This is a debate which has been raging for years and will undoubtedly continue.
Those nice big, comfortable seats at the front of the plane always look terribly inviting, but how much are you really willing to pay out in order to travel in style?
A typical long haul business class fare can set you back literally thousands. For some people this is not an issue, particularly when someone else is paying. However, for the typical leisure traveller the cost can be literally prohibitive, especially if you are travelling in a family group. For the cost of a round trip upgrade for a family of four, you can check into a nice hotel for a couple of weeks and still have money left over for a rental car and outings. When opportunity cost comes into play, the other things you can do with that money clearly heavily outweigh 8 hours of relative comfort.
However, there are times when the pointy end of the plane definitely makes sense. I came across an obvious example of this last year, when I found myself in Tanzania and decided at the last minute to relocate to Florida for the winter. Due to the ongoing covid situation, I had no idea of what my next move would be or when I would eventually return to Europe. Clearly a one-way ticket was the only sensible option. However, a last minute one-way was pricing up at around $1,600 in economy.
This is where frequent flyer miles come in. I was able to book a one-way ticket for 75,000 American Airlines miles (about a third of my remaining stack) and minimal taxes. $1,600 of savings for the use of 75,000 miles is quite a good deal even at face value. Except that the mileage ticket was in Qatar Airways’ world beating private QSuites. This was an absolute no brainer and I spent the next 27 hours lounging in almost the almost empty business class cabins, eating my way through multiple courses and sampling some of the nicest wines and champagnes I have had for quite a while.
In conclusion, although economy class has been my traditional default option for air travel, there are often bargains to be had up front and if this is the case, there is often no reason not to go for it.
Do you think premium class travel is worth the price tag? Check out our Air travel discussion forum and share your opinion.