Is First Class Worth the Price

We hear a lot about airlines upping their game in first class these days, adding lie-flat beds, luxurious sleep kits and other amenities. And yet a friend of FareCompare told us about a recent first class domestic flight that “wasn’t special and wasn’t worth the money.”

Is First Class Worth It

In a recent column for the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney seems to agree there are times when elite seats aren’t so special:

“Sometimes first class means you get a 6-foot-long bed and a large entertainment screen in your personal suite. Sometimes first class means a skinny seat with a slight recline, no entertainment other than jokes from a chatty flight attendant and a snoring seatmate to climb over to get to the bathroom.”– The Middle Seat, 9-30-15

What First Class Costs

Since the vast majority of travelers prefer the cheapest flights possible, they may be unaware of the cost of first class. Let there be no doubt: It ain’t cheap.

Round-trip first class prices for a flight from Los Angeles to New York in late October ranged from $3,500 to $5,000 on one large airline, and from $2,400 to $5,000 on another. In comparison, the cheapest economy seats were in the $400+ range.

What you need to remember is many (perhaps most) first class tickets are purchased by companies for employees traveling on business and others are purchased with miles by elite travelers.

Are Expensive Seats Worth It

Is it worth it? Most of us would say ‘no’, no matter how many bells and whistles are included but for those who like their comfort – particularly on a long haul flights and are willing to pay for it – the WSJ journal raises some interesting questions.

All we can add is, before you fly first or business class, do a little research first – check with the airline to see what kind of aircraft you’ll fly and what kind of seats it has in the front of the cabin, then check with the experts at SeatGuru – so you will know exactly what you’ll get before you ding your credit card.


Updated: October 6, 2015