What is The Difference Between Economy and Business Class (and First Class)?
One of the most common questions I’m asked is: what’s the difference between Economy and Business Class?
What, exactly, do you get for your money?
After all, everyone’s on the same plane. How different can it be?
I understand this initial skepticism some people have. They want to know what they’re getting for their money. You want to know what to expect before you commit to traveling Business Class.
Because as the cliche goes: once you fly Business Class, there’s no going back…
It’s a big investment. But the reality is, the difference between Economy and Business Class is even bigger. It’s like trying to compare a Honda to a Bentley.
Both cars get you from A-to-B, but they are not the same; not even close.
The same applies when trying to compare Economy vs Business Class. You can’t.
Although in this article we’ll try our best to overview the main differences.
So you can choose which is best for you…
There’s also First Class to consider. If flying Business Class is like owning a Bentley, travelling First Class is like having a custom-built Bentley with your own private driver.
The difference between Business Class and First Class is also huge -- and depending on what you expect from your flight determines which is best for you. It’s an important decision you have to make, and what you choose may have a bigger impact on you than you might expect...
Why Business Class May Be Better For Your Health
Does any of this matter? Flying is flying, right?
No. How you fly does matter, and it has a bigger impact on your life than most people know.
Whenever we work with one of our concierge clients, we focus on three aspects:
Our clients are busy business owners and executives. They have work to do, calls to make and meetings to prepare for. Before the flight and during it, they need to work and recharge. Their Time is everything.
Maybe you can relate to this…
You need Access to things those flying economy do not get. From wifi and workspaces, to seats that transform into flat-beds so you get the sleep you need, you expect more from your journey.
No screaming kids. No cramped seats. No stuck in the middle of two large strangers.
But there’s also the most overlooked aspect of flying Business Class that people forget: your Health.
People aren’t designed to sit in a cramped seat for ten hours. This leads to Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism. The more you travel, the more prone you are to these issues.
So the difference between Economy and Business Class (and First Class) is greater than you expect.
In this article we’ll overview what these key differences are, so you can choose the best option for you.
A quick note before we dive in…
We won’t cover Premium Economy in this article. In most cases, Premium Economy is exactly the same as Economy (only with a very slightly larger seat).
Airlines may try and pass it off as a Business Class alternative, but trust me… it isn’t.
Economy is economy, whether it has the word ‘premium’ in front of it or not.
Simply put, flying Economy is about getting you from A to B. In the same way as catching the bus does, it gets you where you need to go. That’s it. Comfort isn’t a focus, and convenience certainly isn’t.
Here’s what you can expect...
Before The Flight
When travelling economy, your pre-flight experience is sub-par at best.
Depending on the airport, you can expect to wait at least an hour simply to check-in (and then another hour to get through security).
Once inside, you get access to almost all the airport has to offer.
The problem is, so does everyone else.
It’s crowded, and whether you plan to work or rest, finding a quiet area is almost impossible.
This is a huge consideration for when you fly, as this is where you’ll spend most of your time.
Economy seats are not ideal for a few reasons:
- Little legroom.
- Lack of width.
- Minimal recline.
- Pitched tight to the next seat.
This is one of the biggest differences between Economy and Business Class. Whether you need to work or recharge during your flight, both is near impossible when you fly economy.
Service & Entertainment
Although you often have your own TV Screen, it’s small and low-quality (compared to Business Class).
Most airlines also offer a reduced Entertainment Service, meaning less choice of movies, programs and music. The same applies to food and drink: you get it, but not as much (and it isn’t as good)
When you fly economy, it’s unlikely you’ll enjoy the experience.
But then again, entertainment isn’t what you pay for...
Economy IS NOT designed for business travel. Before the flight you don’t get access to private meeting rooms or business centres. And during the flight you have little workspace where you sit -- small table, no storage and rarely a charging point.
Additional facilities like wifi are often not available, and when they are you’ll have to pay extra (compared to Business Class, you also get less speed and function).
