Is First Class Worth It When Flying? Here's What You Can Expect...

Is first class worth it when flying - Fckity bye - funny travel blog

Flying first class can mean the difference between getting all the wine your liver can process on an international flight V.S. getting all the judgmental eyebrow raises your sensitive soul can take when you ask your flight attendant for so much as an extra bag of stale cookies.

So, is first class worth it when flying?

Via scrubbing airline websites and my own personal experience, here’s what you can expect if you opt for a first class seat PLUS my commentary on if the perks are worth the extra few hundred (or thousand) dollars.

What Is a First Class Seat?

What makes up a first class seat on an airplane can vary from carrier to carrier. Be sure to check what first class entails on the airline you’re flying with before dipping into your retirement to enjoy the momentary euphoria of fellow passengers trying to figure out if you’re a celebrity when you walk up for priority boarding.

The range of common benefits you may get to enjoy when booking a first class seat include:

  • Seats with significantly more legroom over coach class
  • Fully reclinable seats
  • A private television
  • All-you-can-eat snacks and drinks (including alcoholic beverages)
  • Premium meal options
  • A desk area to do work
  • Complimentary WIFI access
  • A bathroom exclusive to first class passengers
  • Free and/or expanded video on demand options
  • Higher attentiveness from flight staff
  • Priority boarding
  • Pre-flight lounge access

Is First Class Flying Worth it When Considering Those Perks?

That's a subjective question and varies based on how great of a sale you find on first class seats. Based on my experience having flown first class and the average price hike you'll find with a first class seat versus a coach class seat, I have to say that the expense usually isn't justified.

In looking at the first class perks outlined above, I can’t help but notice that a lot of the benefits are things you can get in coach class on a growing number of reputable airlines.

Private televisions, all-you-can-eat snacks and drinks (excluding alcohol), complimentary WIFI, free video on demand, and an attentive flight staff are things I almost always enjoy on every flight I take, regardless of the class I'm seated in (discount airlines like Spirit are a notable exception to this claim as they'll charge extra for so much as a glance in your direction).

Even when airlines don’t have private TV’s, many now give you the ability to stream their online movie library directly to your own device (phone, tablet, etc.) at no cost (I recently enjoyed this perk on Alaska Air).

I'd say that the only two perks that really excite me about first class would be spacious, sometimes fully reclined seating and the endless stream of wine you can drink (if guzzling alcoholic beverages on flights isn’t a cherished past-time of yours, that perk probably won't do much for you).

Neither of those perks is worth up-charges ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars though and additional benefits unique to first class like exclusive bathrooms or desk space still don't add enough value to justify the price (my tray-table in coach-class can double as a workspace for the duration of my flight just fine). As far as first class toilets go, my bodily waste isn't particular as to which class of toilet it's flushed down.

I’ve also never had to stand in a line for longer than a couple of minutes for bathroom access on a plane so the better toilet to person ratio  in first class isn’t really a big sell either.

What About Business Class Seating?

Business class seat on an airplane

Business-class seating on airplanes is a type of arrangement that's in-between first class and coach class.

For example, you’ll get to board ahead of most of the plane but after first class passengers.

You may get a wider selection of snacks and beverages in business class but alcoholic drink limits may be imposed and full-blown meal options may not be up to par with the premium food-fare your slightly swankier first class compatriots get to drool over.

What you can definitely expect as a key business class advantage over first class is less of a heart attack when you look at your bank statement after you land. So, if you’re looking for some extra comfort and a little more space to work on your flight, business class (sometimes called premium or comfort class) could be a good way to achieve that and not break the bank.

What About Turbo-First Class?

Alright, no airline is selling a section of seating called "turbo-first class". I coined that myself (I’d better copyright that). What I mean when I use the term Turbo First Class© are those swanky airplane suites.

"Suites? Like hotel suites?"

Pretty much.

Original first class sections on planes are progressively being repurposed into business/premium class seating to expand their market.

In the wake of this, to introduce a new level of first class luxury, some airlines like Singapore Air have introduced first class suites on their planes for people who probably don’t know what it’s like to use PayDay Loans twice a week just to get by.

No judgment here. If you have the money and you want to feel like you’re in a hotel room on your 12-hour flight, go for it!

I mean look at this thing:

Singapore Air airplane suite photography

What is that!? I'll tell you what it is, two happy Caucasian models enjoying a room bigger than my apartment... On a plane. (Suites on a Plane... Not quite as catchy as "Snakes on a Plane" but it could work for my next screenplay if I can catch Samuel L. Jackson when his workload is light.)

Still, with suites costing over $20,000 in some cases, I can think of better ways to spend that kind of cash and am not sure the "is first class worth it" question would be a "yes" at that price no matter how rich you are.

Wrapping Up Is First Class Worth It When Flying?

In case my commentary throughout this post wasn’t a giveaway, I’m not a first class flying kind of guy. So my response to "is first class worth it" would be... Generally no.

I get that a lot of people manage to get discounted first class upgrades since airlines often have flash sales just before takeoff to get a few extra dollars out of unfilled first class seats (I even got upgraded to first class for free once). But unless the cost of upgrading is absolutely stunning - me, my small bag of cookies, plastic cup of red wine, and Netflix downloaded movies are happy sitting in coach.

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