4 Lies You May Have Been Told About Flying Business Class


For many travelers, the business-class cabin has an air of mystery to it. It’s curtained off, and when you’re flying economy, you only get the occasional glimpse of it. It’s supposed to be luxurious, but what’s it really like?

People often share stories and rumors about flying business class. The problem is that much of what gets shared is completely inaccurate. While this is sometimes harmless, it can cause issues if you’d like to book business class and want to learn more about it first. Since I’ve flown this way quite a bit, I’m going to dispel the biggest lies I’ve seen about it.

1. The business-class lounge and cabin are good places to make connections

I once read that when you fly business class, the airport lounge and cabin are perfect for networking. Just start chatting with the person sitting next to you, and you could have your next “valuable business contact.”

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Maybe I’m just not hustling enough, but I’ve never felt the urge to start chatting with my fellow passengers. In many business-class cabins, part of the appeal is the privacy. You get your own enclosed seat area where you can watch a movie, read, or sleep in peace — without another passenger pitching their app to you.

While airport lounges are better for socializing, it’s still not exactly a big cocktail party. People are there to relax, and they usually stick to chatting with their own group.

2. You should dress the part

This dubious tip gets shared often. It’s business class, so apparently, you should dress to impress with an outfit that is at least business casual.

The business-class cabin is not a nightclub. There’s no special dress code, nor is there a doorman who won’t let you enter because you’re in leisurewear. It’s up to you. On long flights where I want to sleep, I usually wear joggers and a t-shirt. Comfort is my priority, not impressing people I’m never going to see again.

Some people suggest dressing well for your flight, and then changing to more comfortable clothes after you board. But an airplane bathroom usually isn’t the best place for an outfit swap. Even in business class, the bathrooms aren’t that spacious.

By the way, another related rumor is that you’re more likely to get upgraded if you’re well-dressed. Maybe in 1985, but that’s not how upgrades work now. Airlines sell upgrades first before giving them away. And when they give them away, they have an upgrade list based on everyone’s frequent flyer status. Having elite status matters a whole lot more than what you’re wearing.

3. You need to be rich to fly business class

At first glance, business-class prices may give you sticker shock. Normal business-class airfare to much of the world costs upward of $4,000, according to travel deals site Going. If you’re not a big earner, that’s a lot to spend on a plane ticket.

But you don’t need to pay those kinds of prices. I’ve been flying business class for years, and I’ve never paid anywhere near that much for a ticket. Instead of paying full price, I almost always pay in miles that I’ve earned using travel credit cards.

It’s also possible to find lower cash prices if you’re flexible and you shop around for deals. And there are flight deal subscriptions that will do the deal shopping for you. Going is one of them. For a yearly subscription fee, it will send you business-class flight deals out of your home airport.

4. It always has lie-flat seats

A lot of people associate business class with lie-flat seating, where you can turn your seat into a bed. While this is a common feature, not every business-class cabin offers it.

On shorter flights, business class normally has large recliner-style seats, like what you see in first class on domestic flights. Long-haul flights normally have lie-flat seats, but not always. Some airlines only offer recliner-style seats in business class, even on long flights.

You can find out what an airline offers in business class on its website. Airlines also usually let you know what type of seating you’ll get as you book your ticket. Another resource I like using for this is SeatGuru. You can plug in the airline and flight number for the flight you’re interested in, and SeatGuru will show you the seating configuration and the types of seats offered.

Business class is an amazing way to travel. If you’re interested in it, I’d recommend looking into credit cards that earn travel rewards so you can use points and book it at a lower cost. Make sure to check what type of seating you’ll get before you buy your ticket, and definitely don’t believe everything you hear about what to wear or making connections with your fellow passengers.

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