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wehearttravel Feb 23rd, 2007 10:55 AM

Difference between Business & First?
Hi everyone! I'm in the process of purchasing my RT international flight and have heard from family that I should consider traveling 1st class int'ly (space and service - I understand there is a high price for this luxury), but I was wondering what the difference was between business class and first class?

rkkwan Feb 23rd, 2007 11:03 AM

One is space. Most major airlines' international first class has flat and horizontal beds that are 21" or more wide. They are often called a "suite" as you usually have complete privacy. Might not be the best if you're traveling with someone, though on some airlines, there's enough room for two to sit face-to-face inside your suite, and you can eat together.

Business class is often a "lie-flat" bed that's not horizontal to the floor. Some people call them the sliding boards. Or they are often narrow (19-20"), or have strange configurations. Half of British Airways Club World seats face backwards; and Air Canada, Virgin, Air NewZealand has wishbone design.

And you usually get a bigger screen, better food, some airlines give you nice pajamas. Some airlines have special lounges at their hubs specifically for FC customers only. Some give you complimentary car/limo ride from the city to airport. And of course you get more FF miles and elite-qualifying miles/points.

Anyways, that's just the general stuff. Service and configuration vary airline to airline quite a bit.

wally34949 Feb 23rd, 2007 11:03 AM

It really does vary from airline to airline. British Airways has one of the highest rated business class seats.

Generally, Free alcohol in Business Class and better food.

This link will let you know if you get a flat bed or a reclining seat.

dfr4848 Feb 23rd, 2007 12:05 PM

Besides the above comments, some airlines such as CO and DL have combined the two into what they call BusinessFirst or BusinessElite, etc. It's touted as being in between first and business, with more room, services, better food & IFE, etc than business but not as nice as first. As expected, the cost is often (but not always) more than straight business class but not as high as first.

As also mentioned above, the difference really does vary between airlines. Most airlines' web site give fairly detailed descriptions of the differences in service before, during and after a flight between first and business.

wehearttravel Feb 23rd, 2007 03:33 PM

Thanks for the info. This will definitely help.

rkkwan Feb 23rd, 2007 05:01 PM

When CO introduced BusinessFirst around 8-9 years ago, it was indeed better than most airlines' business class. But now, most have caught up and passed CO's offering. It's still very comfortable with wide seats and good service, but it doesn't have a lie-flat product that many covet.

Similar situation over at DL, though it is now starting to install new Business Elite seats on its fleet.

DJE Feb 23rd, 2007 05:50 PM

Generally I travel business class international but have also had the pleasure of flying first class twice on a couple of flights from London to South Africa.

There is a definite difference ( at least on SA Airways ) between first and business class ( which is also highly rated ) A very spacious FC cabin with wonderful service, food and ammenities and as others have mentioned a true flat bed seat. Enjoyed lounging around in the pajamas supplied and slept well in the cozy bed which was made up with fresh linens and duvet. Served a great made to order breakfast in the morning before arrival in S.A. I assume most other airlines would offer similar cabin configurations and service etc. in FC.

Also superior lounges and service for FC passengers and usually separate from business class.

Fortunately was able to use points to acquire this seat as it would be ridiculously exorbitant to pay for and not something I would be able to justify for the difference between the two classes.

In general I have found most business class cabins to be quite comfortable offering a good quality product.

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