fly in style

Business class vs. first class flights: Which is the better choice for you?

A male-presenting person on a plane sitting in what could be business class vs. first class depending on the flight's destination.

When it comes to air travel, the difference between a tedious journey and an enjoyable experience often lies in the class of your ticket. If your resources allow, should you opt for business class or splurge even more on first class? Let’s dive into the key differences between business class and first class to help you make an informed decision.

General benefits of flying business or first class over economy

Regardless of whether you’re flying business or first class, both offer significant advantages over economy class. These benefits include more comfortable seating, enhanced in-flight services, and personalized attention from flight attendants.

The seating configurations vary from airline to airline, but generally, passengers can expect more legroom, wider seats, and the ability to recline significantly more than in economy class, including lie-flat seats for most long-haul flights.

Additionally, both classes usually offer premium in-flight entertainment options similar to those available in economy class but possibly on larger screens.

The benefits of business class

Air New Zealand Boeing 878 Business Premier cabin.
Air New Zealand Boeing 878 Business Premier cabin.

Flying business class is a significant step up from economy class, offering a range of benefits that can make your journey much more comfortable and enjoyable.

Main advantages include:

  • Increased comfort: Business class seats are typically wider and offer more legroom than those in economy class. Many airlines also provide fully flat beds or lie-flat seats for international or long-haul flights.
  • Enhanced dining experience: Business class passengers often enjoy upgraded meal options with a variety of choices, served on proper plates with stainless steel silverware, cloth napkins, and complimentary spirits served in glassware made of actual glass.
  • Priority check-in and boarding: This benefit allows business class passengers to avoid long lines and board the aircraft before other passengers.
  • Extra baggage allowance: Business class tickets usually come with a generous baggage allowance, both for checked luggage and carry-on items.
  • Access to business lounges: Lounges offer a quiet and comfortable space to relax or work before your flight, with complimentary food and beverages, Wi-Fi, and sometimes even shower facilities.
  • In-flight entertainment: Expect a wide range of entertainment options, including larger personal screens and a broader selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games.

It’s important to note that the flight experience can vary significantly between domestic and international flights. Services in the US tend to be more modest, often resembling premium economy on international flights. On international routes, offerings are more luxurious and can rival first class on some airlines.

The luxuries of first class

A traveler enjoying British Airways' first class cabin.
New British Airways first class suite. Photo courtesy of British Airways

On average, first class fares are approximately double the price of business class tickets, but first class takes luxury to the next level.

First-class amenities typically include and surpass business class amenities on international flights, as opposed to domestic ones. However, it’s always a good idea to do some research beforehand to confirm this.

Typical perks include:

  • Higher degree of seat recline: First class seats typically offer a higher degree of recline, allowing for more comfortable sleep during long-haul flights.
  • Enhanced privacy: When it comes to international travel, first class often provides private suites or cabins, creating a secluded space for passengers to relax or work.
  • Extravagant dining options: Menus are usually curated by renowned chefs and include a selection of premium wines and spirits. Some airlines even provide an à la carte dining option.
  • Personalized service: Dedicated flight attendants, personal butler services, and, in some cases, concierge services are among the personalized services offered.
  • Access to exclusive lounges: Exclusive airport lounges with gourmet dining, spa services, meeting rooms, and more are often accessible to first class passengers.
  • Extra amenities: Designer amenity kits, luxury bedding, larger personal entertainment screens, complimentary Wi-Fi, and in some cases, shower suites are among the additional amenities offered.

While the cost of a first-class ticket can be substantially higher than that of a business class ticket, for many travelers, these added luxuries make the extra expense worthwhile, especially for long-haul flights.

LGBTQ+-friendly destinations to fly to in business or first class

Traveling in style and comfort is a luxury that business and first-class flights offer. But for LGBTQ+ travelers, choosing a destination that is not only beautiful but also welcoming and inclusive is essential.

Here are some top LGBTQ+-friendly travel destinations around the world you might consider adding to your bucket list.


With its Mediterranean temperatures and city-on-a-beach feel, Barcelona is a popular destination among queer travelers. Madrid is also known for its inclusivity with a lively LGBTQ+ scene, among others:



Gay Barcelona: A Gay Mediterranean Paradise



Gay Sitges: Europe’s gay gem


With cities like Vancouver offering stunning natural beauty and a welcoming atmosphere, Canada is high on our list of LGBTQ+-friendly destinations.



Gay Vancouver



Gay Montreal

Australia and New Zealand

Both countries are known for their progressive attitudes toward LGBTQ+ rights and offer a range of attractions, from bustling city life to picturesque landscapes.



Gay Sydney: Surf & Sizzle



Gay Auckland: City of Sails


Known as the land of smiles, Thailand is famous for its warm hospitality. The city of Bangkok is particularly notable for its vibrant nightlife and LGBTQ+-friendly atmosphere.



Asia’s most tolerant city



Gay Pattaya: Boys in the sun

South Africa

Known as the Rainbow Nation for its diversity, South Africa is often regarded as the most LGBTQ+-friendly country on the African continent. The vibrant city of Cape Town offers a mix of stunning beaches, a rich history, and a thriving nightlife scene.


Cape Town

Gay Cape Town: Equality on the sea

Airlines to consider

When it comes to luxury air travel, not all airlines are created equal. Some airlines go above and beyond to deliver exceptional experiences in their business and first class cabins. While their offerings may vary depending on the route, here are some of the best airlines for business and first class:

Best business class airlines

  1. KLM: The best way to get to northern Europe, KLM’s ceramic keepsakes, issued each year, have become global collectibles. Combined with lounge access at Schipol Amersterdam airport, it’s a win-win.
  2. Singapore Airlines: Known for its exceptional service and comfortable seating, Singapore Airlines is frequently ranked among the best business class airlines.
  3. JetBlue: Despite being a low-cost carrier, JetBlue’s Mint is also regarded as one of the best domestic business class seats.

Best first class airlines

In addition to the airlines mentioned above, the following are some of the best travel experiences available:

  1. Singapore Airlines: New first class suites include showers and joining beds for travelers who want to get cozy.
  2. British Airways: British Airways is another excellent choice for first class travel, offering luxury service to over 200 destinations.
  3. Delta Airlines: Recognized as one of the best first class airlines in the U.S., Delta offers different types of configurations depending on the route, with most domestic routes offering a premium service.

Before you book your ticket, it’s a smart move to check out the airline’s policies on ticket cancellations or changes. This way, you’ll be in the know and have peace of mind. Life happens, and if any unexpected changes come up, you won’t be left with a pricey ticket you can’t use.

So… is first class worth the extra cost?

The answer to this question largely depends on your personal preferences and budget. The price difference between business and first class can be substantial. For some, the added luxury, comfort, and personalized service offered in first class can justify the extra cost.

For others, business class may be a more reasonable choice. It still provides many of the same benefits as first class but at a much lower cost. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which class best meets your needs and budget.

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