Is Flying Business Class to Asia Worth it?

Flying soon from Toronto YYZ to ICN Seoul so, most likely Asiana but maybe Korean Air.

Read a few of the websites/blog post reviews for both Airlines -Seems nice. First/Suite Class seems a little bit lacking in value proposition for me. But feel like I’m kind of at a point in life where I want to fly upgraded just to have an experience with it.

But from your experience as a nomad is it really worth doing?
… Maybe I’ve been home for too long haha.

If you find economy very uncomfortable and won’t miss the money, then yes.


It’s worth doing at least once so you know what you’re missing out on :smile:

I used to fly business & first class when I didn’t pay for it myself but now I’m too cheap. But I find it next to impossible to get work done in economy because it’s so cramped and it does take longer to get over the flight.

When I fly Air Asia and other airlines that have the option, I will pay extra to get an empty seat beside me. That way I can spread out and relax, although the planes are designed so those damn armrests never fold up completely.

Other than the space, the other advantages of the front of the plane don’t really help me - fancy food and extra luggage aren’t worth the expense for me.

I have a friend who is huge, built like a lineman in American football; he finds going business class essential for every flight. Another friend found that for one flight where he needed a lot of baggage – an international long-term move – it was not much more to go business class than fly economy & pay for excess baggage.

Another way to make a long trip more bearable is to break it up. e.g. instead of direct Toronto-Seoul, add in a day or two in Vancouver.

Smokers with long flights should carry nicotine gum,

Nicotine gum is worse than smoking withdrawal! I use an inhaler (not an e-cig) for nicotine emergencies.

If money isn’t tight, I think business class is the way to go. If you need to stay on a budget, but still need comfort, do some research and plan wisely. I’ve flown from the US to Thailand 8 times. The first was regular economy (didn’t pick the seat dooh!) and it was a horrible experience. The second time, I wanted to spring for business or first class, but was shocked by the prices… Most economy flights were in the $900-$1,500 range. First was in the $12,000-$15,000 range, and business was in the $5,000-$7,000 range. After much shopping around and moving dates around, I settled on business class with China Airlines for $4,200ish. It was nice to stretch out and it was a much better experience, but I don’t think it was worth $4k. Over the course of a few years, and 6 more flights, I refined a nice balance of comfort, and price. What works for me is: good airline (late model plane, with good seating arrangement and tilt.) economy plus or comparable, aisle seat, emergency exit or bulkhead preferable, bathroom nearby, 2-4 hour layover leaves ample time for connecting, walking, stretching, eating etc., do plenty of stretching on plane, good quality neck cushion and earplugs, time flight to Asia arriving around midnight local time so that you are beat when getting to hotel and go right to sleep on local time. Anyway, thats my .02

I don’t think it’s worth the 5K+ price tag unless you have 30K+ monthly income and don’t fly frequently. To me, I am skinny and I sleep on the airplane so I don’t really mind the small space or the person sitting next me (as long as he/she is normal and polite).

Bit of a tough question to answer meaningfully because “is X worth the money?” is usually a matter of opinion. Here’s my opinion: I’ll usually fly business (or US domestic First) if it’s within ~125-150% of the price of economy, which means I’m probably in economy around 90% of my flights and business/US domestic First the other 10%. I’m young and fairly resilient, and, no matter what class you’re in, you’re still suck in a seat; other things equal, I’d rather pay for a shorter flight or one at a better time of day than for a more comfortable seat, especially at the premium normally asked for business class.

Following up

Well - I pulled the trigger with it and am quite happy to have the experience under my belt.

I realized what @dvc said:
“I’ll usually fly business (or US domestic First) if it’s within ~125-150% of the price of economy.”

IMO Is probably the most realistic evaluation on the whole situation if you are flying more than 5-6 times per year.

(I didn’t realize that my flight was infact only 134% more until well after I landed)

Also, business class fares originating in the US are ridiculously priced. You can get way better business class fares originating from Asia or Europe.

For example, an NYC->Barcelona->NYC itinerary might cost $3000++ but the same itinerary in reverse: BCN->NYC->BCN might cost around $1500. Pretty nuts the way this arbitrage works.

I’m never going to spend $4k on a biz fare if the economy costs $400. But if I can get business for up to 2-3x economy on a 8 hour+ trip I might consider it. Still, the price difference is hard to justify for a few hours of extra comfort. That’s what makes this a tough decision.

You should look into buying points and then using points for Business Class - the raw $ advantage can really be worth it ($2500 in points can equal a $5000 ticket).