September 13, 2017
Seven Differences between Economy and Business Class

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If you’ve never experienced international Business Class, I suspect you don’t really care what the experience is like. You’ve probably been flying Economy for years and are perfectly comfortable with the experience. I say this because that’s how I felt before my first Business Class flight to Zurich on Swiss Air years ago. Regardless of how many photos and videos you see of passengers in the forward cabin, it’s impossible to adequately convey the experience unless you try it yourself. That said, I’m going to give it a shot. Here’s seven differences between Economy and Business Class:

Airport Check-In

When you’re flying Economy, there’s always a long line to get your boarding pass and drop off your luggage. Even if you check-in for your flight at home and print your luggage tags yourself at the airport kiosk, you can still expect a wait.

International Business Class has its own dedicated check-in lane, and there’s at most a handful of people in line, but more often there’s no-one ahead of you. You don’t have to worry about navigating those annoying self-service kiosks since the agents tag your bags and give you your boarding pass.

Lufthansa Business Class


TSA Pre-Check is the best way to get expedited security when traveling through US airports. If you don’t have TSA Pre-Check, you’ll find that many (though not all) airports around the world have separate security lines for Business and First Class passengers. In addition, many (though not all) airports have separate immigration lanes when exiting their country. These dedicated lanes mean less waiting in line!


Lufthansa Business Class Lounge, Munich

In Economy, once you clear security you’re stuck in a packed airport terminal. When flying Business Class, you can avoid the crowds and head straight for the lounge. A good lounge will offer free food, drinks, comfortable seating, and free Wi-Fi. Some lounge also offer perks like showers, sleeping rooms, a SPA and more!

Priority Boarding

You’ll never run out of overhead bin space in international Business Class. Airlines typically board Business Class passengers immediately after First Class. You’re one of the first on the plane so you can comfortably unpack your carry-on and store it overhead.


Singapore Airlines Business Class

Physical space is the most valuable commodity in airplanes, and Business Class gets you more space. Forget being cramped in the back of the plane with your knees touching the seat in front of you and having to sleep upright. A good airline will offer Business Class passengers wide seats, plenty of legroom, a large TV, and ample storage. Most importantly, you’ll be able to recline the seat 180 degrees and turn it into a flat bed. This makes it immeasurably more comfortable to sleep on an airplane and arrive at your destination somewhat rested.


John Dory fish entrée on United Business Class

The standard for Economy Class is whether or not the food is edible. You pray that your entrée looks something like human food and that your stomach can handle it. Business Class passengers are offered a choice of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to choose from. A good airline will offer food with the same quality that passengers can find on the ground.


Passengers deplane from front to back. That’s First Class, then Business Class, then Economy Class. The earlier you get off the plane, the earlier you get into the immigration line, and the less you have to wait behind a hoard of passengers to clear customs.

Economy Class is about survival. You have to survive crowds at the airport, a plane full of passengers stuck in narrow seats, barely edible food, and overnight flights sitting upright. Business Class provides basic comforts and makes flying enjoyable. There’s much shorter lines, you can relax before your flight at a lounge, you have comfortable seating and sleeping arrangements, and a nice meal at 40,000 feet.


Best of all, Business Class flying isn’t an elusive prospect reserved for the ultra-rich. Anyone can book it with the right points and miles. Here’s a few resources to get you started: