The Playbook For The Modern Man

The Hidden Benefits Of Flying Business-Class That Economy Passengers Have No Idea About

The hedonist’s last refuge.

If flying economy is like spending the night in a dingy dive bar (armrest tussles and all) then flying business-class is like ~vibing~ at an exclusive VIP lounge (purple disco lights included).

That’s the stereotype. But what most people don’t realise, is that the vintage Moët and lie-flat beds are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, for some pointy end passengers, that’s not even why they pay to sit up front.

So – especially in this climate of flight shaming and thriftiness – why is business-class becoming more popular? How do we sleep knowing we are being mocked by (literally) ‘woke’ passengers in economy who arrive at the same place, at the same time, about $5,000 (give or take, depending on the airline and the route) better off?

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In an era where it’s cooler to brag about ‘how many steps’ you did on the weekend than it is to recall how many Espresso Martinis you sank, why do statistics show business-class hedonism to be sharply increasing?

As always, the devil is in the detail. And his name is Immanuel Debeer: one of the world’s most prolific frequent flyers, owner of Flight Hacks, and proud business-class hedonist.

 

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Inspired by losing my business class virginity on Qantas’ recently re-assigned A330, I sought out a more experienced pointy end flyer (Immanuel) to help me transition from budget-backpacker to elitist snob.

The problem was, Immanuel proved my assumption that everyone who flies business-class is worthy of disdain to be false, revealing that it is possible to be a down-to-earth human and also fly business, as well as helping me see there are a number of perks to flying business-class that you don’t truly appreciate until you actually do it.

Aside from Immanuel’s observations, we have also picked the brain of D’Marge editor-at-large Luc Wiesman, who can often be found at the lie-flat end of the plane.

In short, today we bring you all the reasons it’s worth it to fly business-class over economy, particularly internationally, and particularly if it’s a slight financial stretch (if you are rolling in cash, or if you have zero money, it is a no-brainer).

 

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Hedonism changes your brain for the better

Sure: cigars and cocktails will kill you. But so (eventually) will water and gluten-free bread. Also, studies have shown hedonism can be good for your health, particularly when it doesn’t involve inhaling carcinogenic substances or pummelling your liver. Put simply: business class is your safe space to indulge, where the laws of international aviation (and customs) protect you from doing too much damage, leaving you free to loll in luxury.

And let’s face it: on an international red-eye, even if you make the rare move of trying to get some work done, you will likely have to redo it when you realise that your 40,000ft ‘revelations’ are mostly gibberish. So instead of hunching over your laptop in economy, determined to make use of your stolen sleep, why not hop up the pointy end and arrive refreshed, sharp and well-fed?

It makes it much easier to avoid jetlag

As frequent flyer Immanuel told us, “Apart from the freeflow champagne and better quality food, the main advantage of business-class is that you get a fully-flat bed.” According to him, “This can make a huge difference in terms of your health,” and enables you to, “Hit the ground running.”

“When you can get proper sleep, the effects of jetlag are minimised so whether you need to attend a meeting or have a full day of sightseeing, you will have an advantage over economy passengers.”

It gives you lounge access – no status credits required

Even if you are a non-frequent flyer with zero status credits, if you purchase a business-class ticket you will have lounge access wherever you need it for that journey. And, as Immanuel told us: “Most of those [lounges] on international routes have excellent shower facilities and a-la-carte restaurants to make your transit that much more relaxing.”

“Some airlines even offer ‘dine on demand’ benefits to their premium guests. This means you can eat what you want when you want. This can really help you to adjust your body clock when you’re not forced to eat when the airline would like you to.”

It gives you the chance to meet like-minded people

 

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In a previous article, we suggested that flying up the pointy end of the plane gives you the chance to be shouted drinks by corrupt politicians and shmooze your way up the corporate ladder. While this was tongue-in-cheek, we believe the core point – there’s never a bad time to sip single malt with potential industry connections – still stands.

However, frequent flyer Immanuel calls bullsh*t on this claim, arguing that those who fly business do so for the anonymity and retreat-like feels – not to network: “Most people in the lounge want to keep to themselves and in business class, the reality is that most people are company men and women who’s employer paid for them to fly in business.”

“It’s not like every seat is taken up by some hot entrepreneur, well on their way to becoming the next Google or Facebook.”

