Was Business Class to/from Europe All It’s Cracked Up to Be? Our Perspectives as First-timers

A few weeks ago, my family traveled to and from Europe in lie-flat business class seats. This was kind of a big deal for us, as none of us have ever flown in those seats before. The seats also cost quite a lot of points and miles for our group of six people. Was it worth it?

Our Flights and Costs

I detailed how I booked these flights in posts last year, but it’s worth reviewing.

All six of us flew Air France from DFW to Paris. Each ticket was 56,000 miles plus around $200 in taxes. I used Capital One points and Air France Flying Blue miles from my Bank of America Air France card.

For the return flights, we split into two groups. Four people flew in United Polaris seats from Zurich to Chicago for 60,000 miles each + $55. We transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United plus we used United miles from our Chase United cards.

My daughter and I flew on British Airways from Geneva to London to Dallas using Alaska Airlines miles from our Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit cards. The seats cost 60,000 miles + $400 each.

In total, for six people, we spent 576,000 miles + around $2300 cash for six round-trip lie-flat business class seats. So yes, that’s a huge outlay of miles and cash.

What We Liked About Business Class

Obviously, the seats were a huge hit. All three airlines had lie-flat seats, and I slept for about two hours on each of my flights. I rarely sleep on airplanes when I’m in a “regular” seat, as I keep falling over even when I have a neck pillow.

Business class seat on Air France

Even when we weren’t sleeping, we all agreed that it was really nice to be able to stretch out our legs and put our feet on the foot rest. We didn’t feel antsy during the flight or feel the need to have to walk around. Our legs could get plenty of stretching and movement right from our seat.

The amenity kits, pillows, blankets and food were all an upgrade from Economy class. However, I can’t really compare since we only experienced what we got.

Aside from the on-board experience, I really appreciated the business class benefits on the ground. We got priority check-in at the airports. For international flights, since we had to show passports and vaccine cards, the lines for check-in can get quite long. The priority lines saved us quite a bit of time.

In addition, we got priority plane deboarding, which enabled us to get at the front of the crowd for immigration lines in both direction. Our bags were also tagged as priority, so they came off the baggage claim in the first batch. After a long flight, it was nice to get our things quickly and move on.

If we had to rank our business class experiences:

#1–United Polaris

#2–Air France

#3–British Airways (old configuration)

I’ll write more detailed reviews of each flight soon.

So, Was it Worth It?

100% Yes! With the extra legroom, few hours sleep on the plane and the priority lanes on the ground, our travel to and from Europe felt a bit less taxing. In addition, we actually looked forward to our flights home instead of dreading the foreshadowing of a cramped flight during the last few days of our trip.

If I had to pick just one way for business class, I’d choose to fly it on the way back home. We were so excited flying TO Europe that we didn’t get too much sleep anyway. On the flight home, we were more tired from our trip and appreciated the lie-flat seats even more.

All smiles in business class

But, let me make something clear. I WOULD STILL RATHER TRAVEL OVERSEAS IN ECONOMY CLASS THAN NOT TRAVEL AT ALL. These lie-flat seats were a luxury, for sure. But, having them is not a deal-breaker for my family. If we have the miles and cash to afford them in the future, we will definitely go for it. But, not having those seats would not stop me from going on a trip.

My family has another trip to Europe planned for next summer. And amazingly, I was able to book us in business class both ways again. But, I have no plans to do any fancy flying on shorter domestic flights. It’s all economy for us, even Spirit and Frontier.

Are business class seats worth the splurge for you on international flights? Sound off in the comments.

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