After The Flight
At the end of your flight, you face similar issues to when you began your journey: long lines at security.
There’s no post-flight service when you fly Economy. It’s designed for the budget traveller who needs to get from A to B. No extras and no luxury. If you want that, Business Class is what you need...
The difference between Economy and Business Class is vast. It’s in the name itself: designed for those traveling on business.
If you have work to do or a big meeting to prepare for, it’s the only option.
Although don’t think you have to be on Business to travel this way...
More people fly Business Class today, simply to enjoy the additional luxuries on offer. Travelling can be stressful, and the health benefits alone make it worthwhile (at the right price -- more on that later).
It’s an exceptional experience everyone should go through at least once in their life. \
It all begins the moment you arrive at the airport.
Before The Flight
The red-carpet treatment begins immediately. You get:
- Your own private check-in desk (no waiting).
- Fast-Tracked through security.
- Access to a Business Class Lounge.
Some airlines (such as Virgin Atlantic) even offer a Chauffeur Service, meaning no driving or worrying about where to park.
However, this only marks the beginning. Once inside the Business Class Lounge you get access to:
- Complimentary Snacks and Drinks (coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol)
- Fine dining options
- Business areas and private meeting rooms
- Access to free wifi, printing services and computer terminals
- Entertainment rooms (pool tables, TV lounges and gaming consoles)
- Lots of seating -- indoor and outdoor -- with spectacular runway views
- Spa Treatments (including grooming, massages and skincare)
- Luggage storage
- Private shower rooms
Each Business Class Lounge is different, but the above are staples in most.
Whether you want to work or rest before your flight, this is the place to be.
This is where the difference between Economy and Business Class becomes apparent.
In Economy, you’re placed next to someone else with little elbow room. In Business Class, you have your own seating area.
In Economy, you have little legroom and the seat barely reclines. In Business Class, you have ample legroom and your seat transforms into a fully-flat bed (so you can actually get some sleep).
In Economy, your seat is small and cramped. In Business Class it’s wide and luxurious.
One of the biggest reasons our Concierge Clients come to us is because they’re tired of trying to sleep on a flight, only to arrive with a crooked neck and aching back. Their time is everything, remember.
They have work to do. They have important meetings that await them.
They need a good night’s sleep, so they can arrive refreshed.
When you fly Business Class, this is what happens.
Service & Entertainment
Flying Business Class opens you up to better service throughout your flight:
- Complimentary (often, unlimited) Food, Snacks and Drink.
- Larger TVs that offer a wider selection of movies, programs and music.
- Travels Packs (with slippers, headphones, toiletries and more…)
- Dedicated flight attendants who are always on-hand.
Some planes (such as the Airbus A350-1000) even have a Bar Area.
This means you can get up, move around and enjoy a drink (or network with fellow passengers).
When you fly Business Class, the service on offer is not only better, but more comprehensive. It’s an enjoyable experience, which isn’t something you can say when you fly Economy.
Business Class is designed for business. Before the flight, inside the Business Class Lounge, you get access to computer terminals, free (and fast) wifi, printers, charging points and private meeting rooms.
It has everything you need for work, whatever tasks you may have.
There’s also ample reading materials, and staff on hand to get you what you need.
This continues on the flight itself, with:
- Free wifi (faster than what you get in economy)
- Charing points (for your laptop and phone)
- More space around your seat (tables, shelving and storage)
- Bar Areas (these often become a great place to network and have meetings)
From checking emails to getting your head down for an important report, Business Class is the only way to fly if you want to make the most of your time.
After The Flight
While everyone else waits upto 20 minutes to leave the plane, you get priority access to the airport.
This means you get through security quicker, and recover your bags before everyone else.
No waiting, and no wasting time.
