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  • JonathanCohen09

    I would be very interested to hear how my fellow posters calculate value for money when it comes to air travel?

    The reason I ask is that I was having a conversation with a group of good friends of mine who are frequent travellers like a lot of us who are posters on this forum and the conversation came round to value for money and whether or not we get it from any of the airlines we choose to fly with.

    For example, if you pay for a J class ticket on any carrier are you getting value for the money that you have paid? Is there anyone who thinks that you get value for money if you pay for a ticket in F class. In general posters on this forum do not feel that you get value for money if you pay for a C class ticket in Europe but is that the view held by everyone or do some people feel that there is value for money for business class in Europe.

    If possible I would like this thread to focus on all of the legacy carriers that posters may use, I do not want this thread to be about BA versus the rest as that is not why I am posing the question.

    Do LCC’s offer better value for money than the full service carriers taking everything into account?

    I know that this is a big topic with many variables but I wanted to start a discussion to see where it leads as it is a topic that interests me greatly, some of the work that I have been doing recently has been around corporate travel policy and how to get the best bang for your buck and I work for a global business so there are many things that need to be taken into account.

    I look forward to hearing what others have to say?


    5-8 hours flying (daytime especially)

    Premium economy is a sweet spot for me, be it BA, AC, Norwegian (particularly good) or whoever.

    Costs about 50% more than economy and is a lot better experience.

    I believe that is where the LCCs will attack on long haul.

    Short haul

    Commodity product, buy a direct flight whether it is legacy or LCC, look for value.

    However, I post as the owner of a micro business and my view may not be aligned with employees of a large corporation.


    I paid €500 for MXP – FRA – OPP (Porto) per ticket return in Business with Lufthansa. This was about €180 more than Economy. For this we got the middle seat between empty. An excellent meal with drinks on both sectors and could have taken 2 cases of 32kgs each as well as two cabin bags each. I thought this was excellent value especially compared to TAP at €1,300 each for a direct flight.


    Interesting topic, Jonathan. Could we modelise value for money? Well obviously airlines are doing their utmost for this to be challenging. Plus, in addition to fares and service, we must enter into the equation points and status… So we end up taking less rational decisions, some of us having our own rules.

    On European flights, and I hate to write it, airlines are giving value to their business class. It is of course not about the seat, but rather about the rest (fast track, lounge and skipping the BoB). Unless I have the status, I am tempted to go for business class. Key decision factor: price difference.

    Long haul: business class offers a real difference. I might accept an additional stop to reduce the costs, but that’s about it.

    Bottom line: yes, we are too often conned…


    In May 1977, I went to visit my soon to be in laws in Durban (from Manchester). The cost of the return economy ticket was £416.
    Air France have just sent me an e mail saying if I want to travel in November it is £460.
    According to the inflation tables £100 in 1977 is worth £585 today. That would make the ticket cost around £2400!!!!
    I think we have lost sight at the value for money we get when flying. You only have to look at the Inter City Rail fares to confirm this.


    Excellent point above.

    I have a list of fares on BEA from 1960. A typical return fare from London to most European cities was about £40-50. In today’s terms I think that would equate to about £1000, but using LCCs it is still possible to fly for the same amount of pounds today. Flying then was really only for the elite (happy days!) so is much better value now, although it was then a far more civilised and dignified experience, and that must have a value.

    For me on longhaul, Premium Economy is the best value on the aircraft, and I will only fly Business if I can get a very cheap fare, particularly when it’s on a third rate carrier with manky old equipment (I’m not of course mentioning the unmentionable by name.)


    Great thread. As someone who has just started their own business and has to travel all over APAC I have to weigh up the value verses safety verses reliability etc. So gone are the days of J or PE travel generally, I hub from SIN so there is a premium from lets say KUL but as I wont fly MH anymore as they are frankly the most unreliable airline in the region I will pay a small premium to ensure on time departures.

    I generally dont fly LCCs for business but absolutely do so for leisure, the problem is pure reliability as times get stretched enormously if they start to run late throughout the day.

    I am always looking for a bargain when it comes to long haul and generally you will find a deal if you are prepared to shop around.

    So in short, I believe if you are smart you will get value for money and as this can take many forms so I am satisfied


    It’s purely a judgement call. I only fly J or F on “long haul” – that includes flights of 3+ hours or more for me. J class is a no-brainer, cash or points being the only real decision to make! The personal space, comfort, badge allowances, service & points make it super value.

    Short haul? I will never fly LCC as there is (in my opinion) a certain lack of dignity about being packaged/herded through the “process” & treated like a moron (in some cases, not all) plus IME, a certain clientele I do not wish to engage with. Snobbish? Maybe, but I do not care. Euro/Asian short haul Y is OK on legacy carriers but if I can justify the cash (generally I can), or use points, I will upgrade to J.

    Long haul F does offer some value – bizarrely BA does offer v good value in F during sales. I paid about £1600 rtn in F LHR-AUH-LHR this year – J was “only” £400 rent cheaper – & I will NEVER fly BA’s crappy J product until they sort out the crappy seats & catering fleet wide!


