The answer is yes – and no. First of all, let’s tackle terminology. Economy is the cheapest fare, then there’s business, and finally first class. The gap between business and first class may not be huge, depending on the airline, but there’s a chasm between economy and first class.
Is flying first class for you?
Several things influence the answer: how far are you flying, business or pleasure, do you have time to deal with jet lag or will you need to hit the ground running?
Economy class air travel involves getting people from A to B as cheaply as possible, while first class flights do the same journey in luxury and comfort. Economy has a shuttle bus, seats that recline six inches, and the debate around aisle, middle or window seats – whichever you choose, you can assume both other seats in your row will be filled. On a tight budget, none of this may matter as much as getting the best deal on your flight.
A first-class ticket could get you chauffeured to the plane in a luxury vehicle, following access to a lounge with free champagne, snacks and nibbles; massage therapists are often on tap too. First class cabins have fully reclining seats or actual beds with bedding, shower cubicles, gourmet meals from Michelin-starred chefs and goody bags of designer toiletries and trinkets.
Who benefits from first class flight?
But it’s not just about the luxe aspects of your flight:
- If you have a disability or are travelling with children, the extra room, extra service and the ability to personalise your flight experience may make the difference between hours of pain and misery and a period of calm and contentment, making first-class worth it.
- If it’s the flight of a lifetime, taking every opportunity to enjoy each moment might make paying for first class the right answer.
- For business people, networking with other high net worth individuals in the first class lounge is advantageous, and being able to work during the flight or relax completely and sleep well can make the difference between doing a great job when they land, and feeling like a jet-lagged mess.
One final consideration – if you like the idea of a luxury flight, but aren’t sure if you can afford it, shop around! There are just as many bargains in first class as there are in economy and you might be pleasantly surprised.