Debunking 8 Popular Myths About Flying Business Class
Debunking 8 Popular Myths About Flying Business Class
You may have stared longingly at those large, spacious seats from a cramped position in economy, but how much do you really know about flying business class?
Here are some important truths to understand when it comes to this class of air travel:
1. Business Class is Just About Extra Leg Room
The reason why business travelers fly business class isn’t really about having a bit of extra room in their seat, or sipping champagne before takeoff. It’s actually more about making sure they arrive in their destination feeling refreshed and ready to work.
Traveling in economy class on an overnight flight means that you’ll likely not get a restful sleep. It’s pretty much impossible to arrive refreshed when you are crammed into a tiny seat. On the other hand, flying business class will allow you to lie down flat and get a full night of sleep during the flight.
This can be essential if you will be expected to jump right into work when you arrive. It’s much more likely to leave you feeling awake and clear-headed. Many companies know that if their most important salesperson is jetlagged during an important meeting, they may not be as prepared to close the deal. This can cost them a lot more than the price of that business class flight.
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2. Business Class is the Same as First Class
Many people use the terms “first class” and “business class” interchangeably. However, they are not actually the same thing. That said, the difference between first class and business class is not as significant as the difference between economy and the other classes.
First class is usually the domain of the super-rich. It offers all the perks of business class, with a thick layer of luxury overtop.
For example, first class usually costs around 2-5 times more than business class, on average. First class lounges are usually separate from business class and offer much more luxurious amenities. With some airlines, passengers are driven to their plane in a Mercedes or a Porsche. First class seats can sometimes resemble small apartments, with a lay-flat bed, a TV and more. Business class seats are often more compact.
Another difference is the food. The cuisine in business class is restaurant quality, but the food in first class is often prepared by a well-known chef and matches the quality of a Michelin-starred eatery. You’ll often be dining on champagne and caviar – and there might even be a bar where you can sit and chat with your fellow passengers.
3. It’s Much More Expensive than Economy
Business class seems quite exclusive and expensive, but there are often many deals available. When you’re considering the price of business class it’s important to consider all the other perks it comes with.
You’ll normally have access to a lounge in the airport with food and drink. This means you won’t be spending money on food or WiFi access while you wait for your flight. Depending on the airport you might also get other perks, such as massages, shoe polishing.
4. You’re Likely to Get Free Upgrades
There is a persistent myth out there that you will be more likely to get a free upgrade to Business Class if you don’t assign your seat when booking your ticket. Although this can work once in a blue moon, it’s not a good strategy.
There’s no reason why it will make you more likely for an upgrade. In fact, it might even make you more likely to get bumped if the flight has been oversold. If a flight is empty, there are usually not free upgrades to business class either.
In fact, the opposite is more likely to be the case. Airlines have been known to upgrade flyers when all seats are taken in economy and there is no other option. So, if you want to have a chance at a free upgrade you might want to search for flights that will likely be fully booked.
5. All Business Class Seats Are Lie-Flat Beds
If you’ve seen promotional photos of business class cabins before, you’ve probably been impressed by the seats that lie flat and turn into a bed. There’s nothing better for a long haul flight – you’ll be able to get a good sleep and arrive feeling refreshed.
However, not every business class section offers a lie-flat bed. In most cases the seats will recline considerably further than those in economy. However, true flat bed seats that are fully 180 degrees with the floor are rare and expensive. You’re more likely to see seats that are angled at 160-170 degrees from the floor.
Completely flat beds are usually only found on long haul routes of premium airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air Canada. As a general rule, if the flight is a long haul journey between two large cities that are major world financial centers (such as New York and Tokyo) it is more likely to offer completely flat beds.
6. You Can Use the Business Class Lounge Anytime
Typically, flying business class means you will have access to a special business class lounge. This is a place where you can enjoy complimentary drinks, snacks, magazines, newspapers and internet access. Some premium lounges even offer showers and quiet rooms where you can have a nap.
What many people don’t realize is that you typically only have access to a business class lounge at your departure airport, not upon arrival. So, you may not be able to enjoy the facilities while you are waiting for a connection or pickup at the end of your journey.
7. You Have to Be Loyal To One Frequent Flyer Program
These days, there is little advantage to using only one frequent flyer program. If you have a travel credit card you can earn extra points and miles to use on any alliance.
Travel guru Nomadic Matt explains that most people don’t travel frequently enough to see an advantage from being loyal to any particular frequent flyer program. Unless you are a road warrior or frequent business travel who flies more than 100,000 miles per year, you’ll be better off using multiple loyalty programs.
8. All Companies Fly Their Employees on Business Class
Many people believe that traveling for business means flying business class. However, this is not necessarily the case. Many companies will ask that their employees fly in economy class.
This is often due to a lack of budget. It can also be because the flight is not long enough to justify the extra expense, or because the company doesn’t want to be criticised for spending frivolously. Just because you’re traveling for work, don’t assume you’ll be flying business class.
Need some expert guidance on planning effective business travel, business class or not?
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