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Old Aug 26, 04, 4:37 pm   #1
 
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On 3 Class Flight, What's Difference Between Business Class and First Class?

Title mostly says it all. Never flown on a plane with 3 classes of service. What's the usual difference in the in flight experience between Business and First?
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Old Aug 26, 04, 4:53 pm   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dldkjones
Title mostly says it all. Never flown on a plane with 3 classes of service. What's the usual difference in the in flight experience between Business and First?
Oh boy, how much time do you have?

The differences can vary greatly from airline to airline, and even route to route within an airline. But...in general, the biggest areas of differences are in a. seat comfort (including such factors as seat pitch, recline, flat bed); b. meal and beverage service and c. inflight entertainment, in that descending order in terms of degree of differentiation, i.e. there's a lot more differences in seat comfort betwen the two classes than there are in meal service. Since your question is so broad, I'm afraid that's the best answer I could offer.

Let me also add that U.S. carriers are not generally regarded as setting the gold standard of service in premium classes. So the F class that you may have experienced in a 2-class domestic service does not even count!
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Old Aug 26, 04, 5:27 pm   #3
 
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And at the airport...

On international flights, it might also mean a difference in lounge access. On AA, First Class (see aa.com for details...I think it's "paid" first class and not "upgraded-to" first class) gets Flagship Lounge, in addition to the day-of-flight Admirals Club & Arrivals Lounge access you'd get in business.
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Old Aug 26, 04, 7:14 pm   #4
 
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You get AA Flagship lounge whether upgraded or paid FC. In addition, BA serves super-premium spirits in F (e.g. Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Camus XO cognac, Perrier Jouet champagne). The BA lounge at LAX serves premium spirits and snacks while the F lounge at Heathrow mirrors what's available in flight. However, notably missing on AA and BA is the formerly requisite caviar service! However, are these perqs worth the premium price? You decide. You can get discounted J cabin on BA for as little as $3,500 on the LAX - LHR non-stop whereas F cabin is over $15K. No discounts. On the other hand, it's only 50K miles extra per tkt for F vs. J on BA and 35K more on AA if using award tkts.
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Old Aug 26, 04, 10:30 pm   #5
 
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Better Seats:
*horizontal flat bed
*larger seat pitch

Food & bev:
*better quality (such as incl. carviar)
*more choices
*a la carte type

IFE:
*more choices.
*larger screen

Misc:
*some have larger bathrooms
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Old Aug 26, 04, 11:02 pm   #6
 
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This doesn't appear to have anything to do with miles or point, so I'm going to move it over to TravelBuzz.

Regards,

Flipside
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Old Aug 26, 04, 11:37 pm   #7
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Varies a lot. Can depend on airline, aircraft, aircraft config, route, time of day/night, etc.

Main areas of difference (some or all apply):

seating - style, width, pitch, suite/not, recline
IFE - selections available, on demand, screen size, etc
food and drink - on demand, quality, amount of choice, quantity
service - usually less pax per FA in first, quality, attitude
amenities - kit, pajamas, etc
bathrooms - less pax per bathroom in first, size, quality and range of amenities
lounge - first may be separated and higher quality, better food & drink, quieter, more space, etc
baggage allowance - checked and carry-on
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Old Aug 27, 04, 7:42 am   #8
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I agree to everything except one thing. Since QF started their new "healthy" approach to dinner, I almost always have to ask for a business class menu. It is often much better....
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Old Aug 28, 04, 9:22 am   #9
 
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The thumbnail response is...

Coach will get you there and back. Nothing more, nothing less.

Business class will get you there and back with everything you need (space, decent meals, beverage service, in-flight entertainment, etc.) to be comfortable.

International First-Class is not only everything you need to be comfortable but also everything you want. Take what you need and then add a heavy dose of luxury.


Think of driving a roadtrip of 1,500 miles. Then think of driving that trip in a base-model Toyota Corolla, a well-equipped Honda Accord, or a fully loaded Mercedes S500. You get the idea...
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Old Aug 28, 04, 12:18 pm   #10
 
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Service! - And a great Flat Bed!

Try sometime to upgrade from J to First using miles on a three class flight say from JFK NRH, you got all pampering that's required in such a long flight!
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Old Aug 28, 04, 2:20 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iggyv
You get AA Flagship lounge whether upgraded or paid FC.
Unless you are flying on a transcon, in which case you must be in F, P, or Z (paid or award first/premium class, not upgrades).
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Old Aug 29, 04, 9:58 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dldkjones
Title mostly says it all. Never flown on a plane with 3 classes of service. What's the usual difference in the in flight experience between Business and First?
I assume you know that, at least in the U.S. 3 class service is found almost exclusively on international flights, primarily trans-oceanic ones.

A perusal of the web pages of the major International airlines' webpages will tell you all you need to know.

Someone in this thread made comparisons of F(First)/J(Business)/Y(Coach) to automobiles. I would add that the gap between F and J is not nearly as big as the yawning cavern between Y and J. He/she said J is a Honda Accord compared to F's Mercedes. I think that's way off. J is much closer to F, and this point is usually borne out in the fare differences. J is often 8-10 times the price of Y, while F is c. 30% more than J.
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Old Aug 29, 04, 11:23 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senatorgirth
IHe/she said J is a Honda Accord compared to F's Mercedes. I think that's way off.
How about:
Y is a base Toyota Corolla
Y-exit row or Economy Plus is a Toyota Camry
J is a fully-loaded Mercedes
F is a Maybach
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Old Aug 30, 04, 12:12 am   #14
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How about:
  • Y: 2-3 Star Hotel
  • C: 4 Star Hotel
  • F: 5 Star Hotel
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Old Aug 30, 04, 6:21 am   #15
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And - like 5 star hotels or a Maybach - once you have tried a real First class cabin, anything else seems a poor substitute.
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