International Flights: Business Class Benefits
In my life, I do a lot of flying. In addition, about 70% of my flights are intercontinental and international flights, which last no less than 8 hours. Over the past 10 years, I have gained some experience about traveling, and how to travel most comfortably, which I’d like to share with you.
Many people think that flying business class is a waste of money or it’s persons’ desire to be seen as rich. I thought the same some years ago, because business class rates are at least 3-fold (depending on the carrier) higher than prices for economy class tickets.
I remember the first time I flew business class. I had collected enough miles to fly and used them. After that experience and until now, I fly only business class on intercontinental flights, and sometimes on short flights as well.
What could change my mind? Let’s look in detail at the many benefits of flying business class.
Business class on international and intercontinental flights
On long distance flights, the benefits of business class service are more evident. Mostly it’s reflected on facilities.
Business class seats
In business class cabin besides the chair there is a whole mini office to your order with touch screen monitor, comfortable easy-to-handle table, power outlet (110 V), USB and iPod ports, space for storing personal belongings, and a separate place for shoes.
You can transform your seat in different positions and also convert into a bed over 79 inches long and over 20.5 inches wide, and control the seat hardness individually. When you’re sitting, you can regulate the legs part. This is a huge benefit because you will experience no swollen legs and no discomfort of keeping the same position during the whole flight. The backrest of the seat can be reclined to any angle, so you won’t experience back pain after long flights. In some airplane seats have massage option as well.
With these seats, you can constantly change the position of your body to avoid aching limbs and stay in a comfortable condition. Besides it is possible to fall asleep or just take a nap. All that allows us to feel rested after a flight and have a relatively clear mind. This is very important, when a few hours after a long flight you have scheduled business meeting, or participation in any event. But even if you fly to go on vacation or you have plenty of time to relax after the flight before a working day, the flight in such conditions softens and makes your adaptation to the destination point less severe.
Some people may not care about what they eat during a flight, but when it comes to long-term presence on-board a plane, and there will be on-board dining for 3-4 times, it is important to eat healthily. Usually Business Class service on airplanes offer a restaurant a la carte menu, which has a limited selection of dishes, but almost everyone can find a meal which complies to his taste. Food is served on real plates with real silverware. Drinks are served in glass cups. A good selection of wines is offered.
What is important is that the flight attendants offer water, it is issued in bottles as well. In the air, the body gets quickly dehydrated, so you need to drink plenty of liquids.
Even if all of a sudden you are hungry between meals, the flight attendants can always find something good to eat to satisfy your hunger, which is very nice.
The airplane multimedia system, which is equipped with an individual touch screen (usually 16″), has a large selection of movies, cartoons, music, TV shows, etc. As I could note, this selection is the same for all the airplane classes.
Aircraft personnel always offers newspapers. It is also possible to observe on the monitor in real-time, where the airplane is flying and to look at flight performance.
I usually watch movies on my laptop, because the variety of movies in the aircraft entertainment system is not entirely new, it doesn’t always have the latest movies.
When you fly business class, you receive a comfort kit. This kit usually includes a dental kit, socks or slippers, facial and hand creams, earplugs, eye mask, and some seasonal stuff (for example, scarf). You can use everything after the flight, too.
When traveling for a long time, it is very important to take all of the essentials that you may need. When flying economy class, it took quite a lot of time to weigh luggage and distribute things in all my suitcases, bags and personal items. And, of course, it’s very uncomfortable when something you do not need while waiting at the airport and the flight, you carry due to the fact that the weight of checked luggage has reached the limit.
In business class flight, I do not particularly worry about my baggage being over the weight limit. Passengers are allowed to take 2 pieces of checked luggage 32 kg (70lbs) each, as well as take 2 carry-on 8 kg (17lbs) each, and one personal item. For me it’s enough.
I usually have 2 or 3 connecting flights when flying to distant destinations, so it is very handy when you get all the luggage in final destination. Another benefit of flying business class is that the business class passengers have priority of getting their luggage, so they do need to wait for it for a long time.
Check-in and boarding
This is not the most important advantage of the business class, but I think it is significant. On all intercontinental flights the number of passengers is typically more than 300 people. Waiting for boarding and movement of the line are tedious and long in time. It’s great that persons with disabilities and passengers with kids, as well as Business Class passengers are entitled to priority boarding.
Getting on the plane for Business class passengers happens quickly. And as soon as you get to your seat in the plane, you are offered soft drinks and some snacks if you want. I love it.
Waiting time before the flight
This is a very interesting topic, and I will reveal it in detail in another article. I can only say that waiting in the business lounge in addition to a comfortable stay allows passengers to have a little snack before the flight. This is important because a full meal on an airplane is only served after the ascent. This means that, including the time of boarding, taxi, taking off and raising aircraft to the desired height, it will take at least 1 hour and 20 minutes. By this time many passengers are hungry.
Speaking of flights with a duration of only a few hours, I can’t say for sure that the business-class benefits are as obvious as during long flights. Yes, of course, in business class you’ll have more comfortable seat, in comparison with the economy, and more personal space. Quality of food is good, and it is included in the ticket price. You don’t need to worry about luggage weight, and that your carry-on won’t have enough space on overhead compartments. The use of business lounge, priority boarding and baggage claim – all is included.
Certainly, travel is more comfortable. But the cost of such trip when compared to all the advantages is extremely high, so if you do not have extra money, my advice is to fly economy class on flights with a duration not more than 5-6 hours. The experience may not be worth the money it would cost to fly business class.
However, when it comes to long-haul flights, Business Class costs are justified. It is a golden mean between economy and first class. On short-haul flights it’s more wasting of money, rather than an advantage.
I often fly business class on short-haul flights because when buying a ticket, which includes, for example, a long flight, and two short, there is no possibility to choose different classes for each flight segment. You can choose only one class for all. But in this case, the business class airfare just seems much more reasonable if we compare with the price for one short flight.
On short distances, it’s more reasonable to fly economy class, it won’t seriously affect your health. However, flying business class on intercontinental flights has a long list of benefits, that’s why I highly recommend it to you. You’ll feel comfortable during your flight, your neck, back, arms and legs won’t ache, your stomach will be thankful for quality food, and after a flight, you’ll be more relaxed, less jetlagged and ready for new achievements.