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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Flying Business Class Overseas

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

This post is for those who have never flown in business class on an international flight. I realize many have and your experiences and routines are different than mine.

I usually fly business class when I fly overseas. There can be up to 5 classes of service these days. First class, business class, premium economy, economy., and basic economy.

I have flown in first class maybe 5 times but I don't think it's worth the incremental cost, even though I use points to pay for the flight. see post: (

So usually I fly business class.

Most people are familiar with first class from domestic flights. Either by flying in it or walking through it. But most first class seats on domestic flights are nothing like their counterparts on an international flight. They're usually not comparable to business class seats on these larger planes,

Some of my business class seats:

Here business class is a pod with complete privacy

I prefer the seats with window and aisle access

Often pajamas are provided along with slippers and toiletries. Your large, private screen with choice of dozens of movies, music, and tv shows.

On this JAL flight I enjoyed lobster roll. Wonder if they're from Maine?

I chose beef tenderloin this day.

The seats can be quite roomy

On this ANA flight I took a photo with the flight attendant. She was embarrassed but was happy to oblige. I would only do this on an international flight as domestically flight attendants are quite sensitive about pictures (for good reason).

It's pajama time

The first thing I do when I board the plane is change into pajamas. Business class flights used to provide these all the time, but not as much these days, so I bring my own.

I'm usually the only one, or one of the few to do this immediately upon boarding. I've seen many business men wear their suit the entire 16 hour flight. How comfortable can that be?

I'm too clumsy these days. I'm often spilling something during the course of the flight. When I land I want cleaner, fresher clothes. So about 30 minutes prior to landing I go back in the bathroom and change back into my regular clothes (not a suit).

I'm not a good sleeper anytime. But especially on a plane. Often the flight attendant will offer to make your bed. The seat folds down to lie completely flat, and the attendant will place a sleeping mattress on it. It's quite comfortable, but I still struggle to sleep more than 30 minutes or so.

Time to put up my feet and relax!

If you pay for a business class ticket to Asia, the cost is usually on the order of 4 to 5 times the cost of an economy ticket. Personally I would never pay $7,500 or so for the experience.

But I use points for these flights. The incremental point difference is often only about 2 - 2 1/2 x an economy ticket if you fly during off peak times.

I always fly off peak. Not only because flights are less expensive (point wise), but also because there are less tourists at your destination.

If I were to pay for my own ticket I would almost always fly economy or premium economy. But when I'm getting the flight at 3 cents on the dollar (see How I fly Free Part 7);

Then I almost always fly business if an award ticket is available.

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