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Is First Class Really Worth It?  
User currently offlineJMJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2673 times:

Checking up on prices not too long ago on BA from Montreal to London. Regular old econo class was around $450.00 Ok pretty good price. First class was ... way over $6000.00 dollars!! Are they nuts or what? No one's going to argue that first class, especially now that they have those pods, isn't much nicer than eco. but it just doesn't seem worth the difference in price. Does it really seem good bang for the buck to pay over TEN times the regular fare for bigger seats and champagne? I don't know. It's true I can't afford it but I'm not sure that I would fly first even if I could. What do you guys think? Worth it or overated?

39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineAF777 From Canada, joined Jun 1999, 223 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2527 times:

Flights from New York to London can run as much as $10,000! The only time I have flown First Class was on AIr France a few months ago. I flew Business to Paris. I found the food in First to not be much better than Business, and the service wasn't better either. The seat was fabulous! Any seat that reclines into a bed in worth alot of money, but it is really only useful on overnight flights. So I would thank that the extra cost is worth it if you you are traveling overnight and really need sleep (and you don't have a hotel booked to sleep in once you arrive). However, the airlines that offer two classes like Air Canada, Virgin, CO, etc seem to offer the better bang for the buck because the seats are great and the fares are lower.


User currently offlineTheCroupier From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2481 times:

I still stand behind the belief that "most" people flying Business or First ar NOT paying for the ticket out of their own pocket. It stands to reason that if they were, there would never be a coach seat available.

User currently offlineMit From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2436 times:

Comparing the $450 economy fare to the $6,000 first fare is not quite apples and apples. The first class fare requires no advance purchase and is fully refundable.

One-way fares tomorrow from ORD-LHR on BA are

$833 Economy (completely unrestricted)
$3410 Business
$5320 First

First class is now about 6X more expensive than coach, instead of 13X.

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2430 times:


You've hit the nail on the head. Not only are 85% of those sitting in First not paying the fare, those that ARE will most certainly not be paying the maximim, published fare.

I can get First Class with BA to Buenos Aires for GBP4055 rather than GBP7000+, which is BA's official fare.

When flying with my parents, we now fly First on BA's LHR-RUH service. The company pays absolutlely everything, like hell we could afford to pay for all four of us!! Let me tell you something, if you are a millionaire or whatever, BA's FIRST class is SIMPLY SUPERBLY FANTASTIC. Everything about flying First with BA is just great. The seats are great fun, the service is beautiful, basically it's heaven for a 19-year old. Especially if you know what Economy is like.

My only gripe would be that it is impossible to get a good view out of the window in the First cabin, and because the flights to Saudi are mostly nocturnal (I visit the flightdeck for sunset), I get a middle seat.

It's expensive but great fun to fly in!!

User currently offlineCPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4849 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2419 times:

I don't think I'll ever see the day that a good night's sleep is worth $6,000...unless of course someone else is paying  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

User currently offlineWatewate From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 2284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2410 times:

Even if I were to get a first class seat paid for by someone else, I'd downgrade to coach and keep the difference.

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2404 times:


A lot of people do this, although some Companies don't allow it-ours hands us the pre-paid tickets, so no chance.

User currently offlineSEVEN_FIFTY7 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 957 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2395 times:

Unless you're Bill Gates or Donny Trump, I think anyone who pays such exorbitant first class fares out of their pockets is just plain stupid. I mean, really. Can you take those seats home with you? Do you get a year's supply of that "finest" champagne sent to your address? I'm sorry, but even if I earned US$1 million a year, I still wouldn't squander part of it for a 8-12 hr transoceanic first class experience.

I think companies are just as stupid for spending so much on so many of their employees.

User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8326 posts, RR: 54
Reply 9, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2391 times:

I don't doubt that basically First Class is heaven to a 19 year old. I flew in F occasionally (and J quite often) back then when I started travelling because of music. It's obviously to be stomped on with both feet if someone else's paying the fare.