Most airports also have Arrival Lounges, providing:
- Private Shower Rooms
- Luggage Storage
- Bar Areas and Meeting Rooms
- Business Facilities
- Spa Treatments (a post flight massages or a clean shave)
Whatever awaits you at your destination, you’ll arrive refreshed and energized from your flight.
For those who expect more from their travels, Business Class is the tier that makes the most sense.
Of course, if you desire greater luxury (and access to some of the finest facilities on the planet), you can always fly First Class. It’s a step up in price, but this is where travelling takes on a new form...
The pinnacle of travel. First Class has always been reserved for celebrities, successful business moguls and society’s elite. If the difference between economy and business class is vast, the difference between Business Class and First Class is just as big.
It’s luxury at its finest, often only a dream for most.
But with the right insight, First Class may not be out of your reach.
Although more on that later…
First, let’s peek into the First Class Experience.
Before The Flight
The red carpet treatment begins before you arrive at the airport, with chauffeur services on offer. Escorted to your own private check in area, flying First Class has a prestigious feel throughout.
The First Class lounge is also a step up from the Business Class one, providing private rooms and cabanas, and dedicated staff on-hand at all times.
From fine-dining options by award winning chefs, to some of the finest drinks selections you’ll ever see, the First Class Lounge is the place to be for luxury and comfort.
When you travel First Class, you don’t just get a seat… you get a suite.
Airlines spend millions out-shining one another, providing the greatest First Class Experience possible.
Each airline offers a unique experience, and it all begins in the seat / suite. From actual beds, large HD TVs, ensuite bathrooms and every luxury you can picture, travelling First Class is exactly that: First Class!
Service & Entertainment
When travelling First Class, dedicated staff are on-hand throughout your flight. Whatever you need, they will bring.
Eating in First Class is like dining in a Michelin starred restaurant (often, food is prepared from a world-renowned chef), and the drinks selection on offer is vast to say the least.
You get everything you would in Business Class, but with an added focus on luxury and prestige. It’s the celebrity treatment, where everyone’s treated like royalty.
As you would expect when you have your own private suite, you get access to everything you need. From wifi to charging points, and access to a phone, the dedicated staff are on-hand to get you what you need.
If you have business to attend to, First Class allows you to.
Although in all honesty, most people who travel First Class like to sit back and enjoy the experience.
After The Flight
When flying First Class, you’re privately escorted off the plane before everyone else and taken through a special Security Area.
Your luggage is brought to you.
A private car is arranged for you.
You get to enjoy a complimentary drink, meal and spa treatment in the arrivals’s lounge…
Your journey ends like it began: with the red carpet.
The Difference Between Economy and Business Class, and Business Class and First Class
As you now see, not all flights are the same.
If you simply need to get from A to B and do not care for any form of luxury, Economy will do.
But if you value your time and health, Business Class offers a significant upgrade.
The sticking point for most people, though... is price.
Take an average round trip flight between New York and London:
- For Economy you can expect to pay $800 - $1,100
- For Business Class, you’ll pay between $3,000 - $5,000
- And for First Class you’ll pay upward of $10,000
It’s a significant difference, and although you get a lot for your money, it doesn’t always make sense.
Which is why our clients come to us, here at Elite Flight Concierge …
We find the best deals for our concierge clients, whether they book in advance or have to plan a last-minute trip. We strive to save you upto 50% on any Business Class or First Class ticket.
Suddenly, the difference between Economy and Business Class isn’t as vast…
- Economy = $800 - $1,100
- Business Class = $1,500 - $2,500
- First Class = $5,000 - $6,000
Our mission is to make travelling Business Class and First Class more accessible.
The difference between Economy and Business Class is huge.
But the price doesn't have to be...
If you’re interested in seeing how much we can save you on your next journey, visit our Concierge Page.
(and if you’re not ready to book now, be sure to bookmark it for future)
Your Time and Health matters, so the next time you need to travel, keep this in mind. Price no longer has to be an excuse. With our help, we can ensure you fly Business Class or First Class without it severely affecting your bank account.