Toll free number

1800 22 7979

Chat on WhatsApp

+91 88799 00414

Business hours

10am - 6pm

Is Business Class worth it?

11 mins. read

Published in the Sunday Indian Express Magazine - Eye on 28 April, 2024

As an avid planespotter, I experienced an emotional moment this week when one of Air India's last four Boeing 747s departed from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), heading towards its probable final destination in Plainfield, USA. Here’s my last photo of the aircraft parked at Mumbai’s CSMIA.

Globally, airlines may have retired their fleets of Boeing 747s, opting for more fuel-efficient models, yet the Boeing 747 will forever hold its title as the 'Queen of the Skies'.

For those of us who cherish the unique experience of flying, it's a bittersweet realisation that the opportunity to ascend the spiral staircase to the 747's upper deck - a space typically reserved for Business Class -  is vanishing or has vanished. Today, the Airbus A380 stands as the sole double-decker commercial aircraft still in operation. Of the 251 A380s ever built and delivered, 234 aircrafts are in service with 10 operators as of March 2024 with Emirates being the largest operator with 120 A380s in its fleet.

After spotting the Air India aircraft on its final flight, I decided to theme this week’s piece on planes and airlines. Specifically, I wanted to talk about Business Class and answer a simple question: Is Business Class worth it?

Over the decades, I have seen the concept of Business Class evolve from simply offering extra legroom to becoming a holistic experience that caters to the ever-growing demands of travellers. So, let’s explore what many airlines around the world bring to the table and uncover why, for those contemplating whether to upgrade, the answer more often than not might just be a resounding: Take it, do it!


My first point is about comfort. Beyond the standard expectations of increased legroom and enhanced meal service lies a transformative experience in seat design and cabin layout. Business Class seats are not merely seats; they are meticulously engineered environments designed to provide the utmost comfort. They typically offer significantly more legroom, fully reclining capabilities, and often convert into flat beds, providing a level of comfort that can rival the sanctity of your own bedroom.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) offers a standout example with what is called ‘The Room’ available on select Boeing 777s. This seat is a marvel of modern aviation design, offering a breadth of space that is unprecedented in Business Class travel. The wide seating arrangement allows passengers to stretch out with ease, converting into a flatbed that spans over six feet in length. The defining feature, however, is its door and high walls, which extend the concept of privacy in commercial aviation, creating a personal sanctuary that feels more akin to a private suite than a seat on an aircraft.

Equally impressive is Etihad Airways with its latest Business Class suites on the A350 type of aircraft. These suites are arranged in a configuration known as the ‘reverse herringbone’, ensuring direct aisle access and a generous amount of personal space. The inclusion of privacy doors turns each seat into a private retreat. These examples from ANA and Etihad Airways illustrate a broader trend in Business Class travel: a shift towards a more refined, almost bespoke travel experience, where comfort and privacy are paramount.

Service and Amenities

In Business Class, the journey is as memorable as the destination, largely thanks to the exceptional service and luxury amenities that define this exclusive travel class. Upon entering the cabin, passengers are greeted by a level of hospitality that anticipates their needs and personalizes the flying experience.

Qatar Airways has long been a standard-bearer for luxury air travel, especially with its Qsuites, which are often cited as the pinnacle of Business Class innovation. Qsuites offer an unparalleled level of privacy and luxury, featuring a unique quad configuration that allows passengers to create their own private room or even a multi-person suite, a perfect choice for families or business meetings in the sky. Attention to detail is evident in every aspect onboard, from the hand-stitched Italian leather and satin linens to the award-winning dine-on-demand cuisine that caters to a variety of palates with gourmet plates crafted by celebrity chefs. The service is both attentive and discreet, ensuring each passenger's needs are met with precision and a personal touch, whether it’s a perfectly timed espresso or an expertly poured glass of vintage wine.

Looking forward into the future, Lufthansa is poised to redefine luxury with its Allegris product, a new benchmark in Business Class travel. Scheduled to roll out soon, Allegris promises features designed to offer an even higher standard of comfort and privacy, such as more spacious seating arrangements, enhanced personal storage, and upgraded entertainment options.

These offerings from Qatar Airways and Lufthansa are emblematic of the broader evolution of Business Class travel, where the focus is not just on meeting passenger needs but on exceeding their expectations.

