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What's The Difference Between Business And First?  
User currently offlineDeltaXNA From United States of America, joined Mar 2013, 201 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 5532 times:

What's are the differences between business and first class?

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRTFM From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 424 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 5492 times:

In short:

1. The name, and
2. Whatever the airline decides it wants to be different.

There is no real definition. As an example, look at VS. They have 'Upper Class'. Is it a First class product or a business class product? Well it's probably somewhere between the two. But only if you compare it to the competion - so say BA's First & Club, which are more aligned to the tradtional first & business class model. But many business class seats (esp with fully lie-flat seats) are now of the standard that many first class seats were years ago, and many airlines' premium economy products have almost moved into the space occupied by previous generations of business class seats.


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3585 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 5465 times:

Obviously it varies from airline to airline, but as an example on BA:

1st : Business (Club World)

No more than 14 passengers : Up to 72 passengers
Eat whenever you want : Eat when you are told
Rather exclusive lounge : Lounge for both Club passengers and frequent fliers in economy whose status gives
them lounge access


User currently offlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 2995 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 5329 times:
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Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 2):
Obviously it varies from airline to airline, but as an example on BA:

1st : Business (Club World)

No more than 14 passengers : Up to 72 passengers
Eat whenever you want : Eat when you are told
Rather exclusive lounge : Lounge for both Club passengers and frequent fliers in economy whose status gives
them lounge access

Oh and a rather hefty premium for that exclusive first ticket !


User currently offlineflyingalex From Germany, joined Jul 2010, 1016 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 5264 times:

The two biggest differences are the amount of available personal space per seat and the catering on board. For some airlines, the ground experience also differs greatly. And generally speaking, the FA to passenger ratio is significantly higher in First than in Business, which means you get more attention during the flight (more drinks refills, more personal service, etc.).

The bigger differentiator used to be that First was a flat bed, whereas J was reclining seat or an angled-flat seat. Now that most airlines have moved to flat beds in Business, this advantage of First has been lost.

At many airlines, First is suffering from the fact that Business has become so good.



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User currently offlinefinnishway From Finland, joined Jul 2012, 309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 5228 times:

Nowadays pretty much the price.

User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7532 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 5046 times:

The differences are numerous. Some our minor. Others are more significant. For example compare and contrast dining in BA F Class and BA J Class here:

http://www.britishairways.com/travel/first-dining/public/en_gb

http://www.britishairways.com/travel/cwinflightdining/public/en_gb

Down the left side of each of the above web pages is a listing of other parameters that you can compare.

One not listed by BA on this section of their web site is price! Elsewhere - see below - they list the total cost of an F Class fully flexible return ticket LHR-JFK-LHR as being typically about £10,200. A fully flexible J Class ticket would typically cost £6,600. This is more than it is possible to buy a non-flexible F Class ticket. When bought a month in advance of travel the price of such a ticket might be as low as £6,200. The equivalent, non-flexible J Class ticket might cost 'only' around £2,500.

All the above pricing data is taken from the BA web site on 14 April for outward and return travel in the week commencing 13 May.


User currently offlineflyingalex From Germany, joined Jul 2010, 1016 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 5012 times:

One further difference: First earns significantly more frequent flier miles (and status miles/points) than Business.

And costs a lot more miles/points to redeem an award into, too!



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User currently offlineby738 From Tonga, joined Sep 2000, 2317 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 5012 times:

For BA, my experience on both are that First offers
Nicer new cabin in New First
More space on board
Much higher cabin crew ratio and overtly more customer service from crew
Much nicer lounges ie LHR JFK
Priority with delay issues/rebooking
Nicer check-in experience at LHR
You First helpline and concierge
Food offering, 5-6 course meal
Wine selection
Onboard experience, turn down service and bed making , nicer quilt

Barely just worth it at standard prices, but definitely worth it at sale/discount/airmile charges.


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3585 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 4800 times:

Another difference is:

When an organisation wants an A list star to visit them, the star demands that a 1st class ticket is included in the deal, not a business ticket.


