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What is the difference between business class and 1st class

What is the difference between business class and 1st class

Old Oct 15th, 2005, 02:10 AM
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What is the difference between business class and 1st class

What really is the difference? Is there one. There has to be.

Just curious.
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 05:07 AM
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Not to make this overly complicated but I would say that sometimes the difference has more to do with the level of service.

For example, we are flying to and from Hawaii in First Class in December. One of the outbound segments on American DFW-HNL is on an aircraft which is generally configure for Business Class and Coach Class. But on this particular route, the usual "Business Class" section is "branded" as "First Class."

In other words, same seats in terms of width and pitch that one would get in Business Class but I would assume the service level might be higher since we are being charged First Class ticket prices.

I think on many flights there may not be enough of a difference between Business and First to warrant the exceptionally high difference in prices, especially when you can fly in some airline business class sections and get flat-bed seats, etc.
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 05:28 AM
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These days there are few if any domestic flights that offer both, it's one or the other.

On international flights, there are often both. First class has fewer seats, a higher service level (fewer people to every stewardess). Meals are usually served on real china with tablecloths and served in courses as it would be in a restaurant. Some airlines now provide special spa amenities in their airport lounges to First Class passengers only.

Business class has perhaps the same seats as First but more of them. Meals are not served in courses but all at once.
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 06:28 AM
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I've wondered about that for a long time, thanks tina for asking.
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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The distinction is becoming increasingly blurry, as 3-class airlines, especially those with both domestic and international routes, have to compete for business-class travelers with airlines that offer only one "premium" cabin. Some airlines, such as Continental, Virgin, and Air New Zealand, offer a business-class product (measured by cost, not name) that seeks to combine the amenities of traditional "first class" with business-class pricing. Those carriers that still offer all three classes (or sometimes four, by adding a "premium coach" product) are having to compete with those that don't, thus the bar is being raised in business class travel, while it's simultaneously being lowered in economy.

In the US, only a couple of "legacy" carriers still offer 3-class service on key routes, e.g., LAX-JFK; aside from those few routes it's 2-class service, typically "first" in front and coach in back. This is a US practice only; in the rest of the world 2-class service on "shorthaul" (meaning, less than 2000 miles or so) is the norm, with the front cabin being designated as business, not first.

The level of luxury is the general distinction on 3 (or 4) class services - wider seat/bed, more legroom, more doting service, better champagne, better food, access to nicer lounges on the ground or expedited services pre- and post-flight, things like that. PJs on overnight long-hauls.

Nuts, not pretzels.
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 08:10 AM
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In my experience, the biggest difference in business class is roomier seats that recline farther and have legrests that can be raised. The difference between this seat and a coach seat is HUGE. You also get (theoretically at least) better food, drink, and service, but it's the physical comfort that really makes it worthwhile.

I think the seats that recline all the way to make up a flat bed are only in first class. The food, drink, and service are another notch up, but these things do vary not only by airline, but by individual flight.

We recently flew first class to Europe and back on a mileage award. FC on American Airlines was a bit disappointing, to tell the truth, but we were supposedly on one of only three planes that had not been upgraded. (Thanks.)

On the other hand, we had a very deluxe first class flight from Paris to LA on Air Tahiti. French champagne, Russian caviar, down pillows and coverlets, excellent food and wine. FC as it should be!!

As for the lounges, those can vary a lot as well. I've been in lots of business class lounges where nothing was lacking -- can't even imagine what else they provided in the exclusive FC area. OTOH, I've been in FC lounges that were nothing more than a few seats in a separate area of the BC lounge. (I guess so you don't have to mix with those peasants in business class.)

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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 08:35 AM
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My experience between first and coach on a 777 was that on the way to London I sat in a great B class seat, comfy and good movie selection.
The return, 1st, was better in every way... better food, better service and a seat that basically turns into a bed.
Next time I will take 1st TO London and Business on the return.
Pop an Ambien and lay the bed flat and you are in London, rested and ready to go when you arrive!
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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The biggest difference is that many companies will allow you to expense a Business Class ticket but not a First Class seat.

That's why Continental has "Business First".
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