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Why Is First Class So Expensive and Is It Worth It?


Anyone who flies semi-frequently knows that airfare grows more expensive year-over-year. But why? What happened to international (or even domestic) flights under a grand?

Many factors contribute to today’s high ticket prices. For one, a lack of competition. Consider that only two major Canadian airlines exist and four American. Less competition means a smaller pricing war. Even if these airlines undercut each other more aggressively, operational costs continue to rise. Fuel and security, for instance, both influence running costs.

Yet the prices airlines set seem flexible. If you were to ask every person aboard how much they paid, the range would be vast. This is one reason first class is more expensive: not everyone will pay full fare for it. Those that do can at least enjoy the exclusivity and privacy that comes with the price tag.

Who Pays For First Class in Full?

First class comprises three types of people: frequent fliers, businesspeople and high-earners. The cost associated attracts those living luxuriously. Likewise, the enhanced service suits the professional culture. First class is quieter, less turbulent, more comfortable and more spacious. For this reason, big companies often pay for first-class travel when sending employees abroad. This means that most first-class travellers don’t foot their own bills.

Interestingly, anyone can get into first class without breaking the bank. offers some tips on getting an upgrade. From asking to flirting to befriending an airline employee, the article proposes some humours and effective tactics. If none of them works, the next question you might ask is how worthwhile is first class?

The Perks of Flying First-Class

An editorial on Forbes argues that first class comes with more than just a status. First class comes with incentives for businesspeople and frequent fliers alike.

  • Networking: If first-class attracts a professional demographic, then sitting in this area is a networking opportunity.
  • Points: Airlines that count points more than miles will award more points per first-class ticket, helping you reach higher tiers in the program faster.