Save or Splurge – Are First Class Flight Tickets Really Worth the Extra?

If you are one of the lucky ones who get to fly around the world in first class at the expense of your employer, then you probably collect enough air miles throughout the year to fly to your holiday destination in style. If, on the other hand, you are not so lucky, would you really consider paying the price for a first class ticket?

A check-in desk without queues, a comfortable airport lounge with free drinks and snacks, priority boarding, superior onboard service, and even pyjamas come as standard with most first class tickets, but when you consider that you are paying approximately 5 times more for the privilege, is it really worth it?

Today I checked the prices of a return British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town, South Africa, in mid-October.  The cost of an economy ticket including taxes etc. came to around £1000, while a ticket on the same flight in first class costs a tad more at £5816!

With a flight time of approximately 11-hours, I can fully understand why travellers would like to take advantage of “pre flight dining, a relaxing spa treatment, a dedicated crew member for your cabin, and a 6ft 6” fully flat bed with crisp white mattress, duvet and pillow made of Egyptian cotton”, but do these little luxuries really justify the price?

I have been lucky enough to fly first class once from London to Las Vegas.  The trip was a Christmas gift from my previous employer, and while the whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable, I am not sure I would splurge on a first class ticket if I was picking up the bill.

Yes, check-in was so smooth it was almost fun, the airport lounge came with copious amounts of Champagne and snacks, and we had to board the aircraft just a few minutes before departure… but you know what, we didn’t get there any quicker than anyone else!

If I were a millionaire, would I fly first class?  Well, the answer would probably be yes, but as I am still working my way towards those six zeros at the end of my bank account, I am happy to make do with economy!

Do you only fly first class?  Would you splurge on a first class ticket for a special trip abroad, or would you rather save and stick to economy?  Drop us a line, we would love to hear your thoughts!

11 Comments Add yours

  1. We’re cheapskates and fly economy but on long-haul we’d try to stretch to premium-economy 😉

    1. We too! Although we always try to travel with what we think are ‘good’ airlines (BA, KLM, Virgin, Qatar etc). I once travelled 14-hours straight from London to Kuala Lumpur with a budget airline…. Not a good idea, I can guarantee that your pet carriers are more comfortable than my seat was!

  2. frenchfry36 says:

    Even if I was a billionaire I would find it hard to justify the extra cost – and this is from someone who annually flies Australia to France (and back of course!)… after all, it’s just one day, and I can have a whole lot more fun with those dollars saved!

    1. Hahaha, I agree, but I think if you were a billionaire you might be tempted! After all, just think of all that interest you would be earning during the flight! 😉

  3. Marianne says:

    We travel quite a bit, long haul – but as we pay for ourselves we tend to fly cattle class.

    We did get upgraded once with Emirates a few years ago, totally out of the blue, on the way back to the UK from Australia. It was absolutely wonderful!! 🙂

    1. Wow, that was very lucky! We must remember to smile nicely next time we check in for an Emirates flight! 😉

  4. Jane Sadek says:

    I flew first class once. There had been a mis-communication with my travel agent and I hadn’t realized she’d booked us home a day late. We had to get home to go to work. So, we bit the bullet and upgraded. I wasn’t feeling very good when I got on board and it only got worse as the flight progressed. A call to my doctor the next day revealed that my symptoms had most likely been the passing of a small kidney stone. I can only imagine how miserable that would have been in coach.

    1. Oh no! Shame you didn’t get to enjoy the flight after paying the extra… 😦

  5. I am perfectly happy flying economy but for an overnight flight I CANNOT sleep in those seats. I usually travel alone so I suppose the idea of lolling my head onto the shoulder of the stranger next to me keeps me from settling into a deep sleep! I would pay extra just to go in a fully reclining seat for overnight flights if it meant not having to pay for all the other perks of first class which I don’t need. Shame you can’t just pay for the bits you want and leave out the rest.

    1. I agree, maybe they should just replace all the seats with triple bunk beds!

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