Ten reasons why first or business class is great but isn't always worth it


Published February 11, 2014

| FoxNews.com

Ten reasons why first or business class is great but isn't always worth it

Ten reasons why first or business class is great but isn't always worth it

I guess subjective value is a thing after all.

More than just the leg room

You can get more legroom in "economy plus" or "main cabin extra" -- or whatever your airline calls those extra legroom economy class seats. Or you can fly JetBlue, where the economy seats have a few extra inches. And even with the extra legroom, unless you're seated at the bulkhead, you still have to climb over your seatmate if you're in the window seat (unless you're on a plane like American's 777-300ER where all business and first class seats have aisle access).

Then there's the meal

Okay, airline food is airline food, but lately it's been getting a lot better. There are imaginative fresh salads, ice cream sundaes and fresh baked cookies on American, for example. Delta is working with New York-based restaurateur Danny Myers to improve its offerings in business/first. But the meal isn't it either. You could bring your own food on board from your favorite deli or gourmet shop and eat better.

Free booze

Some people love this, but that's not it either. You shouldn't drink when you fly anyway, because it's dehydrating.

More privacy

This is important, at least to me. There are fewer people in first class. Seating is two-by-two. Seats are wider so there's no fighting for the armrest. There's no chance of ending in the middle seat. And of course, if you're lucky enough to have a seat by yourself, such as on American's new A312T in first class, you're in airline heaven. Bottom line: It's just less crowded.

Padded seats

Now we're really getting somewhere. And this is the main reason why I pay for first class, either heavily discounted non-refundable first or business fares, with mile upgrades, or last minute upgrade offers when checking in online. As I explained to @Clint7981, when you reach a certain age (Clint looks like he's 20 by the way), your poor tired bones, muscles and posterior aren't as padded or limber as they once were. First/business seats, unlike those rock-hard new, fuel-saving "slimline" seats in economy, still have lots of padding. They remind me of the seats in those Lockheed Constellations and DC-7's I used to fly as a kid. (Yes, I'm that old.)

Easier access to the lavatories

When you gotta go, you gotta go. Sometimes the line at the back of the plane to use the lavatories can be five-people deep. Not so in first and business.

Nicer flight attendants

I'm not saying that economy class flight attendants aren't nice; many are. But they're a lot nicer in first or business. It just makes traveling more pleasant when someone addresses you by name and smiles a lot.

Priority boarding and TSA lines

You can get some of these perks with airline-branded credit cards and by paying a bit extra on an economy fare, true. And some people argue that it's not worth getting on board early.

No fighting for overhead bin space

There's generally plenty for everyone. And if somehow there isn't, the nice flight attendants will put your stuff in the forward closet. No "gate checking."

Power ports

On some older planes, only first or business class seats have them at all seats. A must if you're planning to work (or play) inflight and you need juice.