Low Cost Airlines vs Premium Airlines: How Flying Business Class Compares

If you flew in the 1960s, you were part of the Golden Age of travel.

Glamorous flight attendants, fine dining and passengers who arrived in suits and dresses. You didn’t just fly to get from A to B. You flew to be part of a special experience; one full of luxury and prestige.


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In the years since, flying has become less about experience, and more about price.

As greater numbers of people needed to travel, those finer touches began to vanish.

This spawned the rise of the “Budget Airline”...

Today, it’s sometimes hard to know the difference between low cost airlines vs premium airlines until it’s too late. Even when you fly Business Class, it can lead to an underwhelming experience. And the reason for that is, not all Business Class Tickets are the same…


Low Cost Airlines vs Premium Airlines:The Truth

Although many don’t, some people still care about HOW they fly.

If you’re on this site, chances are you’re one of them.

You care about your Time and Health. You don’t just want to get from A to B. You want to fly in comfort, experience some of the finer luxuries in life, and get access to things those in economy don’t get.

  • You have work to do, and meetings to prepare for.
  • You don’t want to suffer jet-lag or arrive with an aching back.
  • You want to actually get some sleep, not get seated in the middle of a loud family.

You are a Business Class Traveller!

Although maybe you too have felt underwhelmed by the experience at times...

If you have, chances are you’ve flown Business Class with an airline that doesn’t actually provide business class. Because these days, not all Business Class Tickets are the same (far from it).


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Depending on who you fly with, depends on the service you get. There are three types of airline:

  • Budget Airlines: these airlines focus on price over comfort. They include the likes of Norwegian Air, Finnair, Iberia and Swiss...
  • Traditional Airlines: these airlines are well established, do long-haul flights and offer above-standard service. They include the likes of American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines and Air France / KLM.
  • Luxury Airlines: these are the airlines that set today’s luxury standard. They include the likes of Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and British Airways.


Flying Business Class or First Class with a luxury airline like Emirates offers the sort of service you would have enjoyed during the Golden Age of flying.

Whereas if you fly Business Class with an airline like Norwegian Air, well… it IS NOT Business Class.

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The difference between Business Class on British Airways and a low cost carrier like Norwegian Airways


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Tough to compare... the flat bed of a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flight and a budget airline


You don’t need me to tell you that you get what you pay for.

If a deal seems too good to be true, it’s usually because it isn’t.

(unless you deal with us, of course. Although more on that later…)

The Golden Age of Flying Rises Again

The 60s may never return, but the Golden Age of flying may. There are airlines offering unique and luxurious experiences today, transforming how you travel into a memorable occasion.

But there are also many who only care about offering you the lowest price…

We’re here to help you appreciate the difference between low cost airlines vs premium airlines. Because once you know this, you’ll never get burned with a “so-called” Business Class ticket ever again.


The Budget Airline -- Where Business Class Goes to Die.

When you fly Business Class with an airline like Norwegian Air, the experience you get is similar to when you fly economy with established airlines such as British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.

It’s a mistake many people make, and almost always regret.

This is how it tends to go…

  • You see a low Business Class ticket on a price comparison site.
  • It’s A LOT lower than all the other business class tickets available.
  • So you purchase it because you figure “Business Class is Business Class...right?”

Wrong. These so-called business class tickets are usually the same as an economy ticket, with just a few additions thrown in. From start to finish, you’re left underwhelmed and uncomfortable.

By the time you reach your destination, you realise you didn’t get a good deal.

In fact, you feel like you’ve wasted a lot of money!


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This is what happens to countless people every day. They buy a Business Class ticket, expecting to get a Business Class experience. Totally unaware of what they’re actually getting for their money.

So let’s put the record straight...

This is what you can expect when you fly Business Class with a Budget Airline:

  • A slightly bigger seat with slightly more legroom (but one that does not lie flat)
  • Low quality food (often the same food as in economy, with just a few free drinks)
  • Next to no additional customer service (what everyone else in economy gets)
  • NO Business Class Lounge in the airport (at best, a reserved area near your gate)
  • No Fast-Track through security.
  • An older, outdated plane that lacks many of the features you expect these days.


When you fly Business Class with a budget airline, you’re basically purchasing a seat at the front of the plane. They offer priority boarding, and you will depart the plane before everyone else. But that’s about it.

The overall experience you get is similar to when you fly economy in a traditional airline (and not even close to a luxury one). It’s quite frankly not worth the extra investment.

If you plan to fly with a budget airline, you may as well fly economy and save as much money as you can.

Whereas if you wish to enjoy an actual Business Class experience, you need to look toward traditional airlines like these...


Business Class in Traditional Airlines -- Good But Not Great.

The difference between low cost airlines vs premium airlines is clear to see when you fly Business Class with airlines like KLM or Delta. Although they don’t compare to luxury airlines such as Etihad or Emirates, they do offer an actual Business Class Experience.


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Before your flight, you get the red-carpet treatment the moment you arrive:

  • Your own private check-in desk (no waiting).
  • Fast-Tracked through security.
  • Access to a Business Class Lounge.

The moment you enter The Business Class Lounge is when you truly realize the difference between a low cost airlines vs a premium airline. Rather than a reserved area with a few snacks, you get private access to a lounge full of luxury features.


