nyone that frequently travels can tell you that a business-class seat cannot guarantee you a better flight: An airline that upgrades its products might have a few differences, and charge the same price for each whether it is new or old. When you’re planning a business flight you should research before the flight to find out more about what you’ll be experiencing.
Even on domestic routes – I fly business class.
Why – you may ask? Because once you go business class, you never go back!
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your business flight, from one frequent traveler to another:
Think about the new seating and Arrangement
Business class seats can be different forms, sizes and arrangements. Fully lie-flat seats, angled lie-flat seats, older-styled business seats and standard economy seating with extra leg space. Even business class rows in the same plane may have different spaces. From one airline to the next, you’ll experience a difference business class seating set up, so do not get too carried away in the details.
A few airlines that offer lie-flat seating are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, United Airlines, South African Airways, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic (my personal favorite)
In terms of domestic travel, Virgin Australia is my number one pick when it comes to business class seating.
Many other airlines have business class seating that is different depending on the destination routes and aircraft, so it is important to research. You will only find fully lie flat seating in first class cabins, which are non existent on domestic flights.
The best option in business class is 1-2-1 it gives you aisle access and provides well for single passengers and couples. When you decide the airline and aircraft that you want to take then check the seating arrangement map so that you can figure out where you would like to sit. Most airlines will let you choose a seat at the time you are booking your flight.
You CAN afford it
If your company only allows certain people to fly in a given class, you can get an upgrade by checking for advance-purchase and nonrefundable coach fares. Using frequent flyer miles to upgrade to a better class can be tough and you might pay more fees.
You can sign up for alerts on a few different websites that can track business-class specials and find promotions in the summer when business travel is slower. Fares are usually based on things like demand and competition, instead of the actual products.
Here are my top 3 tips for business class affordability:
- If you own your business (like me) do not even worry about the cost as you can write it off as a tax expense.
- Last minute business class bookings can mean a bargain.
- Its a cliche, but always ask if you can “be upgraded”, especially on domestic routes. Instead of simply asking a flight attendant last minute, be prepared and read this tips for being upgraded.
I found this video amusing (although it does have some great strategies!)
Before your flight you should check the reviews for the airline that you are using. There are websites available that offer trip reports with photos of business and first class airlines.
This site has some great information for long-haul reviews in business class seating.
When you arrive at the airport, a business class passenger can use the business check-in desks which will help keep your waiting time to a minimum. Most airports will have a fast-track security lane that is designated for premium passengers. Look into your lounge access opportunities, the airline’s best lounges are usually at home airports or major hubs. Some airlines have spas for their business class passengers in certain airports.
This is the biggest mistake I see first time business class colleagues make – wasting in the domestic lines, and wasting time when you’ve paid for convenience!
Most airlines have a priority boarding section for premium passengers so that you can board at your own convenience. When you board the plane and find your seat then you can get familiar with your seat controls and the entertainment systems. Noise cancelling headphones usually come standard inside the business class cabins. You can expect excellent service in larger airlines but try not to overdo it on caffeine, snacks or alcohol.
Free Chauffeur Services
Another thing you may not realize – did you know that in your ticket price (most of the time) a chauffeur service is provided? Don’t worry, this was news to me after about 2 years of flying business class!
There are a lot of airlines that will provide business class ticket holders a free chauffeur service at their departure and arrival. You will have to book your car in advance, online or by phone, it depends on the airline that you use but this is definitely something to take advantage of.
The thing is: airlines wont openly advertise this (as it comes out of their profits) so you have to actively ask if this service is available.