“That said, of course, it’s fine to strike up conversations with other people (and there are plenty of nice and interesting people travelling in any class) as long as you can read social clues and know when your small talk isn’t appreciated,” he added.

It reduces the stress of your airport experience

You might not get a chopper or a chauffer like you do in first-class, but flying business-class culls much of the fat of air travel. Check-in is a red-roped breeze, most lounges have chicken edamame salads (of some variation thereof) to fly for and if there is a delay you wait it out in an adult playpen of delight, not McDonalds.

It gives you a licence to laze

Where else in the modern world can you sit back unmolested by emails, texts and calls (and judgement from your partner), to scoff salted nuts and swill single malt, while watching whatever guilty pleasure you so desire? Essentially: you get to do what you always do on a Friday night, sans judgement.

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That’s our take, anyway. Frequent flyer Immanuel, however, told us that for him it’s not so much about “indulging without judgement” but more an appreciation of guaranteed personal space; “In economy you really have to fight for your [area] with those looking to spread their way across three seats. And then there’s the classic armrest battle royale as well: winner takes all.”

It allows you to make a socio-political statement

In a world where Crossfit is now cooler than clubbing, business-class is the hedonist’s last refuge.

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  • OV Traveller

    That is only the half of it: you also know that you are not going to be hassled checking in, frazzled in some supermarket/ food hall in the thorough fares, pay through the nose for crap food and be delivered to your seat with a smile. As suggested to my daughter…try it and it will spoil you for ever.

  • RLE Philly

    I would tell flight hacks to spend a couple of those hours shaving. He looks like shit sittings there.

  • https://flighthacks.com.au Flight Hacks

    Good luck

  • Dean Salter

    Clearly the writer has no clue of the real cost of business class,
    I fly business class all the time, I shop my fares wisely, if I see an airline with a great rate that I have not flown before,
    I then look up the airline reviews, I recently flew China eastern airlines business class for less then an economy class ticket on Cathay or Eva, and the flight was great and the business class was amazing,

    I have never paid more the $2000 for round trip business class anywhere in the world, if my flight is 5 hrs or less i dont buy it, i only buy when I’m flying from US to ASIA, Philippines Japan, etc. I have flown 350 flights and 450,000 miles in the last 2 years, I use Kayak as my go to travel app

  • Pog Mohone

    Oh yes, spending $7000 for round trip from Dubai to Dulles is so worth it. I get to fly one time a year so bonus miles are not going to rack up compared to someone getting paid to make several trips a week. Sure I enjoy laying down and getting sleep during the 14 hour flight but the money I save is something I’ll just keep in my pocket. Taking time off from work already costs $5500 between working and vacation pay. Let’s just go ahead and make the vacation cost $20,000 but in reality you work your ass off doing old chores. So who writes this shit? Someone paid by the airlines or someone hoping to entice better travel? AIRLINES ALREADY CHARGE TOO MUCH! Stop with the bullshit.

  • James

    That is why we specified at the beginning this is for people who can afford it (or who can ‘just about’ afford it). Obviously if you don’t have the cash, or if you have heaps of cash, it’s pretty obvious which class to book. This article is for those who can afford business but aren’t sure if they should do it.

  • James

    Great rate ≠ real price.

  • James

    You sound suspiciously like someone who can’t grow a beard 😉

  • Pog Mohone

    Yeah, I guess that’s my problem. I paid $5500 business in 2018, had to pass when it was $7500 this year. The A380 is an awesome aircraft in business, coach ok I guess. Fly coach and buy the lounge is my norm. Wish I could fly more and build points. Heaps of cash would be fine or less bills. Some companies in the sandbox cover the flights, mine give a travel allowance that covers economy. Always complaining about something I guess. Lol.

  • Angharad Irving

    American Airlines, United or that lot – do not give you lounge access because you’ve purchased a first class ticket, domestically. Local route in the Middle East do not have a flat bed in Business. I flew First Class with Emirates from the US to Dubai with my baby – 777, couldn’t use all the perks as I was taking care of her. There needs to be more articles, tips and hacks regarding mums travelling with babies in First or Business…

  • Jinster

    Check out those douche bags in that Rosewood Hong Kong photo. Nobody in business or first class behaves that way. Those are first timer idiots posing for their envious buddies on the ground, making it appear more glamorous than it actually is. The reality is, long haul flights are exhausting even if you fly in first class. The experience is only “relative luxury” – relative to economy class, but nothing like a proper bed in even the cheapest of hotels.