On the other hand, you can still get some sleep in Economy, yet even in a sleeper-type seat at six grand one way in First you still don't get the quality of sleep you'd get in your bed at home. After an eastbound trans Atlantic flight in Economy, it's probably the equivalent of me in my own bed having fitful sleep and maybe some indigestion and a car alarm going off outside once or twice then having to get up at 4.30 am to go to work instead of the normal time. After the same flight in First, I feel like I've slept mostly uninterrupted at home but for about two hours less than I needed. AND THIS DIFFERENCE IS WORTH SIX GRAND?! OF MY OWN MONEY?! You don't get there any faster and the view is just as good in a window seat.

Compare the difference between the fares (which are, lest we forget, on the same aircraft) with the cost of a night in the very hotel rooms for one night? Wouldn't you rather fly Economy and stay in a $1000 / night hotel for six nights or pay $6,000 for the flight and $40 a night for six nights in a fleapit?

fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6689 posts, RR: 54
Reply 10, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2379 times:

Well, I don't even know how first class looks like, it hasn't existed in my part of the world for decades.
But I assume that it is even more crazy than business class.
My company, in which we are roughly 100,000 employees, made a $13.1 billion profit last year. That's $131,000 profit per employee, so we could afford it. But we all - including the CEO - travel on economy class when possible.
It's completely out of proporsion to spend thousands of dollars on a little luxury, when we for much less can create so much greater, more enjoyable and more lasting "comfort".
Besides that it's more reasonable to pay the money as dividend to those pension funds etc. who risked their hard earned resources on our business.
For private travel I would never ever consider business class. Anyway, in my part of the world regional traffic with up to 737 size airliners becomes more and more "one class" and free seating independant on ticket restrictions and the ticket price you pay. Just like when you have a short travel on a bus or a train.
My $0.02, best regards, Preben Norholm

Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineJMJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2348 times:

You are right, Mit, that buying a ticket in coach for say tomorrow would vastly increase my ticket price while the first class price would be the same. Yet who would buy a ticket like that unless forced to by unforseen circumstances? My point was that if I wanted to go to London I could get a regular ticket for $520.40 Canadian but that same flight in first on the same dates was listed at $7381.40 Canadian (I just checked it now). I understand that the cheap ticket is non-refundable etc. but still. That's a huge difference! Egads.

User currently offlineFlyBoeing From United States of America, joined May 2000, 866 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2338 times:

Hey Preben:

Isn't business class travel deductible from taxes to a limited extent? I agree that the cost would be ludicrous if it were all borne by the company, but it isn't; not at least in the US.

Also, I was wondering if it would be profitable to run an airline that understood that there would be an average load factor of maybe 75% to 80%, and therefore reduced the number of seats accordingly in order to fill up the planes. Since each passenger gets a bigger seat, the airline could also charge 15% more and get away with it. It wouldn't exactly be like First Class, but it'd sure be a lot nicer than Coach. And it would make the Coach class cabin more profitable, at least by my calculations.

Of course my airline would also offer the First Class Cabin in order to indulge the few schmucks who WANT to pay $6,000 to go to London lying down...

User currently offlineContinentalFan From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2336 times:

I would figure the airlines make most of their money from the few suckers...er, people, who pay for a first class ticket.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8326 posts, RR: 54
Reply 14, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2325 times:

95% of First and 70% in Business are not paying for their own ticket (my own guess but it' s probaby close). Nearly all of them would rather be at home with the kids or girl/boyfriend or even in the office. And if any of the fare or any expense incurred in a business trip was deductable from a salaried business traveller or his/her wages or a liability on the individual's tax return, none of those people would be travelling.

fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineMit From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2310 times:

All everyone has said so far is that they're too poor to fly first class. You're all going on the assumption that the extra money spent on first class would be more satisfyingly spent on other things. It just depends how much money you have. There are a number of people (myself not included, sadly) who fly first class or even private jets because it is not a significant expense to them. If you had the money, you would feel the same way.

