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Making the most of your airline seat

26 May 2017

How can I fly Business Class on the cheap? Is there a way to get more for less? Eurochange have done the research; now take advantage of the results.
For those of us that have flown Economy and First Class, the difference is really quite remarkable and once you sit at the front of the plane, you really begrudge sliding back down.

Here are the differences, as seen by a frequently frustrated flyer.

Economy Class

In economy, you can expect to board after First and Business Class and if your ticket is a higher number and higher letter in the alphabet, well, you’re getting-on last. Once you’re on, you will have to place your carry-on luggage about as far away from your seat as your destination is, as the person sitting across from you has likely taken your spot above your seat. If there’s no space there, then it’s a case of shoving your bag where your feet go and sitting back for an uncomfortable ride. If you’re over five feet tall, your knees will touch the seat in front and he or she will have reclined their seat already. If you have a screen in the seat in front of you, the angle at which it now rests will make watching the new Tom Cruise actioner a chiropractic nightmare. The food will be passable, but if you asked for the veggie option, don’t expect much past an onion heavy pasta dish or a cheese and onion sandwich. Last on, means you could be stuck somewhere near the toilet and your two or three aisle friends will regularly need to pass you, meaning a nap is out-of-the-question. The air-con nozzle above your seat is usually ineffectual; meaning the length of your trip could be rather stifling. But there is hope…

Economy is cheap; not as cheap as it once was, but it’s in the region of 80% cheaper than a First Class ticket. We’ll let that sink-in for a moment.

That means that your budget will stretch that much further.

business class seats, airplane.

Business Class

The difference between Business and First Class is marginal, but the cost is minimal. Business class tickets are often in the region of £2-3,000 whereas a First Class ticket on Singapore Airlines can run you to £12,000. 

Let’s ignore the money and pay attention to the pros; Legroom – there’s lots, you usually sit next-to another flyer, but they are often eyes-deep in a laptop and the spacing between the chairs is of a distance that your legs will never touch. Over-head space – yep, lots of that and it’s situated directly above you. The Air-con is functional and delightful. Service is prompt and usually accompanied by a smile. Free drinks – if you’re on the long-haul flights, even Economy gets these, but Business gets ‘em faster. The screens are often not attached to the seat in front, so their reclining preferences will not bother you. The films are the same. The seats are spacious and when you do recline, you won’t affect the other passengers. The toilet is the same size as in Economy, but again, fewer people, shorter waiting time. The food is better; sorry, it just is.

It’s a shame, because there was a time, not that long ago, in a skyway near you, when business tickets were virtually the same as first class and within the reach of mortal man and woman. 

First Class

1st Class – now there’s a treat. Seats are separate, meaning you can stretch-out and relax, safe in the knowledge that your feet will touch only air. Champagne before you even sit-down, that’s nice. The food is often of a 3-4 star standard, again, nice. Head-room – doesn’t matter, the attendant takes it from you upon entry and it is delivered to you upon request throughout your flight. Films – again, the same, but your screen is bigger and the headphones are often ‘head’ phones, instead of earbuds. Also, all the blankets and pillows you could want.

After that, just relax and fly, it’s comfort all the way. 

Oh, almost forgot, Business and First Class lounges before you board. There’s a buffet, free drinks, comfy seats, big-screen tellies and more. Economy have those plastic cinema chairs from the 1980’s and a wander around the closed Duty-Free area to entertain them pre-boarding. 

So, now that you’re fuming and shaking your fists at a world where all airplane seats weren’t created equal, here are a few hints and tips to taking that step beyond the curtain and sitting in the plush seats up-front. 

Watch for the Open Seat

If your economy seat is near the front of the plane, hopefully within growling distance of Business Class, watch for the cabin door to close. If there’s an unoccupied Business or First Class seat, simply ask the flight attendant if you can move. Make sure you’ve greased the wheels a little before you ask, though. A smile and joke, it all helps. It’s no skin off the attendant’s nose; you just have to give them a reason to do it.

Air Miles

Not all, but most airlines have a points system in place; if you fly regularly enough, your account will start to look pretty good. The beauty of air miles is that you can use them at pretty much any point pre-boarding. Upgrades are often cheaper when purchased with points and many credit cards in the USA have an air miles point accumulation element to them. In the UK, you might want to take a look at Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Lloyds Bank. 

Check Sites Carefully

Skyscanner and other comparison sites offer late and cheap flights. Just be flexible with the time and date you are willing to fly. 

Extra Tip: Clear your computer’s history and cache. Some sites index your search history and this can have a detrimental effect on your ability to find cheap flights. 

Car Rental

Many airlines have deals with rental companies and you can earn and spend your Air Miles with them. 

Note/Warning: Air Miles expire! Keep an eye-out and read those frequent emails from your airline carefully – it’s often a reminder.  

And lastly, visit eurochange before you set-off for the airport. Our rates are substantially better than those you’ll find when you get past the security lines and you’ll have a little extra to spend.
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