Cost versus comfort

Sizing up the value of business class

You’ve got to jet from New York to London to finalize the details of a major corporate deal. Do you pay $650 for a round-trip coach fare or $5,890 for business class?

The major airlines offer such great amenities of luxury and comfort for its business travelers that many executives incur the additional cost. Each major airline offers international business class flights as well as transcontinental business class and/or first class flights. “A lot of carriers have gone with a business/first service [meaning that there is just one premium class]. Yet, some others still have first [and business class],” says Patricia Yarbrough, president of Blue World Travel Corp.

The special features for international flights and some select transcontinental flights include fully reclining sleeper seats with electric controls and more legroom. In addition, business class includes priority check-in and baggage delivery, business lounge access, data ports, modem connections, personal telephones, five-course meals, premium alcohol, bi-lingual attendants and other amenities.

Who foots the bill for a business class ticket? According to The Survivor’s Guide to Business Travel by the International Herald Tribune (Kogan Page, $19.95), “The reality is that most corporations are still allowing people to travel business class on a long haul, but only on carriers where they have route deals.” In addition, there are corporations that allow frequent flyers to travel in business class while other employees fly economy. Moreover, companies may allow someone to fly coach if the ride is greater than six hours or if the corporation is concerned about security or safety for specific destinations. Find out about your company’s travel policy.

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