Why business class?
At the start of our first trip report, our June 2017 trip to London & France, I remarked that that the reason why we traveled in business class would be for another post. Guess what? This is the post on why business class.
Airlines typically have three or four classes of service: First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy. As most airlines do not offer first class, business class has the more spacious seats at the front of the plane. Now why? Out of the many ideas and arguments I could give you, from the obvious of extra space, faster check-in or better quality food served onboard, these all miss the point. To me the reason why, comes down to two things: budget and choice.
We are strong believers in rewarding ourselves, so long as we have the funds to allow it. I hate consumer debt — this isn’t a finance blog, but to me anything outside of a mortgage, or car loan (not too many years) is to be avoided. As I mentioned in our 2018 trip planning update, I am heavily influenced by my grandparents and parents philosophy of money is to be saved to buy an item.
With that constant reminder in my head, every month we put funds aside for trips to make sure we have the ability to say “yes, let’s go there” when we take our vacation from our respective workplaces.
Okay, so let’s say you have the money to buy business class airfare, now what?
There are many things to factor into the choice of airline.
There is the hard product — the actual seat and space.
Next is service. Others may use the term, soft product. This is a more personal measure as a responsive cabin crew can mean different things to different people.
Another element of choice is any additional benefits from the flights, particularly frequent flyer points, and the obvious, does the flight take you to your destination?
And hiding within choice is comfort. Over the past years, started by ultra low cost airlines (Ryanair, Easyjet), and being copied throughout the industry, is the continuing decrease of space for an economy class seat. Here is my personal example:
Case Study: Air Canada Boeing 777 economy class
When first delivered in the 2000s, the economy section had 9 seats per row (either 18 or 18.5 inches wide seats), and most rows had around 32 inches of pitch (distance between rows). I remember a few transatlantic trips where having a window seat allowed me to have enough space during the flight. One occasion I had a 3 seat section to myself – bliss!
On our most recent trip in 2016, on a 777-200 boasting their new seating, we were greeted with 10 seats per row that scaled seat widths down to 17 inches and decreased pitch to 31 inches. What’s an inch? (Besides being 2.54cm…) For me it turns a seat with sufficient space for a transatlantic flight, into a subtle form of discomfort torture.
Of the times we have flown business class this will be the second time we have purposely chosen to purchase business class fares for the flight. The other times we have flown up front? That is a reason for a future post.
If you select Premium Economy or Business class seats, what’s your decision making process?