First Class vs. Business Class: Evaluating Value For Money

Let’s revisit the time-honoured First Class vs. Business Class debate. Those who that call airport lounges their 2nd home often wrestle between whether to book first-class or business-class fares.  While the most apparent differences, lie with the price (with First-Class being the more expensive of the two), as well as the comfort of the seats, and level of service; no specific standards exist within the airline industry as a whole.  Therefore, it’s imperative to understand whether you’re receiving enough value to justify the elevated price of a first-class fare.

Here’s our evaluation:

Domestic vs. Regional

There is a significant difference between domestic and regional first-class and international first.  For short-haul flights, passengers generally won’t see a tremendous distinction between first and business as the flight duration isn’t long enough, or the aircraft is not large enough to allow for many variations.  In addition, many airlines use older aircraft to service domestic and regional routes.  This translates to first and business class having very similar seating, privacy, TV sizes, menus and thus far less value for money on first-class fares.

International Business Class

Competition for passengers and new technology has created significant improvements in international business class.  Far exceeding the offerings of domestic first class, passengers can relax in luxurious seats that fully convert to lie-flat beds.  On the latest Boeing 777 aircraft, a staggered 2-4-2 pod-like configuration allows for enhanced privacy and uninterrupted work or rest.  Travellers will also have access to on-demand entertainment on larger TV screens as well as gourmet a la carte menus.  Boasting beautifully crafted dishes that incorporate culinary creations from around the world, meals are served by attentive staff and paired with a selection of fine wines.  Lastly, those flying with major airlines can make use of a network of business-class lounges around the globe.  With the combination of both incredible onboard and airport service, international business class travel offers great value for money.

International First Class

The ultimate in travel luxury, the first-class experience begins with access to exclusive first-only lounges at major international airports.  From showers to spa treatments, passengers can wait to board their flight in a haven of tranquillity.  Once onboard, personal suites in generous configurations create totally private spaces.  With beautiful extra-wide seats that transform into soft beds, long-haul flights provide all the luxuries of home.  Watch on-demand videos from personalized wide-screen televisions or dine on made to order cuisine, prepared in a state of the art galley.  While some airlines are opting for hybrid first/business classes, many are investing substantially to maintain their first-class product.  The demand for it remains on major European and Asian routes where there is still a market segment willing to pay for first-class fare prices.

The Last Word

As for the ultimate question: Is first-class worth it?   Our market experts suggest that it often depends on the airline.  Generally, those with in-demand first-class fares such as Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa have created enough of a distinction between their business and first product through additional luxury and higher levels of personalized service so that high prices intersect with value.

How to Incorporate a Holiday into your Next Business Trip

If you have ever felt like you spend more time in the air than on the ground, it might be time to add a little fun to your next business trip.  Whether it is a day trip out in the city, an added leg to your journey or bringing along a spouse or friend, there’s a lot of great ways to get more than quality work out of your travel.

Bring a Partner

Travelling for business can be a lonely affair.  With impersonal airports and hotel rooms, the warmth of home certainly lacks at times.  Consider inviting your significant other, or a friend to come along on your next trip.  Even if you have to entertain clients, have meetings, or work in the evenings, you’d be surprised at how much better your trip can be when you experience it with a companion. While you’re working they can book a tour, explore the city, or indulge in a fun activity.  Best of all, when you’ve got some spare time, you can go have some fun together.

Extend your Stay

Arriving a few days before or staying a few days after your trip, can enable you to explore the city you’re working in.  So often, travellers leave directly after business is wrapped up and miss an opportunity to see incredible new places inexpensively.  Book in some “days off” and explore the city.  Experience incredible sights and amazing local cuisine, or try something you’ve always wanted to do.

Add a Holiday

Even if the place you’re travelling to for work isn’t very exciting, adding a holiday to somewhere interesting close by can add significant value.  Book a regional flight, take a train, or hire a car and travel to a point of interest.  With the major travel time already out of the way, this is a fantastic way to enjoy an extra holiday.

Save with Air Canada Corporate Rewards

Air Canada Corporate Rewards

It’s no secret that I love Air Canada. They’ve come a long way from the dark days of poor service, old aircrafts and the high fares that was happening 10 years ago. These days I find them competitively priced, flying plenty of direct routes to many major hubs, and offering a quality of service that is much better than any other North American airline. Oh and lots of nice new aircrafts too! On top of this, they have a great frequent flyer program aptly called Air Canada Corporate Rewards (I’m saving my points for Hawaii!). The inclusive Maple Leaf Lounges are a welcomed oasis to relax and get space to get some work done while waiting for your flight. I’m always confident when recommending my clients to Air Canada.

One of the first travel solutions I always discuss with new clients is Air Canada Corporate Rewards (ACCR). It’s an easy way to access near-instant benefits, with no effort on our clients’ part. ACCR is a FREE program that offers perks to businesses and their travellers for travel booked with Air Canada and other Star Alliance airline partners. Depending on the spend threshold your company reaches, you could be eligible for discounted airfares, free seat selection, eUpgrade credits to use to upgrade to business class, Maple Leaf Lounge passes, meal vouchers and much more. All for booking travel on the same Air Canada flights you were already booking.

