Short Haul Business Class Is Almost Never Worth It

I suffered, so you didn't have to...

Short Haul Business Class Is Almost Never Worth It

Image: Getty

Everyone thinks the pointy end is the best way to travel. But there is one type of business class that – in my opinion – you should never book: business class on domestic or short-haul international flights. This is because the main benefit of business class (sleep) is typically redundant on these flights, whilst all the main drawbacks of business class are still gnawing at your conscience.

Business class is a hallowed hall you scrimp and save for. But there is one type of business class that is never worth it: domestic or short haul.

I realised this during a recent short-haul flight. Though I have flown business class before on a bigger aircraft (an experience which ruined me for life) and loved it, this time I felt quite uncomfortable while sitting in my seat waiting for the plane to take off.

Image: Getty

Whether it had to do with the fact that I hadn’t realised I was flying business class until I got to the check-in counter (and so was dressed in tracksuit pants, Birkenstocks, a white tee-shirt and an Akubra), or whether it was just my imagination, I’ve never felt the stares of the Economy Brigade come down on me harder.

Worse: there were only 5 of us in business class. Though I’m probably projecting (when I’m flying cattle class, I’m the first one to judge business class passengers or look longingly at their seats as I trudge on through), it made the stares from economy class passengers feel even more targeted, as I shifted uncomfortably in my loungewear, and tried not to appear to be enjoying my Champagne too much.

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Making things even worse still, my partner decided, as a whole group of people were walking past, to ask whether I thought it would be cool if she used the hot towel provided to clean her feet. It was at this point I decided to hide my blushes, throw on my noise-proof headphones, and stare out the window.

Before you get out the world’s teeniest violin, hear me out. There are serious reasons why you should avoid flying short haul business class (beyond my neuroticism). The first of which is this: you are stuck between a rock and a comfortable place.

Is business class always worth it? Not necessarily…

What do I mean by this? Take this by way of example. On a short business class flight, you have two options. One: have a proper sleep, but miss out on all of the fancy food and drink. Two: enjoy the food and drink, but don’t have a proper sleep. A real hardship, I know, but an important thing to factor into your booking preferences.

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Another reason to perhaps save your dough (and instead use it to upgrade to business class only on long haul flights) is because often, on short business class flights, the business class seats do not recline to the point where you are lying flat (so it’s more like premium economy, really). On top of that is the environmental concern about flying business class, which may gnaw at your conscience more on short haul flights than long haul ones, because you are actually conscious during the trip (rather than fast asleep behind your sliding doors).

That may all sound excessive and grouchy. But still: consider yourself warned…

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