First class – worth the splurge?

It’s hard not to fancy the idea of jetting off to your honeymoon destination in the first class cabin, glass of champagne in hand to toast your newly married status, and a smug smile for all those people crammed into economy behind you. Because that’s the kind of luxury that honeymoons are about, right? But if you’ve had a look at the first, or even business class, fares to your honeymoon destination and then looked at the economy price, you’ve probably experienced a bit of a sinking feeling. For example, a return for one person to New York on British Airways might cost around £400 in economy, but £2200 in Club and over £5000 in First. So we’re talking paying thousands of pounds more for the privilege of essentially being more comfortable.

Of course, flying business or first class is an entirely different experience to travelling economy. Chances are you’d arrive at your destination in a much better, more relaxed frame of mind, especially if your airline is one with flat beds. You’ll spend the flight less crammed in, enjoying better food and drink, friendlier service, and it’ll feel like an appropriately luxurious start to your honeymoon.

If you can afford it – then do it. But if booking tickets in business or first class (or even premium economy) is going to make the rest of your trip rather tight, don’t bother. It’s far better to spend your money on your accommodation and activities once you’re there than on the flights. Because, though flying in economy might not be quite the glamourous beginning that you quite envisaged, aside from a possible “thank goodness that’s over” when you step off the plane, it’s really not going to make or break your  honeymoon.

We travelled economy for our honeymoon, with Emirates, who are pretty good in terms of leg room and pleasant economy cabins. The worst thing was having to stop in Dubai at 5am – at the time it felt tortuous as we were both hungry and exhausted and still had an even longer flight to get through. But do we ever think about the flights when we talk about our honeymoon? No. Because the three days we spent in a luxury tented camp up by the Mozambique border, the chance to see, up close, some of the world’s most amazing animals, and the utterly fantastic, decadent meal we had near Plettenberg Bay all completely overrule any of the uncomfortable aspects about getting there.

But here’s a few things to bear in mind, which might make the idea of travelling in economy a little more pleasant:

  • Choose your airline wisely. Paying a little extra for an airline with more leg room and better in-flight amenities will make a fair bit of difference. This website has all the details you need on seat pitch, and look at the airline websites themselves to find out about what kind of in-flight entertainment they offer.
  • If you’ve got a choice between flying direct and flying indirect, choose the direct flight. This will invariably be more expensive, but it’s worth it if you can afford it – less travelling time, and less time hanging around dull airports while you wait for your next connection.
  • Contact your airline in advance and you’ll probably be able to order a bottle or a couple of glasses of champagne for your journey – who says that only rich passengers get to enjoy a bit of fizz?
  • Remember that you’ll be so excited about being married, and going on honeymoon, that the reality of sitting in a chair for hours probably won’t hit you until you’re almost all the way through it.

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