Business class was created to allow travellers to get work done as the journey progressed. While sitting in the main section of the plane will get you to your destination just the same, and hopefully generally do so on time, the lack of business services, crowded seats, crying babies and other inconveniences generally mean there’s too little room and too many distractions to concentrate on anything productive. Business class seats recline much farther than do cabin seats; on long flights this can make a huge difference. You will arrive at your destination rested and ready to close the deal, rather than being jet-lagged and thinking more slowly than the competition because of fatigue.
In recent years, the advent of ultra-low cost carriers like Southwest Airlines in the US and Ryanair in Europe has meant a dearth of higher-class seats. Some of the larger carriers toyed with the idea of eliminating business class seats, but eventually decided against it due to customer outcry. However, airlines like Continental, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines and Air New Zealand have gone ahead and eliminated first-class seats completely in favour of coach and a business class service. British Airways, Qantas and Air France have lowered the number of first-class seats and increased the numbers of business-class and coach seats.
For example, British Airways famously removed first-class seating from many of its routes several years ago, and now only offers first-class service on flights utilising Boeing 747s and 777s. All other planes in service offer only business class and coach. Business class, however, provides nearly all the same benefits as first class, and most travellers find the two classes quite comparable. Business class seats are also hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, cheaper than true first-class.
For those fliers searching for business class, the following airlines still provide that extra legroom in Europe: Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia, Icelandair, British Midland, KLM Royal Dutch, Lufthansa, SAS (Scandinavian Airways), and Swiss International Airline.
In North America, the following companies still offer business class service: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental, Delta, United Airlines and US Airways.
In Asia and the South Pacific, you can fly business class on Air India, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airlines, Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Asiana Airlines, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Qantas, and Virgin Australia.
If you need to fly to or from South or Central America, choose business class on Aerolineas Argentinas, Avianca, Copa Airlines or LAN Airlines.
African airlines with business class seats remain on Air Mauritius, Air Namibia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc, South African Airways, and Sudan Airways.
The Middle East has the following airlines with business class: El Al, Emirates Airways, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Middle East Airlines, Pakistan International, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, and Saudi Arabian Airlines.
To and from the Caribbean, you can choose from Air Jamaica or Caribbean Airlines for business class service.
Business class is a huge step up from coach service, and especially for long flights, business travellers would do well to balance the need to get business done upon arrival against the cost of a business-class fare.