First Class versus Business Class 2012
International visitors to Australia often marvel at our willingness to travel for so many hours to see the world. For us, a 20 plus hour plane trip is par for the course. Over the years I’ve had some terrific tips and hints I’ve adopted to make my travelling hours more pleasant. Of course the quickest and easiest way to make your flight comfortable is to upgrade to Business Class or First Class. But you’ll want to make sure you get the most for your additional dollars.
You want the best body
I own a Porsche, so I’m used to travelling in a fabulous vehicle. I also select to travel in the best aircraft on offer. My choice is the A380 Airbus for both Business and First Class. Second choice is the 747-400 Series. These planes will give you best value for money in terms of comfort and configuration. If you can elect to fly this way – why wouldn’t you?
Location, location, location
Where you sit is all-important and I always visit the airline’s website at the time of booking to specifically select my seat – they all have seating plans. If you’re travelling First Class, chances are you will always have a fabulous seat, but make sure you are not in the last rows as you are less likely to get your first choice of meal.
For Business class, if you’re travelling on the 747-400, upstairs is best for a number of reasons, but for me it’s because there are no screaming babies (they are downstairs where the fixed cots and basinets are located). When I’m on the A380, I like the rows in the middle of the seating plan rows 12-15. Seats near the bathroom or galleys should be avoided, and I’m not a big fan of bulkhead seats due to limited storage space for magazines, books and my glasses case.
There is an amazing website run by Trip Advisor which shows every configuration of every aircraft and airline which is a must-see – www.seatguru.com. It colour codes the best seats in green, so once you know your flight number, jump onto Seat Guru and find the seat you deserve (even if you’re travelling economy!). It is also available as an app which you can download for free.
First or business?
Business class seats in the A380 are flat on Qantas and Singapore Airlines which makes them as good as the first class seats on a 747. So without paying for a first class seat, you’re actually getting almost the same seat on an A380. But once again, you need to go online and check. For instance, Lufthansa introduced an A380 service out of Asia, but their seating configuration does not allow for a flat bed in business class. If you find the airline website confusing, or have any doubt, call the airline and ask the question directly.
Where possible, avoid US Airlines for international travel to the USA on the grounds of configuration and service, they are simply inferior on both counts. It’s also worth considering Virgin Australia for travel from Australia’s East Coast to US West Coast – the business class seats are flat and the service is truly first class.
However if you want the best, there is nothing like First Class – even if it’s just for a special occasion. In my opinion, Singapore continues to be the best airline in First Class, but Qantas First Class to the USA is fabulous too. Emirate’s’ cabins are definitely the most glamorous, but based on experience so far, the service and attention on Singapore Airlines and Qantas beats them hands down.
I hope that gives you some useful tips, and I’m looking forward to seeing your comments and additions in the comment stream. Please share your experiences.
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