User currently offlineUnited727 From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 401 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 4721 times:

In the US now, at least when flying domestically (not specific transcon flights), there is generally no difference when flying NB equipment. Strictly the difference in cost between the two services online when purchasing. With WB service in the upper 50 here being rare these days, here in the US at least, its very unusual to find a three class equipped a/c anymore, thus business and first are the same product. International is a whole different beast in the US then what I described here, generally following the differences as stated in the earlier above posts from those across the pond.


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User currently offlinetrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 4508 times:

There's another, more fundamental difference - privacy. First class offers a considerably more exclusive and private experience than Business class and that is one of the principal reasons the rich and famous prefer to fly in First. For example on BA First is in the nose section of the 777 and 747 aircraft which feature this class of travel with Business (Club World) just aft in 777s and most 747s (the Jumbos also have Club on the Upper Deck while some (the mid-J Jumbos) have the main deck Club seating aft of World Traveller Plus). The effect of this is that in most instances the general passenger body does not pass through First - thereby enhancing the exclusivity - but do go through at least part of Club. Of course the extent of this varies with airlines and many nowadays find the additional cost of differentiating the classes difficult to justify, which is why only a select group of airlines and routes feature First class nowadays. Airlines like VS have instead positioned their premium product (Upper Class in the VS case) in between First and Business.

Trintocan.



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User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4412 times:

Quoting DeltaXNA (Thread starter):
What's are the differences between business and first class?

Most important feature (for some) - more toilets than passengers. On intercontinental flights, in Y you might get 40 pax per toilet. In J 10 pax per toilet. In F you may get 4 but the cabin is typically not full. Have you noticed that 30 minutes before landing everybody wants to go to the toilet? At least in First you can, unless of course the Captain has popped out for a quick pee.  


User currently offlineinfinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 569 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 4407 times:

I think SQ really blurred the line between Business and First with their 1-2-1 configuration Business Class seat which you can pull down to get a real mattress. It probably cannibalised their First Class product which looks like a slightly classier version. This was probably why they had to come up with something like the Suites on the A380.

But its not just SQ.. Across the board, I don't think in this day there is broad distinction in hardware between the two configurations.

And as some have pointed out, the terms are used interchangably and most airlines operate 2-class configurations across most of their network.

The soft product is probably the best differentiating factor. In Business with SQ you'd get a 3 course meal but 7 in First. Also the crew seem to have a different orientation. I always felt them methodological and efficient but less personal in Business but a lot more personalised in First. But with that said I've only take First once


User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4000 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4385 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

On Lufthansa, an entire terminal with day beds that beat sleeping in any plane, and personal offices, very appreciated features on long connections (I could spend a full work day in there, in fact I have). Being driven to the plane isn't half bad either.

Onboard, better privacy, slightly more food options and more attentive service (not that it is bad in business, mind you).

Quoting trintocan (Reply 11):
First class offers a considerably more exclusive and private experience than Business class and that is one of the principal reasons the rich and famous prefer to fly in First.

On the other hand when everyone boards through L1, you're the only passenger in the cabin and you made the miscalculation of showing up too early while boarding is still in progress, you get a lot of "who the hell are you" looks.



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User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4385 times:

Quoting infinit (Reply 13):
but a lot more personalised in First.

Agreed. In the first cabin this is to be expected simply because of the better crew to passenger ratio. While on a flight with few First passengers there may be a possibility to "share" crew between First and Business, after a certain number that will have a deleterious effect in the first class cabin.

SQ is a bit unique because it generally does not allow upgrades from Business to First. If you read the blurb is does suggest that upgrades are possible but in the very small print is says that only fares purchased in certain fare classes are upgradeable and all of the stated classes are in Economy and double upgrades are not permitted. Misleading advertising or what?


User currently offlinegasman From New Zealand, joined Mar 2004, 862 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 5 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4261 times:

Quoting infinit (Reply 13):
I think SQ really blurred the line between Business and First with their 1-2-1 configuration Business Class seat which you can pull down to get a real mattress. It probably cannibalised their First Class product which looks like a slightly classier version. This was probably why they had to come up with something like the Suites on the A380.