Before you start flaming me, think about this. Have you ever eaten in a restaurant? You probably spent $10, maybe $25, even $50 if it was a special occasion. Why, because it was particularly tasty, because the furniture was comfortable and the table setting was attractive, because someone else did all the work. It was worth the relatively small amount of money as a percentage of your income. To billions of people, that restaurant meal is an unthinkable luxury. They could eat for weeks on that amount of money; they could buy a radio or a goat. That money could have a significant impact on their life beyond comfort and convenience. For us, that $10 or $20 wasn't much missed because we ate out.

It's all relative.

User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 42
Reply 16, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2307 times:

As a replacement seat for a flight that's cancelled or delayed, YES! Oh my, the food was good and I could actually relax in the seat! This was on a US 734.


Up, up and away!
User currently offlineJ_hallgren From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1507 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days ago) and read 2286 times:

I have never flown FC, but was allowed to sit up there twice on domestic flights when it was empty and I was stuck in cramped seat. The F/A's had pity on me as I am 6'-9" and they knew I was uncomfortable. I got no extra service. Just the seat. Fine with me!

If I was to pay $6000 for a seat, there better be a supermodel type of female in it willing to "get aquainted"....!!

COBOL - Not a dead language yet!
User currently offlineBigo747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days ago) and read 2278 times:

Don't forget all the people who are just there because of upgrades. My mom flies first all the time but only because her AA platinum status lets her upgrade a full fare coach ticket to an available first class seat.

User currently offlineIndianGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days ago) and read 2276 times:

I personally dont think that First Class is worth it.

And i am talking from the financial aspect. Business Class is decent enough. Most airlines offer 40"+, and most offer 130* recline which is more than ok considering the enromous price difference. Most airlines have similar food service in both F and J Class, so its ok.

I think if the journey's are less than 2.5 hrs then Y class is the best option, and for anything more than that J class would be perfect.

User currently offlineCarioca Canuck From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2269 times:

I've paid a fare for "J" once......bought an FF award ticket once with points....and used upgrade coupons 4 times.

Is it "worth" it from a financial standpoint ? That depends on the comfort afforded by that particular airlines "Y" section.

If it's a 10+ hour flight then it's the only way to go.

All other trips are dependant on the factor I mentioned above.

User currently offlineWISHIHADALIFE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2268 times:

If you're a snob it is well worth it.

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2257 times:

Whilst there is a trend for Companies to stop paying First Class tickets for the employee and his entourage (the wife and kids), the vast majority of major companies (British American Tobacco, Shell, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, SmithKline Beetcham etc.) still pay for their top directors to fly in First, whatever that (Minimal) cost to them is.

They always have, they will always will. Many of you will not understand it, some of you will, but at the corporate level, there are certain courtisies you are obliged to pay your top employees, which have worked with the company for considerable time (15years).

Paying them to fly in First is just ONE of many such perks top directors will get, and it is a reward for him/her for working his way up the ranks, and helping to make the company successful. That's how it works, and none of you would complain if it was paid for you, trust me.

Of course if you are one of the few that are paying yourself, then you have so much money that GBP6000 really is expendable multiple times. Note the following people I know have flown BA First: The Spice Girls, Lady Diana, Prince William, U2, Saudi princes (100's...), Lady Thatcher (she deserves First for life), Major, Blair etc.

All of the House of Lords are given First class on BA for life.

Not worth it for us, as we can't afford it, but damn worth it if you can.

User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1840 posts, RR: 14
Reply 23, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2246 times:

Also, you've got to consider that many large companies such as the ones described by Capt.Picard above (Shell, PwC etc.) have accounts with British Airways and other large carriers.

It basically works like this - large company says to BA - we'll buy (for example) 2500 tickets from you for the year with a certain percentage first/biz/econ. and then BA says fine, and they haggle over the price.

