Crying babies, body odor, cramped spaces, unkempt lavatories, noisy conversations, subpar snacks--these are some of the things that make flying uncomfortable. Reddit threads are filled with horror stories about flights. One woman laments the time her baby's very unpleasant diaper exploded in her lap during take-off. No question that she had the worst time of everyone on that plane, but imagine having to sit next to her. Not. Fun. At. All.

Stoic people may accept these circumstances as par for the course and fly unfazed in economy. Other passengers hope that first and business-class tickets will be the fix-all solution. They spend significantly more money for comfort. In 2019, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal found that U.S. airlines were selling first-class tickets at 219% of the value of economy seats for domestic flights. Long-haul international first-class cost 434% more. Hypothetically, that comes out to $1000 versus $4340. So, the question remains, does spending that much more make travelers' experiences that much better? People are divided on the question. Read on to see what fans and critics of first-class are saying on Reddit.


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Reddit Fans Of First Class

Many Reddit users agree--first and business class offers more comfort and that makes it worth it. Many highlight how rested they feel upon arriving at their destinations, especially on long-haul flights. Consider this comment written in a thread about best flight experiences:

Then there's this glowing review whose writer obviously laments not having the funds to fly first class more often:

Finally, travelers also need to consider the food. This comment shows the amazing meal served in Cathay Pacific.

Not all first-class flights are created equal, though. First-class on domestic flights generally offers passengers more legroom, better entertainment, alcohol, and superior snacks. On international flights, first-class can mean a fully reclining seat that transforms into a bed, gourmet meals, and, for those flying Emirates, a shower.

Airlines in the US generally offer simpler meals than their overseas counterparts, even in first class. Some airlines even hire food scientists to ensure that their onboard meals are near perfection. This is one reason it's not the same to fly first class in Swiss International Air Lines or Emirates and Delta. Before purchasing a first-class ticket, travelers may want to compare the services provided by diverse airlines.

Every year SkyTrax gives out World Airline Awards which are something like Oscars, but for transport companies. Anyone shopping for a first-class ticket should start with these top ten winners for first-class airlines:

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Lufthansa
  3. Emirates
  4. ANA All Nippon Airways
  5. Air France
  6. Swiss International Air Lines
  7. British Airways
  8. Japan Airlines
  9. Etihad Airways
  10. Korean Air

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These Redditors Say Economy Is Just Fine, Thank You Very Much

Most people who choose to fly economy do it because they prefer to save money. They'd rather go out to a top-notch restaurant or visit a spa while on vacation than use a chunk of their budget for expensive seats. One Reddit user expresses just how ridiculous they think it is to waste money on first-class tickets:

Then there's this flier who wasn't impressed with first-class service at all:

Economy service varies just as much as first-class service. Flying economy with Singapore Air on an international flight is probably more luxurious than going first class on American Airlines. Some companies are more focused on providing great service while others look to keep prices down at all costs. The list of award winners for best economy airlines repeats many of the names previously mentioned.

  1. Japan Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. ANA All Nippon Airways
  5. Emirates
  6. Thai Airways
  7. Cathay Pacific Airways
  8. Qantas Airways
  9. Hainan Airlines
  10. Garuda Indonesia

This may mean that the airline that passengers choose is may have more impact on the quality of their journey than whether or not they choose first-class or economy. After all, first-class passengers still have to share the aircraft (and its lavatories) with other fliers. It's hard to know whether those fully reclining seats are truly comfortable places to sleep. Consider what happened to this traveler:

The Consensus

First-class is usually more comfortable, but it's also significantly more expensive. There are a few people who may benefit more than others when they fly first class. Older fliers may need extra rest and comfort. With age, joints get stiff and blood clots form more easily. Tall people have a worse time with cramped spaces than shorter individuals.

For most travelers, though, the choice of economy or first class comes down to budget. Will purchasing a more expensive ticket take money away from getting to do other fun things while on vacation? If that's the case, it probably isn't worthwhile. On the other hand, there are a few lucky people (perhaps, the 1%) in this world that won't even notice the extra expense. By all means, anyone belonging to this group should splurge on first-class tickets whenever they decide to leave their personal jets and helicopters at home.

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