  • Mark Olsen

    I fly business class just to get away from the screaming kids and babies that their parents are ignoring.

  • Drewzilla

    Eh. He confessed to be inexperienced so I give him a pass.

    Agreed on value Asian carriers. Flying EVA business in two weeks. 🙂

  • ddsmpret

    “Delta One” – Rome to Atlanta. Nothing better.

  • Kathy

    Ha! I had a 10 month old next to me on BA 2-4-2 biz! Lots of kids up front that ORD-LHR flight. Scary, but happy to report he was a very happy kid. An ear to ear grin was our sole interaction.

  • Kathy

    Pog, you need credit cards for those miles, flying no longer accrues much.

  • mw

    What a douchey fluff piece. Peppering it with photos of wannabe “influencers” basking in unnatural poses for their instagram feed doesn’t help much. Yeah sure it is undoubtedly a better experience but you’re not saying anything anyone didn’t already know. It’s nice, it’s not thousands of dollars extra nice unless you’ve just got money to burn. Flew SFO > LHR via Polaris for the first time last month, on a good mileage redemption. When I’ve accrued enough miles, I upgrade, but until then a sleeping pill and a window seat in economy will do just fine. But yeah if you’re a hedonist I guess it IS better for you than a drug habit. Eesh.

  • ZZ in SA

    “recently reassigned”?

    Are you talking sex change or cabin update?

    If cabin, perhaps you meant “recently reconfigured”.

    So many writers today think they have a PhD in aviation/travel whereas in reality they’re still in first grade.

  • Dean Salter

    One note to add, do not but Electronics from.the Skymall magazines, I have they are most often junk and airlines will net do returns,

    And the great deals in those international airports, around all electronic purchases, if there is a problem, for the mfgr will tell you to return it to the place of purchase, and so will your credit card company, that’s kinda hard when you require a plane ticket to get into that area, also if your using a USA ISSUED VISA, MASTER CARD OR AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD, WELL ALL THOSE GUARANTEES, OF HASSLE FREE RETURNS, PRICE GUARANTEE, FREE REPLACEMENT, ETC, ALL DO NOT APPLY TO PURCHASES OUTSIDE OF THE USA, SO BUYER BEWARE, NOW THE BEST THING I HAVE BOUGHT 2 YEARS AGO AND I LOVE IS MY POKIFI INTERNATIONAL WIFI, ITS AMAZING, $3 PER DAY, DO NOT BUY SKYROAM IT SUCKS AND IS $9 A DAY,

  • Dean Salter

    So true

  • https://flighthacks.com.au Flight Hacks

    I’m glad it triggered you 😉

  • al_frick

    I make beaucoup bucks but came up from nothing, Still clip coupons and find the best deals. No way I’ll spend $7k for the same flight as $700. Even for a 12 hr flight, that diff works out to $525 per hour!

    I won’t even do it on the company’s dime – we’re all stewards of our company’s wallets and this type of indulgence is ridiculous. Even though the c-suite officers have their own private jets.

  • al_frick

    As opposed to paying through the nose for a cushy seat for 12 hours. Ok.

    Get a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and access the lounge if the food halls bother you that much.

  • al_frick

    The other “guru” Immanuel also clearly does not know how much it costs. Undoubtedly, he is either comped the tickets as an “influencer” or expenses it as a business expense for his blog which generates more income than the tickets cost (i.e. Without the tix, he’d have nothing to write about and no income). Neither of these guys addresses the basic desire of 99% of travelers, to just get somewhere period. As much as I would love a lie flat bed on an 18hr flight, I will cram myself in a tiny space for $600 per hour. And will arrive $12000 wealthier than if I hadn’t.

  • madraz

    Only a fraction of people in Biz are paying for the privilege, most are there thru frequent flyer points accumulation or their company. They wouldn’t dream of opening their wallets for it especially international flights

  • Kevin Novak

    Your points about access to like-minded people and a making socio-political statement about privilege and class are déclassé. Many of these benefits are valid, but the idea that flying business class somehow equates to something about one’s character other than wealth or job is everything that’s wrong with our Kardashian-obsessed, insta-famous culture.

  • James Booth
  • Garrett Wong

    My main priority for flying business class, other than those mentioned in the article, is faster, hassle-free dedicated check-in counters. And in some airports, I can use their VIP entrances as well as VIP immigration counters.

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