Business class or economy?

Business class or economy?

By Camille Pepe Sperrazza

An old television commercial for the airlines used to boast, "Getting there is half the fun."

Not anymore. We all have our airplane horror stories.

Flying business does help make for a better experience, but it can be more costly.

How do you know whether it is worth spending the extra bucks? For long flights to Europe, Asia, and Australia, it may be money well spent for comfort alone. What can you expect? The specifics vary among the airlines, but generally speaking:

- The service may start before you board. It is unlikely you will have to wait on a long line, or any line, as business check-in usually has its own area. Then, you'll probably have access to a lounge where drinks and snacks are offered complimentary, including wine, beer, and alcohol. Some carriers offer full meals. Lounge seating is spacious and comfortable. There is often complimentary Wi-Fi and some lounges have computers and printers. Help yourself to newspapers, and possibly some magazines. Stay in comfort right until your flight is ready to board as departure times are posted and updated throughout the lounge area.

- Personal space. Who knows who will be near you when you travel coach? The arm rest hogger? The chatterbox? The guy who frequently climbs over you to use the bathroom while you sleep? Or, maybe it is the crying baby or, worse, the baby whose smelly diaper reeks throughout the 15-hour flight. In business, you have your own little oasis. There is often no middle seat, and seats aren't piled on top of each other. You can exhale.

- Leg room. The seats are larger, roomier, and more comfortable. Your legs won't be pressed up against the seat in front of you. Many chairs can be adjusted so you can elevate legs and also lie back. Sometimes even the seat belts are cushioned, a tiny luxury you'll appreciate when you feel the difference. Some seats recline fully, making it easier to get to dream land. On long hauls, it is not only about comfort; it is also about health. When you are not cemented in place for hours on end, science tells us that blood clots are less likely to develop.

- Food. You won't have to worry about buying food at the airport to supplement the microscopic meals served in coach. Look, you are still on a plane, so keep expectations realistic, but you'll be served a better quality meal, usually with wine and spirits. It might include an appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert, all served in intervals on real dishes rather than disposable trays. You may also get to choose what you would like from a menu. And you know that sticky tray you pull down from the back of the seat in front of you? It will most likely be clean, but just in case, it will be adorned with a cloth napkin, creating the illusion that you are dining off a tablecloth.

- Service. Attendants are more apt to come around, asking if you need anything. There may be a bathroom exclusively for your area, so good-bye lengthy lines. You'll probably be served something to drink as soon as you board, and will most likely dine before those in coach start to smell their food.

- Checked luggage. When you fly business, a "priority" luggage tag is often placed on your bag, so it may be among the first pieces to come off the conveyer bag when you land, allowing you to grab and go before the rest of the crowd's bags are unloaded off the plane. It may also be less likely to disappear. On some carriers, you may be allowed more than one piece of luggage, and the weight restrictions may tip slightly in your favor, too. Always check the individual airlines for full details as it varies, and is subject to change.

- Carry-ons. You won't have to stuff your coat in the overhead. Instead, it will probably be placed on a hanger and put inside a closet. Oh, the civility. Likewise, there will be space for your carry-on in the overhead and you probably won't be disturbing anyone when you get something you need during the flight. Nor will others be disturbing you when they do the same.

For more information or to book a trip, contact "Commodore" Camille today.

This article was accurate when it was written, but everything in life changes. Enjoy the journey!

Copyright: Camille Pepe Sperrazza