Business Class Air Travel

“Business Class” is the term used by many airlines to describe a premium class of airfare. Business class is often a step below first class, but in many cases has replaced first class altogether, particularly on long-haul, international flights.

Business class amenities differ from airline to airline, but typically include enhanced food and beverage service, streamlined check-in procedures and wider seats with additional leg room and seat pitch. While the extra cost associated with executive class tickets might seem like an unnecessary luxury for some, for the frequent business traveler who spend long hours on airplanes, often arriving at international destinations only minutes before meetings, the workspace, meals and extra room to relax, rest and stay fresh is well worth the extra cost of a ticket.

Additional amenities may include use of a private lounge at airport terminals, complimentary alcoholic beverages, a herringbone seating arrangement which gives each passenger access to an aisle and private television monitors

Many airlines have customized their business class service by applying a unique brand to it. A few examples include Air Canada, “Executive First (International),” Air New Zealand, “Business Premier, ” Air Pacific, “Tabua Class, ” Alitalia, “Classe Magnifica,” Korean Air, “Prestige Class,” and Thai Airways, “Royal Silk.”

Because international flights can often be 10 hours or more in duration, one of the most important business class features is the ability to recline the seat into a flat or nearly flat position to facilitate sleep. A few airlines, which offer both first and business class airfare, reserve seats which lie fully flat for first class, to distinguish between the two classes. However, many international carriers offer only business class seating having eliminated first class altogether.

Many travelers may question why, with so little distinction between first class and business class, are there two separate premium classes? It seems to be a question of marketing and one of perception. On short hop domestic flights, it sometimes makes sense to offer only one class: economy or coach. But along other, longer routes such as transcontinental routes in the United States, it is more profitable to offer several tiers of service with business class sandwiched between first class and economy. These flights often attract a greater diversity of travelers including wealthy travelers, business travelers, and tourists. The different levels of service attempt to maximize ticket prices for each type of traveler.

Routes which must accommodate large numbers of business travelers tend to have eliminated first class. This may be due to a perception that first class travel is an unnecessary luxury, while bus. class is an expensive necessity. While corporation might find it difficult to justify first class travel to their shareholders, business class sounds more palatable.

Furthermore, in a competitive international business climate, where multimillion dollar contracts are at stake, it’s hard to overestimate the value of having business executives and salesmen arrive at their destinations feeling well rested and sharp with additional time to prepare for presentations and meetings en route. As businesses and countries merge into an increasingly interconnected world marketplace, business travel will become more and more important for the business traveler, and more profitable for airlines.