Vidosava Kuzmic compares business and economy class, and samples Luxair's brand-new business menu.
It is said that someone who has flown business once never goes back to economy. But how luxurious is business class? Which advantages do passengers have compared to the so-called ''cattle class''? And most importantly: what does it cost?
Eating at 10,000 metres
Luxembourg's national airline presented their new business class menu at the end of June. With the help of a Michelin-starred chef, Luxair's catering service have launched a new concept for in-air dining. With notable leanings towards a plant-based diet, the trend is to move away from animal proteins, while maintaining a selection of regional produce, said Philippe Pelletier, Manager of Luxair Catering.
Much thought has also been given to the preparation of the food, with several factors requiring attention. Pelletier explained that at 10,000 metres altitude, sweet and salty foods tend to reduce in taste, as our taste buds suffer from dryness, so many foods will have a less intensive taste on board a plane. Their meals will aim to be attractive, yet practical - easy to eat and without risk of too much mess.
Economy vs. Business
On-board dining is just one of the many differences between business and economy class. What other benefits are available for the increase in price? The rule of thumb is usually that a business class ticket will cost twice as much as an economy class ticket, but is it worth it? Vidosava Kuzmic flew to Rome and back to find out - business on the way out, economy on the way back.
The differences soon come to light, starting at ground level...
Luggage allowances in economy cover one piece of hold luggage up to 23kg, and one piece of hand luggage up to 8kg. The business class allowance is double that, with passengers able to take 2 suitcases weighing up to 23kg each, and two pieces of hand luggage. The check-in process is also significantly faster for business class passengers, at only 5 minutes compared to economy's 20 minute wait - saving passengers a fair amount of time.
Passport and security checks are also faster for business class, with passengers able to profit from "fast lanes" both in domestic and international airports.
While regular passengers wait at the gate before boarding, business class passengers are treated to their own lounge. With free food and drink, the lounge is an ideal place to while away the time before the flight, or to do some extra work.
Business class passengers take priority when it comes to boarding. They have the first seats on the aircraft and are also the first to disembark the plane upon arrival.
When booking a business flight, passengers are able to select their seat in advance. The amount of space available will depend on the plane model or the airline. On a Luxair plane, for example, a row of 3 will always have the middle seat left empty, this is the “next free seat policy”. However, there is not necessarily more leg room than economy on Luxair flights.
Although in economy class you're just one of many, in business class, cabin crew will address you by name. There are also specific cabin crew members for business class.
Reading material is available in both classes, although business has slightly more to hand.
The flight to Rome lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes, allowing plenty of time to get hungry. Economy passengers are offered a selection of sandwiches, which have recently undergone an overhaul.
And in business class, there's a whole new menu, served on china crockery.
Business class passengers do receive a number of perks, with comfort and flexibility being the most important.
However, the standard service in economy offers everything a traveller could need, with free food and an adequate baggage allowance. Whether you get enough bang for your buck is up to each airline, the plane and the length of flight.
No matter how you book your ticket, the end result is the same - everyone on the plane goes from A to B! Whether the extra cost for comfort and speed is worth it, is to be decided by each individual.