Many Canadian business travellers already prefer to fly with Air Canada because of their robust frequent flyer program (Aeroplan), good direct flight options, and their many connections within Canada and around the world. ACCR enhances their experience by giving them access to more perks while allowing them to collect miles and status as they already had been before. It’s also a great way to introduce new travellers to Air Canada and their frequent flyer program, and get them earning rewards and enjoying perks much sooner!

Air Canada Corporate Rewards is best suited to companies that travel frequently using Air Canada and their partner airlines. The company must be based in North America. There’s no minimum spend to qualify, but I recommend it for companies that spend at least $20,000 per year as that is the threshold at which discounts and other rewards kick in.

TOP 3 BENEFITS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
• Savings of up to 5% off airfares in flex class or higher
• Complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge memberships to reward employees or for executive use
• Air Canada’s reporting which complement’s those provided by your travel Manager

TOP 3 BENEFITS FOR YOUR TRAVELERS
• Earn Aeroplan miles and Altitude status by flying Air Canada & partners
• Receive discounted or free preferred seat selection, for better seats
• Receive eUpgrade credits for additional ways to upgrade to business class

HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Your Worldgo Travel Manager can easily enroll your company so there is no extra work to be done on your part. To reach out to us today, click here.

Your trusted Travel Manager,
Jessica Bentley

 

Dual Citizenship Holders Must Have Valid Canadian Passport

Effective September 30, Canadian citizens with dual citizenships holders will only be allowed to fly into the country if they have a valid Canadian passport. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada spokesperson Lindsay Wemp said that is the only acceptable travel document for the purpose of air travel.

“What is changing is that the Government of Canada is implementing a new electronic system to assist airlines in verifying that all travellers have the appropriate documents to travel to or transit through Canada by air,” she said.

“Air carriers are obligated by law to confirm that all persons seeking to travel to Canada carry both proofs of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid Canadian passport satisfies these requirements for Canadian citizens, and is the only acceptable travel document for the purpose of air travel.”

Presently, Canadian citizens with dual citizenships can use the passport of the other country to enter Canada by air if they can provide proofs of residency in Canada, such as a driver’s license and Canadian citizenship card.

Last year Ottawa introduced the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) an entry requirement for all visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada. US citizens are exempt.

However, starting September 30 dual citizens may no longer use the passport of the other country to return to Canada.

A handout has been distributed at airports of entry, along with a media and social-media blitz via Canadian overseas missions since March of this year.

Global Affairs Canada officials have also notified registered Canadian citizens abroad of the upcoming change by email by email and through their websites.by email and through their websites.

 

Inside Your Travel Policy & Understanding Hotel Rates

For clients who frequently require accommodation for travelling employees, having a well-negotiated travel policy that factors in hotel pricing rates, will translate directly into measurable savings for your business. While Worldgo has access to exclusive globally negotiated hotel rates, it’s important to understand how hoteliers set their room rates, as well as what they mean, so you can work with your travel manager to develop a high-performing travel policy.

Broadly speaking, there are four distinct types of hotel rates available at any given time.

  1. Best Available Rate (BAR)
    A popular revenue management technique used by hotels around the world, Best Available Rate is determined by expected room demand as influenced by local events, time of year etc. As such, this rate fluctuates nightly and represents the best non-negotiated rate available at the time of booking. BAR is sometimes referred to as Best Unrestricted Rate (BUR) and Best Flexible Rate (BFR).
  2. Last Room Availability (LRA)
    Under LRA, a special client rate has been pre-negotiated with the hotel for all rooms in a specific category group. Therefore, any room that falls within that category up to and including the last room available, will be priced at that predetermined rate.
  3. Non-Last Room Availability (NLRA)
    NLRA is an agreement between a hotel and client whereby the negotiated rate is available to travellers only at the discretion of the hotel. This means that during peak periods, hotels can block NLRA rates and charge a higher rate to maximize revenue.
  4. Dynamic Pricing
    Dynamic pricing is simply a discounted rate off the BAR rate. For organizations that reach a certain room night volume, a fixed discount can be negotiated with the hotel. Under this pricing structure, the discounted rate fluctuates in line with BAR fluctuations.

The Benefits of Contracted Hotel Rates

If your business is a high volume accommodation user, you may be eligible to negotiate a contract rate. While volume targets and spend thresholds vary with local market conditions, generally speaking, if your organization produces 100 room nights per annum, you can negotiate a contracted rate. In certain key global markets, such as New York, minimum room night commitments can be as high as 500 before a hotel will extend contracted rates.
Once a contract is in place, the hotel will offer your firm a rate based on LRA or NLRA. Which rate the hotel offers is based on a variety of factors including volume commitments, market conditions etc.

While LRA is usually a premium rate, it ensures last room availability at your predetermined contact rate within that room category. If your agreement is based on NLRA, the nightly rate may be lower than LRA, however, if the hotel becomes fully booked this rate will be closed out and you’ll be subject to the BAR rate at the time of booking.

With an endless array of third-party websites, you might stumble across a cheaper last minute rate. Before booking through these channels, it’s important to understand the benefit of using your contracted rate, even though it may be more expensive.

Firstly, booking online doesn’t count towards room night targets for your organization. So while booking through a website may save you money in the short run, over the long run, you are diminishing your firm’s ability to garner even better-negotiated rates. Secondly, contracted rates have built-in flexibility ideal for business travellers such as 24 hour or same-day cancellation. Finally, if you’re meeting is cancelled unexpectedly, online rates will often be non-refundable leaving your business on the hook for extra travel expenses.