I recently flew AKL-AMS on SQ, flying first AKL-SIN and Business Sin-AMS. The F Class product on the 77W is quite noticeable better than J - much more space to put your feet in F, a noticeably more comfortable seat and a much larger IFE screen. The food and beverages are on order of magnitude superior in F also - Krug champagne, Lobster etc.etc.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 15):
SQ is a bit unique because it generally does not allow upgrades from Business to First

They let me do it, both ways AKL-SIN. All I did was book "business class" on-line, then used Kris Flyer points to upgrade. Painless.


User currently offlineinfinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 569 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4257 times:

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 15):
SQ is a bit unique because it generally does not allow upgrades from Business to First. If you read the blurb is does suggest that upgrades are possible but in the very small print is says that only fares purchased in certain fare classes are upgradeable and all of the stated classes are in Economy and double upgrades are not permitted. Misleading advertising or what?
Quoting gasman (Reply 16):
They let me do it, both ways AKL-SIN. All I did was book "business class" on-line, then used Kris Flyer points to upgrade. Painless.

I think what Quokkas is referring to is upgrades from Business to Suites.

This is where SQ made a marketing mistake in my opinion. On the 777 like SIN-AKL, they use their First Class product i.e. The Diamond Plus seat. A year after introducing this product they launched the Suites for their in-coming A380 fleet in 2007. They marketed it as a "Class Beyond First", charging 20% more on average over their usual First Class and not allowing upgrades even on their own Krisflyer program. Essentially they marketed it as a new premium product- Business >> First >> Suites. They created a new fare code R for Suites reservations

The first problem with this is depending on the fleet, it would either feature First or the Suites, not both. And also there isn't a difference in the soft product between the two. By marketing it as a Class Beyond First, it would need to have a differentiating factor, setting the expectations bar higher.

Essentially, people saw it as a First Class product- not a class beyond. SQ finally realised this three years ago and allowed the Suites to be sold on F, and P fare classes. They also began to allow redemptions and upgrades albeit with certain restrictions.

I cannot verify this but I heard that the Suites are too costly to be sold as a standard First Class product as they are now (with redemption bookings etc) and they may get rid of it on their newer A380s. I also heard they're working on developing a whole new First Class product. Business is likely to stay the same or feature minor improvements.

For visual reference:

Business Class Product the "Diamond" seat

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sunandan Subramaniam



First Class Product "Diamond Plus"

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alberto Sanarlitano



Suites (First Class on the A380)

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Christian Waser



User currently offlinespacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4080 times:

Privacy is a really big deal, not just on the plane but throughout the entire process. I just flew ANA business for the first time and I don't think I ever even saw most of the first class passengers. They are kept entirely separate from the riff-raff (including business class passengers) from the moment they arrive at the airport. They not only have their own check-in desk, but it's actually in a fully enclosed room with a door so that you can't see in. I can't say I'm sure how they handle security, but I would bet that at the major Japanese airports, at least, there is probably a separate security line. There are definitely separate post-security lounges, and separate boarding procedures. The first class cabin of the airplane is kept closed even during boarding.

This is the big reason why celebrities and VIP's want to fly first class and it's the really big reason why first class even still exists. You're paying extra for privacy, not really that much better service. In business class, while the seats may be nice, the F/A to passenger ratio still very high and the food almost as good (depending on the airline, but definitely true on ANA), you've got much less privacy from the economy class passengers. They check in with you side by side, they're in line with you at security, they're next to you in line at the gate, they literally *all* pass right by you on the airplane as they make their way to their seats, etc. This is no problem for the intended business class market, but imagine what a nightmare it would be if you were a big celebrity or otherwise recognizable person. You literally would not have a moment's peace.

In terms of the service level and hard product, ANA does offer sky suites in FC that are a bit more luxurious and again much more private than the business cabin, but the amount of actual personal space isn't *that* much different. It's just a different layout and materials, which are much more utilitarian in business class. I don't think the on-board service level is much different at all, and frankly I'm not sure how it could be any better than their business class. In business, you get basically constant attention and the F/A's are always "hovering" in the aisles just in case anyone needs anything. You can order anything you want off their menu at any time.

You do get an amenity kit in first and free pajamas. But mostly it's about the privacy.



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