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A Beginner's Guide to Flying Business Class
- Jonathan Chum
Have you recently booked a business class flight and are flying in this cabin for the first time? Are you simply curious about the business class experience? While some passengers have flown in first or business class, not everyone has had the luxury of sipping Champagne and enjoying a lie-flat seat above the clouds at 35,000 feet. For those who have not yet had that opportunity, it is important to understand how to make the most of your flying experience or to help persuade you to fly business class in the future. This guide can answer some of the most common questions. From booking a ticket to traveling to a destination, this guide has you covered.
Before You Fly
The entire business class experience begins before you arrive at the airport. One of the first items on your list is to check your baggage allowance during the booking. Premium cabins are much more lenient on baggage than economy and typically allow two or more checked items. Since this varies per airline and route, you must confirm before packing. Remember, premium cabin passengers receive amenity kits including moisturizer and toothpaste so you may not need to pack these items in your carry-on, depending on the length of your trip. Also, part of the booking process is choosing a seat which can have a major impact on your business class experience, especially when traveling with friends or family. Travel sites like SeatGuru advise the best and worst seats of each aircraft based on comfort level, noise, legroom, seat pitch, and various other factors.
The Airport Experience
One of the most laborious activities at the airport is waiting to check-in and go through security. Luckily, during your business class trip, you will bypass the lengthy economy line in the priority lanes at security and check-in. This priority access can be a tremendous time save so you can get into the airport to relax more quickly. Also, almost all premium tickets include airline lounge access, especially when flying out of an airline’s hub airport. Given that you want to maximize your business class experience, leave time to visit the lounge for a pre-flight drink or meal. However, save room for the in-flight food where you will be wined and dined. More airlines are including spa treatments within their lounges with limited availability. Check with your airline to make an appointment if they offer this service.
The In-Air Experience
Not every aspect of business class flying is offered without asking the crew. Remember, you paid a premium price for a premium ticket, so it never hurts to ask for items that have not been provided. Just because you are in a business class seat does not mean you have to wear a full suit. You paid for this ticket and deserve to travel in comfort. With that being said, it does not hurt to board in smart casual attire then change into more comfortable clothing once in the air. Never be afraid to ask for more than what is given. This could include topping off your wine glass to additional snacks if you are still hungry, to asking the crew if you could eat at a specific time. Most airlines now offer a dine-on-demand service that is not typically publicized. Also, taking photos and videos of your experience is perfectly acceptable and not taboo. This could be sharing your experience with your friends and family, for Instagram, or just to have a memory of the incredible business class experience. Don’t be shy to take a few selfies or have the crew take a photo for you. Most crew members are more than happy to help and often join in on the photo!
Some of the more modern airlines boast onboard bars so you can get out of your seat and socialize with your traveling companions over a few drinks. Also, many business seats now offer lay-flat beds with adjustable levels to ensure you get the highest quality shuteye. This allows you to stretch out as if you were lying on an actual bed. The cabin crew will even provide “turndown service” which is making up your bed.
The Arrival Experience
Depending on your airline and destination, there could be an arrivals lounge. These are an excellent option when you have taken an overnight flight or arrive in the morning and would like a second breakfast or to get freshened up. Arrivals lounge access can sometimes be complicated and depend on the flight length. If you are interested in using the arrivals lounge, check with your airline that one is available at the destination. As a business class passenger, you get the luxury of exiting the plane first. That means you can get to baggage claim, customs, or one of the airport bathrooms before everyone else. Also, a sticker is typically added to your baggage indicating your cabin so the first and business class luggage tend to come out on the baggage claim belt first so you can be on your way quicker.
When flying business class, you must enjoy every moment and experience on your first premium cabin flight and never be afraid to ask questions and have a little fun in the process. After all, you paid for a premium ticket which entitles you to comfort and luxury. Even if you are on a business trip, consider this experience to be a mini-vacation in the air. Always remember to be respectful to the other passengers in the cabin and the crew who worked so hard to ensure you are having the best flight experience available.