Is flying First Class worth it? What can I expect from the latest Business Class cabin? How much better is Premium Economy than flying Coach?
All fair questions for someone who’s never flown at the front of the plane. There are reasons why airlines separate their premium cabins from those travelling in Economy Class, and you can bet that adding mystery and intrigue plays a role. Who doesn’t want to see what’s being hidden from them?
Today, we pull back that dark, heavy curtain to give you a taste of the benefits of flying First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy with someone who sells these apartments in the sky exclusively.
Meet Julie Smigadis, Assistant Team Leader of our Flight Centre First and Business Queen West location in Toronto. Her travels have taken her to dozens of countries worldwide, from Australia to Vietnam, often in a premium cabin.
We caught up with Julie upon her recent return from Brisbane with Air Canada, to get the scoop on all things luxury. Enjoy!
How do you stay on top of the continuous enhancements airlines make to their First and Business Class cabins to offer the best option for your clients?
I believe that as a First and Business consultant, I have an obligation to keep very current with the ever-changing cabin configurations and enhancements of each airline. As a team, we have inspected Premium Economy and Business Class cabins at Pearson International Airport to best understand, first-hand, what we are offering our clients.
When a client is spending the money to upgrade, it’s important that we get it right for them, ensuring they are getting the seat they are expecting, or ideally, exceeding their expectations.
In Business Class, certain cabins have rear-facing seats, as well as ‘Honeymoon Pods’, where two Business Class seats are in proximity of each other, allowing two people travelling together to chat. Likewise, it’s important not to sit a single traveller who doesn’t want to be disturbed there. Understanding cabin configurations is essential in our business and imperative to servicing our clients properly.
What are airlines doing to differentiate their First and Business Class product?
It is the era of ultra-lux First and Business Class and I am loving all the work airlines are putting into these cabins. The ‘wow’ factor is in full effect.
Qantas is rolling out VR sets for First Class customers, Emirates has created a fully-enclosed suite, and Singapore Airlines has a full double bed in their suite. As they all try to one-up each other with amazing enhancements, the traveller is getting a state-of-the-art, cocooned experience that is more like a 5-star hotel room than an airplane seat.
First and Business travel is not just about the comfort or the seat, it is also about the elevated culinary experience. Can you tell us about the culinary experience on board?
One of my favourite stories is of my Air Canada Super Elite Status client calling me after getting off his Air Canada Dreamliner flight in Business Class, to tell me that his rack of lamb was one of the best he’d ever had.
He was raving that it was just as good as going to a Michelin star restaurant in a major city. Gone are the days of ‘airplane food’ in upgraded cabins. The food is just as much an experience as the lie-flat bed seats, soft leather and high-tech gadgets.
What does it mean to a customer to fly First or Business Class?
Besides the comfort, which is a major factor in choosing Business Class, it is mainly about the experience. First and Business Class cabins now offer guests the highest level of VIP treatment. Comfort, food, technology and service are all sky-high (no pun intended)!
How affordable is First and Business Class these days?
Well, if you have a great agent (like me!), they can source the best rates for Business and First Class seats, including some amazing contracted rates. Nowadays, travelling in these cabins is accessible to more than just the super-rich.
If you could fly in any First Class cabin tomorrow, which airline would you choose and why?
I would love to experience the new Singapore Airlines Suite Class. This isn’t Business Class and it isn’t First Class. It’s a whole new experience offering a fully-enclosed suite with a proper bed, lounge chair and cutting-edge technology.
I think they would need to kick me off the aircraft when we reached the destination because I wouldn’t want to leave willingly.
What’s the coolest First/Business Class Amenity Kit item you’ve ever gotten?
Etihad has a great amenity kit, with high-end products you’ll need to keep you fresh and comfortable during your flight, but their soft pajamas take it to another level of comfort.
Well, there you have it. Thanks, Julie!
Book your Premium Economy, Business and First Class flights with an expert. Visit Julie in-store or give her a call at 1844 801 6615 to book the flight of your life.