Oftentimes, people ask what are the biggest differences when flying in first class versus business on international flights. For some airlines, they are not as drastic, while other carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and Singapore Airlines are on a completely different level. How you arrive at the airport, the lounge you get free access to, and the seat, service, and food you get to devour on your flight are the main distinctions you will experience while flying in first class versus business (and vice-versa).
Before Airport Arrival
If you’re flying First Class on Lufthansa, El AI, Jet Airways, or SWISS, to name a few, you can arrange a complimentary chauffeur service to take you from your home or hotel to the airport. Some will even drive you right up to the airplane in a limousine.
Etihad, Oman Air, Qatar, Air Berlin, Emirates, Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Turkish Airlines all offer a free chauffeur service to and from the airport for those in Business and First Class, though not necessarily right up to the airplane, and not in a limousine (at least not for Business Class passengers).
At the Airport
Several carriers have separate lounges for First Class passengers that offer top-of-the-line multi-course cuisines, a fitness room, bars, a cigar bar, spa with free services, jacuzzi, barbershop, nail salon, individual relaxation rooms for naps and even a children’s play area.
The best first class airport lounges that have won several awards (and no wonder because you’re treating like a royal) are Emirates in Dubai, Qatar in Doha, Qantas in Sydney and Air France in Paris.
Many business class lounges offer conference rooms, bars, eating areas and workspaces for their passengers. Although not quite as luxurious as the first class lounges, they do provide the minimal amenities to make you feel more relaxed than you would if you didn’t have any lounge access at all.
One of the biggest differences in First Class versus Business Class is in the seat and service.
Airlines such as Singapore, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar have luxurious suites that offer you the utmost privacy you could ever experience while flying. It’s like living in a mini apartment in the sky! Some even have butler service, a personal flight attendant, a 10-course meal with caviar and drink pairings, a la carte that can be ordered at any time, in-flight chefs, showers, a sheepskin mattress, and more than enough seating space that converts into a fully-flat bed. You can even enjoy turndown service with high-end bedding and cozy pajamas that will force you to want to sleep.
Some airlines such as Air France give First Class passengers the option to dine with your companion. Your seat space will turn into a dining area, where you’ll have the ability to sit right across from your partner as the both of you wine and dine on meals prepared by one of the best chefs in the world.
And regardless of what airline you’re flying on, the service is impeccable!
Business class has smaller entertainment screens, smaller seats and less legroom. Plus, not all business class seats are lie-flat (although airlines are beginning to adopt and change their seats to be more comfortable), and do not feel very private. There are a few carriers that have installed sliding panels for passengers sitting next to one another, however not all can enjoy such privacy.
Airlines such as Emirates (as of late), United, KLM, and Korean Air to name a few have a 2-3-2 configuration, which means there’s always someone who will be stuck in the dreaded middle seat.
Unless you’re flying First Class using your miles, the biggest difference is, of course, the price tag. However, we can get you to your next international destination in Business or First Class for less! Send us an email to [email protected], and you can save between 30 and 72 percent on your next flight.