If you’re getting ready to book a premium airline ticket but don’t really understand the difference between first class and business class, you’re not alone.
The airline industry has no set standards for these ticket classifications, so most passengers have a tough time figuring out exactly what to expect for each type.
Plus, things get even more complicated when you factor in the differences between domestic first class and international first class flights (that’s right — they aren’t the same).
In this guide, we’re going to shed light on what these terms really mean, and even explain how you can get the guaranteed lowest prices on both first class and business class flights.
1. How Do Domestic vs International Flights Differ When It Comes to Premium Airline Tickets?
Typically, domestic flights have two cabin planes with first class and economy class seats.
International flights are normally operated with three cabin planes that offer first, business, and economy classes. This is where you can normally expect to see differences in service (and price).
Despite there being first class seats on both domestic and international flights, the experience is very different. In fact, international business class is often much more premium than anything you’ll get in domestic first class.
As far as what you can expect for each level, we’re going to break those down separately:
2. The Perks of Flying First Class on International Flights
For many airlines, the first class experience starts from the moment you check-in, on the ground!
A first class ticket will often include access to world class lounges, depending on the airport you’re departing from.
In addition, some airlines offer truly unique experiences. For example, when flying first class on Air France out of Paris, you can expect to be treated to a complimentary spa treatment, dining at a Michelin star restaurant, and being driven to your plane in a car,
With a first class ticket, you can expect to get the best service available onboard as well. This includes bigger, lie-flat seats that may even have their own enclosed pods for added privacy. Many airlines even provide luxury duvets and pillows to to make the journey even more comfortable in-flight.
Airlines like Etihad and Singapore Airlines have taken this even further by offering first class tickets that come their own “apartments” — complete with a double bed and room to walk around without leaving your “seat.”
Here’s a video walking through all the different classes on Singapore Airlines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tYUMo3IgXg
A seat in first class also comes with top notch meals and excellent wine pairings, often with menus designed by celebrity chefs. Some airlines, such as Emirates, even have fully stocked bars onboard.
And of course, you get access to thousands of entertainment options such as movies, TV shows, music, games, and apps.
3. Flying Business Class Internationally
Although international business class is not as luxurious as international first class, you can still expect far better service than that of domestic first class flights.
International business class usually includes seats that recline to a flat bed, though it might be at an angle. While the seats in business class are definitely more comfortable and have more legroom than those in economy, they generally aren’t as luxurious as those in (international) first class.
As for food and drinks, customers in business class seats can expect to enjoy a nice meal and drinks, including unlimited alcoholic beverages. The specific food and drink options offered vary from airline to airline and may be a step below that of first-class passenger seating options.
However, you can still expect much better than the coach food and drink offerings — which may not even be included in coach on some flights.
Overall, even though international business class falls short of international first class, it still greatly exceeds the offerings of domestic first class.
4. What About Hybrid First and Business Class?
There are several airlines that operate two-cabin planes which offer a hybrid first and business class experience on international flights.
These hybrid classes offer some elements from both of the traditional classes. In general, you can expect more services than in traditional business class at a price that is lower than that of traditional first class tickets.
Keep in mind that this is very different from first class tickets on domestic, two-cabin aircrafts. This hybrid class on international flights is generally far more luxurious than first class on a domestic flight.
5. Flying First Class on Domestic Flights
Although domestic first class is a vastly different experience from international first class, it still offers certain advantages over flying economy.
First class seats are generally much wider and offer more legroom than seats in economy class. In first class, you can also expect to receive more personalized attention.
When it comes to in-flight food and drinks, first class seats typically get a wider selection of snacks and depending on the flight, a full meal. Free alcoholic beverages are also generally included.
6. How to get the lowest prices on First Class and Business Class flights
When looking for the best prices on flights, most people go online and search through the many “flight aggregator” websites that show impressive looking price comparisons.
The problem is, when these flight aggregator websites list a ticket price online, it’s guaranteed to NEVER be the best price available.
The reason is simple: airlines never want to publish their true lowest prices online in fear of starting a “race to the bottom” with other airlines that would diminish everyone’s profits.
At Executive Class Flights, we have our 20 years of experience getting “better-than-online” prices for clients ranging from high ranking government and state officials to world famous actors and entertainment professionals.
How do we do it?
We speak to our contacts at top airlines DIRECTLY to get the best prices possible (again, prices so low, airlines don’t want them seen on the internet). That’s right — we actually call up the airlines and negotiate with an actual person — not just fetching whatever price was last scraped from a public database.
This allows us to get you anywhere from 40% – 70% off business class and first class tickets. Because we know our prices are the absolute lowest possible, we even back them up with a 100% price-match guarantee.
If you’re thinking of booking a first class or business class ticket, you can get a quote quickly and easily by filling out this form here.
Every quote is 100% free, and there’s absolutely zero obligation to purchase anything. Simply fill out our quote form with your desired destinations and see how much you can save before you buy!