Technology-enabled Productivity

The cornerstone of Business Class technology is robust Wi-Fi. Let’s admit it, all of us want Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet. Many Business Class offerings today allow passengers to stay connected (not always for free though) with the ground, whether it’s for sending emails, Netflix, or simply staying updated on social media. For those looking to work, business class offerings like foldable tables, adjustable lighting, and minimal noise disturbances create an optimal environment to focus and be productive.

Airlines like Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Emirates have taken the integration of technology in their Business Class to new heights. Recognizing the diverse needs of their passengers, each seat on these airlines is complemented by Bluetooth audio connectivity, allowing passengers to pair their own devices with the in-flight system.

Sleep, Wellness & Health

After having discussed all of these factors, let me come to my main point! Travelling in business class can ensure that you arrive at your destination feeling fresh, rested and alert. One of the most notable health benefits of flying Business Class is the opportunity for better sleep. The ability to recline fully in a lie-flat bed significantly impacts the quality of rest a passenger can get compared to the cramped seating in Economy. Improved sleep on flights reduces jet lag and enhances recovery time, making transitions into different time zones smoother and more manageable. Additionally, the spacious seating arrangements and limited number of passengers in Business Class reduce physical stress. More room to move and stretch helps maintain good blood circulation.

Airlines have also recognized the importance of wellness in travel, integrating specific features to enhance passenger wellbeing. For instance, many airlines offer access to airport lounges that provide spa services, allowing travellers to relax before their flight. These services might include massages, facials, and other treatments that help reduce stress and prepare the body for the journey ahead.

Is it worth it?

The cost of a Business Class ticket can be significantly higher than an Economy Class fare, typically ranging from two to five times the price depending on the airline, route, and timing of purchase. The first thing I always do is check the type of aircraft I will be flying. Sometimes, on the same airline, you could have two or three different types of business class products and one could be significantly superior to the other. So it’s always good to ask your travel advisor for details about the exact seat and advantages of your specific flight.

I certainly believe that the value of a Business Class ticket is not solely monetary. It includes a suite of advantages such as priority boarding, additional baggage allowances, access to exclusive lounges, and superior in-flight service, which collectively enhance the travel experience. The tangible benefits-more space, better food, advanced seat technology that allows for better rest, and high-quality customer service-are complemented by intangible benefits like increased productivity for business travellers and reduced travel fatigue for holidayers.

How do I make it happen?

For those looking to experience Business Class without the full price tag, there are several strategies to consider. One effective method is to monitor for promotional sales or special offers that airlines occasionally provide. Joining frequent flyer programs can provide early access to these deals. Utilizing airline points or miles is another popular method to obtain business-class tickets at a fraction of the cost. You can also accumulate points through credit card spending, airline partnerships, and regular flying, then redeem them for upgrades or entire tickets.

Additionally, some airlines offer last-minute upgrades at a reduced cost if Business Class seats are available close to departure. I often like to check in early or enquire at the gate about available upgrade opportunities that can result in securing a Business Class seat at a significantly lower price than booking one outright from the start.

All in all, deciding whether to pay outright for a Business Class ticket often comes down to the length of the flight and the personal circumstances of the traveller. For long-haul flights, the benefits of arriving well-rested and less stressed are substantial. In these cases, the investment in a Business Class ticket can be justified not just as a luxury, but as a necessary tool for ensuring a holiday where you truly Celebrate Life from day one!

So let me end with this today! As the world of air travel continues to evolve, flights are slowly becoming more than just a mere means of transportation. It's now about these thoughtful details and dedicated service that make the premium cost worthwhile, transforming a simple flight into a memorable part of the travel adventure. See you next week, until then, as I always say, keep Celebrating Life!

April 27, 2024


Neil Patil
Neil Patil

Founder & Director, Veena World

More Blogs by Neil Patil

Post your Comment

Please let us know your thoughts on this story by leaving a comment.

Looking for something?

Embark on an incredible journey with Veena World as we discover and share our extraordinary experiences.


Request Call Back

Tell us a little about yourself and we will get back to you


Our Offices

Coming Soon

Located across the country, ready to assist in planning & booking your perfect vacation.

Locate nearest Veena World

Listen to our Travel Stories

Veena World tour reviews

What are you waiting for? Chalo Bag Bharo Nikal Pado!

Scroll to Top