Therefore, becuase BA are then garunteed custom, they don't charge the full fares.

User currently offlineAmir From Syria, joined Dec 1999, 1254 posts, RR: 11
Reply 24, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2242 times:

i just posted something on another topic but ig goes inline with this issue:

the question of F/Cl being worth it or not can't be determined by a analytical job of comparing fares!

the guys who fly first calss or at elast the majority of them simply do this beacuse it is the best class avavilable. They want to be among the best! The airline that run three classes of service can in most cases only promote their first by promoting the product! so the price is not the issue with first class. All atempts to sell the F/Cl via the price have failed!

Regarding the question about business class. The majority of Business class pax are travelling on duty i.e. their companies are paying for the trip. Corporates especially the big ones have travel gudielines that stipulate on which routes which staff can travel at what class. On of the major items people keep forgetting about when arguing about bsuienss class is tha very important fact for business travelers: Conditions and flexibility wiht the fare! many companies do buy Business class not because they want their staff to be
relaxed and enjoy better service, no they simply do this beacuse almost all coach fares do have restrictions (especially the minimum stay clause) that will make it hard to meet. In europe you can see it very clearly. The diffrence in seat/service is marginal but the issue is restrictions and flexibility and very important also is the issue of seat availablity! you will always have a better chance to get a business class seat than a coach seat in a low booking class! this is what yield managmentis for!

Whevever you compare coach to Business class you have to do a logical comparision by taking the so called full iata coach (the one year fare) and compare it to business
the difference (also in Asia) is about 15-20 percent andin some regions even less than that. Given this fact, most people will opt for a business class seat rather than buying one year economy fare.


25 Aaer 777 : Yo fellow Y class travelers (I'm joking, I mostly travel F class but I'm not allowed to say for how much... or how little) A few facts about the mythi
26 JMJ : I guess for me the issue is one of value. I know that there are people who make more in one hour than many make in a year's worth of work. I know that
27 Post contains images JMJ : And Mit I have no desire to "flame" you
28 Zrs70 : A couple of years ago, the one way F fare LHR-JFK was about $5000. BUT, the one way PSA-LHR-JFK-LAX, in F, including Concorde, was $3500! What a trip!
29 Futurepilot : I feel so guilty..All this talk about flying first...Ill be the first to admit it, I flew first class last year from CLE-PHX on board a Continental 73
30 RayChuang : I think many people really misunderstand what First Class -is-. Sure, they are real expensive, but then, if you have an F boarding pass you have acces
31 Ryanb741 : We also need to consider what we mean by 'cost' here. Sure, in terms of direct cost then F class is expensive, but if we look at opportunity cost, the
32 Prebennorholm : FlyBoeing wrote: Hey Preben: Isn't business class travel deductible from taxes to a limited extent? I agree that the cost would be ludicrous if it wer
33 Ceilidh : I usually fly BA/SQ First on round-the-world (RTW) fares. Including a Concorde add on (LHR-JFK) a ticket CPT - LHR - MUC - EDI - MAN - LHR - JFK - SIN
34 Lewis : What if you get upgraded to first class? Do you only get the seat or also lounge and meal service? Do BA pilots have free tickets for FC (if seats ava
35 Englandair : AF777- Virgin have 3 classes, not 2. These are: -Upper Class -Premium Economy -Economy.
36 JAL : Any seats that recline into a bed is worth the bucks!!!!! The service in First Class are generally better than in Business or Economy!!!!
37 Capt.Picard : Lewis, BA pilots get ID90's, so that's Economy although they almost always get upgraded at check-in. On most airlines (BA and Emirates in my own exper
38 Caravelle : Yes! Me too - I would rather suffer in silence for a few hours to be able to spend more money when I get there. My wife and I are planning a week in B
39 Jocke08 : I have always flown economy-class, and I have always thought that it not human to travel for 10 hours so cramped, but I love flying sp that made up fo
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