Home Lifestyle These are the airlines where you can fly business class for less

These are the airlines where you can fly business class for less


Living the dream (Credits: Getty Images)

‘Help me, I’m poor…’

The iconic plane scene from Bridesmaids always flashes into my mind when I’m booking a flight and looking at the prices of different seats.

Obviously, I always end up going for an economy ticket, and simply hope that a flight attendant will take pity on me and I’ll somehow wrangle an upgrade to business or first class. It’s not happened yet.

But it seems that maybe I’ve just been travelling with the wrong airlines, as new research has revealed that luxury travel doesn’t have to totally break the bank, and who you fly with can make all the difference.

Illuminating new data reveals the price differences between economy and business class tickets, from 30 of the world’s biggest airlines. 

And it’s good news for those heading to Asia, as the airline with the smallest difference between economy and business is All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline.

All Nippon Airways was found to offer the best value for money when it comes to business class seats (Picture: James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

ANA is Japan’s biggest airline, flying to around 50 destinations in Japan, as well as 32 international destinations including North America and Europe. 

The company had the smallest price difference between economy and business class flights, with business tickets being 82.2% more expensive than economy, compared to the industry average of 250.19% more expensive.

The research highlights a flight from Tokyo to Seoul which was £823.50 for economy, while business class was £289 more.

The price of this ticket also included access to a business class lounge, fast-track security, comfier seats and other amenities, so it was hailed as being ‘good value for money’ by the experts.

What’s the difference between first class and business class?

As the name suggests, business class is designed with a business traveller in mind, offering a private space which has pretty much everything a person who is working could need — often this will include a table or desk for work, power supplies and lie-flat seats so you can get some sleep during the journey.

You don’t need to be travelling for business to buy one of these tickets though, and they are a slightly more affordable ‘premium’ plan experience than first class, especially if you’ve got air miles to use up.

Business class ticket holders also get a number of other perks including access to lounges, priority boarding, and complimentary drinks and multi-course meals.

First class travel will have all of this and more, as it’s on another level entirely. Passengers are given even more privacy, much nicer meals and drinks, and the service from cabin crew is, quite literally, first class. Customers travelling this way might even be able to request food and drinks whenever they like (depending on the airline) instead of waiting for a trolley to be brought around the entire cabin. There will also be much nicer seating/bedding for the flight.

The route with the lowest price difference was actually from a different airline — Iberia. With this airline, a flight from Madrid to Athens, had economy tickets priced at £454 and business class at £562, the difference for which doesn’t seem too bad!

Iberia also has flights to and from the UK, including London Heathrow, so could be one to look out for when planning your next holiday.

Other European airlines also made the list, with Lufthansa, SWISS and Aer Lingus, all making the top 10.

Aer Lingus had good value business seats too (Picture: Getty Images)

At the other end of the scale, Oceanian airlines were found to have the biggest price discrepancies, with Air New Zealand and Qantas’ business classes being 263.55% and 342.34% more expensive than the economy tickets respectively.

The flight route with the biggest difference in price between economy and business was Etihad Airway’s flight from Abu Dhabi to Muscat. An economy price seat on this plane started at £48.15, while a business class ticket was a whopping £660.22.

The top 10 airlines for best value business class flights:

  1. All Nippon Airways, Asia
  2. Japan Airlines, Japan
  3. Asiana Airlines, South Korea
  4. Air Algerie, Algeria
  5. Hainan Airlines, China
  6. American Airlines, United States of America
  7. Austrian Airlines, Austria
  8. Lufthansa, Germany
  9. SWISS, Switzerland
  10. Aer Lingus, Ireland

The research, compiled by Holidu.co.uk determined the price difference in fares across a sample of short, mid and long-haul flights from different airline’s headquarters airport, and on the same day across the board. An average price difference for each ticket was then worked out.

So it’s clear that it’s definitely worth doing your research before booking a flight as you never know, a comfier seat might not be completely out of your reach.

And if you are planning a holiday soon, but are in need of a new passport then it might be worth noting that there’s an ideal time to renew it in order to save money. 

Experts at Travel Supermarket crunched the numbers for both adult and child passports ahead of the application fee increasing next month.

From April you’ll have pay to £88.50 for adults and £57.50 for children, compared to £82.50 for adults and £53.50 for children before the price hike.

The change comes into effect from April 11, with adults whose documents expire before December 17 and children whose run out by August 14 have advised to renew now to beat the increases.

After that point, it’s more cost-effective to wait until next year – even with the increased fees – as any time remaining on your current passport’s validity isn’t added to the new one’s 10-year validity, and you could be throwing money away by jumping the gun.

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