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  • 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 differs, but the above are present in most airports like JFK and London Heathrow. They allow you to begin your journey in style, refreshed and relaxed ahead of your flight.


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Once you board the plane, you continue to see the difference between a low cost airlines vs premium airline. Again, every airline offers a different experience, but you can expect the following:

  • A spacious seat that fully reclines into a flat-bed.
  • 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.
  • Free wifi (faster than what you get in economy)
  • Charging 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)


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Whether you’re on a short or long-haul flight, you’ll arrive at your destination refreshed. Your time is precious, and time spent on the plane should be time used wisely -- either working, relaxing with some light entertainment or getting a solid night’s sleep.


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If you would like to get a greater insight into what it’s like travelling Business Class with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, you may like to read one of our comparison guides:


British Airways Business Class vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class -- London to New York


British Airways Business Class vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class -- New York to London


Inside these in-depth guides, we break down exactly what you get before your flight, during it and when you arrive in London and New York.

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When you fly with a traditional airline, your business class experience doesn’t end when your flight does.

Once you arrive at your destination, you depart the plane first, get fast-tracked through security and given access to an Arrivals Lounge -- where you receive more complimentary drinks, food and spa treatments.

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, you arrive refreshed and ready to enjoy your trip.

Of course, there is another tier up from all this…

If you want to enjoy the best the industry has to offer, and relive the Golden Age of Travel, there are a few airlines that push the boundaries to whole new levels...


Business Class in Luxury Airlines -- The Return of The Golden Age of Flying!

Luxury Airlines like Lufthansa, Emirates and British Airways are on a mission to bring back The Golden Age of Flying. When you fly Business Class with airlines like these, you experience a service that’s closer to First Class than Business class.


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Such luxury airlines often provide a complimentary chauffeur service, meaning your Business Class experience begins even before you arrive at the airport.

Once you do, the real red-carpet treatment is laid out...

  • Dedicated Check-in areas and staff on-hand
  • Fast-tracked through security via your own private ‘Business Class Wing’
  • Exclusive access to some of the finest Business Class Lounges in the world


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Inside, you get everything you would expect from a Business Class Lounge, although with a luxury airline everything is a little more grand and memorable.

  • Food prepared by award winning chefs…
  • A wide array of drinks and cocktails…
  • State of the art facilities, suitable for both business and leisure…
  • Entertainment lounges, areas and facilities…
  • Spa Treatments (some lounges even have gymnasiums and pools)...
  • On-hand staff committed to getting you what you need, when you need it.

Flying Business Class with a luxury airline like Emirates is as close to flying during the Golden Age as you can get these days. Although the real prestige doesn’t begin until you enter the plane.


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Once in the air, the luxury goes up yet another notch.

  • The seats are more spacious.
  • The food is better in every way.
  • The service on offer, First class.

In a bid to outdo one another, the likes of British Airways and Singapore Airlines constantly improve and reinvent their services. Many provide greater experiences than other airlines offer their First Class travellers, so each time you travel a new standard is set.

It truly is something everyone should strive to enjoy at least once in their life.

Although be warned, because once you fly this way there’s no turning back...


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Low Cost Airlines vs Premium Airlines -- an incomparable experience

Not all Business Class tickets are the same. Not even close!

If you fly Business Class with a low cost airline, you basically get the same service a traditional airline provides their economy travellers. Compared to the service you get with a traditional carrier, the customer service you come to expect with a Business Class is non-existent.

In fact, it’s downright poor! And when you combine this with the fact you’re travelling onboard an out-of-date plane sometimes older than you, the entire experience is uncomfortable and frustrating.

So, if you want to enjoy an actual Business Class experience, your only option is to fly either with a Traditional Airline or Luxury Carrier like Singapore or Etihad.

You get what you pay for, which is true in all walks of life…

It’s this truth that puts many people off travelling Business Class. Which is understandable, because a ticket costs under $1,000 with a budget airline, whereas they cost between $3,000 -- $10,000 with more traditional carriers.

It’s a significant difference. Although after reading this article, I hope you see why.

If you're primarily focussed on money, a budget airline may be what you need. But if you do fly with them, save your money and go economy (Because the business class upgrade is NOT worth it!)

Whereas if you want a true Business Class experience, you need to pay for it. But that isn’t to say you need to pay the full asking price, which is where we come in here at Elite Flight Concierge. We find the best deals for our concierge clients, saving you upto 50% on Business Class or First Class tickets.


Our mission is to make Business Class more affordable. Not by sacrificing quality, like budget airlines do. But by searching for the best deals possible, and by working with our exclusive partners.

This is why we do NOT book budget airlines. We want a top class experience for our clients, and budget airlines do not meet our requirements.

So, although we will save you A LOT of money, this IS NOT at the expense of a quality experience.

If you’re interested in seeing how we do this, visit our Concierge Page.

(and if you’re not ready to book now, be sure to bookmark it for future)

Whatever you do, stay clear of those budget airlines and there too good to be true business class offers. The difference between low cost airlines vs premium airlines is vast.

After reading this I hope you see why...


Elite Flight Concierge Offers the Lowest Prices on Business & First Class…guaranteed
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