 1st class ticket. So always remember to make use of 1st class if you are flying from the Hub as this will have the best lounge and priority access. Flying Cathay Pacific from Bangkok in 1st class only gives you a business class lounge. Most Asian airlines and European carries don’t offer 1st class on short to mid haul flights. So look at the connections.
Also look at the aircraft. If you are flying on an aircraft that has a smaller business class cabin you may feel it more attentive to fly business class or by being upstairs on a 747.
When airlines like British Airways offer little on the gourmet food in 1st class, its easy to opt for their business class product. Many Asian airlines still do a caviar service but you can see the quantity has diminished. Long gone are days of flying Air India from London to NY at a discounted price with an abundance of Dom Perignion copious amounts of caviar being refilled. Today every bottle of booze is accounted for, so don’t expect to leave the plane with a souvenir.
The airlines that don’t scrimp on service and food are the middle eastern airlines and Asian airlines. European airlines at the top of the list Lufthansa and air France . Lufthansa giving you a car service to the 1st class terminal and straight to the plane.
Virgin certainly does what most airlines do only in 1st class- this includes the sleep suit and many other touches like the massage and bar area.
Amenity kits can be fantastic on airlines such as Singapore’s 1st class Ferragmo kit and surprisingly bland on Cathay’s men’s 1st class Bally kit. How to Choose?
All in All look at the entire ticket with connections and what part is in 1st class. If you are not doing the entire trip in 1st class think again. Will you have time to use the lounge and is it in a hub that has a decent one. Then think of sleep. If you plan not to eat and it is a late night flight and all you want to do is sleep, then opt for a flat bed in business class.
Lastly think about doing one way 1st and one way business. You would do well to fly BA 1st from LHR T5 and use the lounge and have a day flight to the USA and make full use of the product, rather than on the return flying from Atlanta to LHR on BA that has a very grim lounge and a late night departure.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.