    Good thread,

    I have never paid for First class, only having used it on free or point upgrades. I dont see the value in such a huge cost difference between F and J. That said, I would guess it depends on your personal wealth a lot where 10K for a seat may not be a lot of money.
    In terms of value to me personally I tend to think of the total cost difference and that can cover many factors such as timing of the flight. If it’s an overnight then I am not interested in WIFI, but if daytime then WIFI is a big saver as I can work (x$ per hour) instead of landing to 100+ emails then burning through roaming costs on the drive to hotel or away from home (if that made sense) There are certain decisions I can only make and sometimes 12 hrs. on a plane can make all the difference. That said it’s a guide only, so if a cheap flight comes along without WIFI, or the timing is not great, or the journey long such as doing an ex EU run then the saving could well out way missing the extras. I guess what I am trying to say is each flight is based on its own merits and what I need to do. I don’t get a spreadsheet out to calculate it, takes me about 2 mins to decide. Certainly, I have taken expensive options in the past through necessity. EK comes in for criticism recently on standards etc but once I weigh in the car service, WIFI, lounges ticket price etc then it’s my carrier of choice going east despite sometimes the timing not being great.
    On short hauls, up to 3hrs I almost always fly economy, but even here I do a quick mental math. $50 for a seat and nothing else on an LCC, or $150 with an established brand where I can use the lounge and luggage, seat choice because of status, I get points, flexibility etc. but sometime the gap is too much. Been hunting flights from HKG to SGN and a couple of internals VN ones right at the autumn new year and the main carriers are £300+ on some internal legs, but Viet jet comes in at under $50! So, it’s a no brainer even if there are higher risk of delay etc


    I believe a lot of mid to large corporations will determine value for money by the number of hours you have to travel and what is expected from you when you arrive at your destination. Short haul business class provides both the employee and the company very limited benefits overall due in my view to the improving service, low ticket prices from LLC’s and the relatively limited travel time. I also question the benefits of business and first class from East Coast America to Europe. The flight time, the length of time it takes to provide the on board service leaves little time to benefit from the additional comforts provided unless you need to grab some quality sleep as you are needed at a meeting the following day. I believe that economy plus is evolving in a positive way with good seats and improved food selection at a relatively low cost versus the business fare. I suspect that this will be the travel standard for many businesses on flights eight hours and less. Its when you need to go ultra long haul or a destination that involves multiple stop overs. This is in my view when the level of class taken in an important consideration.


    For me and I decide on most of my own personal and business travel.. I judge value of ticket on

    Value for money = Price paid for the benefits received..

    For each journey, my value is for the following benefits:

    Long haul:

    * I set my price points in business class (and I couldn’t care less whether the ticket code is J, Z or I class). For Asia I try to get below £1,500 and for the USA (east coast) around the £1,300

    * Flat bed

    * Flight time (I try to avoid the short east coast to Europe flight schedules, by choosing longer sectors for better sleep)

    * I collect and use avios so, my value is in O/W

    * I consider the value of more space in the upstairs cabins of the 380 and 747

    * multi sectors do create value (for me)

    * The value of a decent lounge on layovers of 2 hours or more (HKG is a prime example)

    Short haul:

    * most of my European flight are covered by one world through avios, so I try to get as much value out of my payment currency for short haul, avios

    * I consider it a value in being able to get a seat on the flight I need to the least amount of money. Sure I prefer row 1, but sitting in an aisle seat in economy for an hour or so is not the end of the world.

    * I do not consider inflight catering to have any value (for me) on short haul, therefore, I do not consider what will be offered

    * schedule – there is added value for me, in my airline of choice having a good schedule to the destination on my choice

    * as Heathrow is getting busier and busier, I tend to use LCY more. I notice, especially to FRA, flight times from pushback to kerbside can reduce by about 30 minutes – another value I consider

    As for First Class tickets – I would only consider value, being price points and accumulation of avios. For Asia, I would consider First Class for around £2,200 but I don’t think I would consider any price point for First class to the East Coast.. The value of a flat bed (for me) remains the same whether you are in First or Business..

    Of course Corporate travel departments will probably value with a totally different set or parameters.


    Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. The argument applies to anything we buy more so products with a “higher ” price point. More importantly today I would suggest it is the “whole experience” which in respect of a flight comprises amongst others ease of booking , check in, security, lounge access, gate management, boarding, the flight F&B service and baggage collection. Any malfunction in anyone of those stages undermines the value. If we eat at a 3 star Michelin restaurant and pay say GBP 200 a head is it twice or three times the value when you pay GBP 60 or GBP 100 a head in your favourite restaurant for the same meal?The guy who spent GBP 25,000,000 on his daughters probably didn’t bat an eyelid. Like others here for a flight within UK/Europe economy or
    lcc. I only ever fly BA if, as they do, have a very low fare to Asia in “J” around EUR 2300.That is all the CW product is worth in my opinion particularly as I can fly MAD-HKG-SIN with CX for EUR 2400 regularly and a far superior product and service.


    My VFM criteria are unchanged from what I have said before on this forum.

    I set a price range based upon two values and seek to maximise the premium experience in that range.

    The lower end is twice the cheapest economy fare on a route. This is basically me saying that I will pay double to be comfortable.

    The upper end is the fully flex economy fare. This is more a business consideration whereby if a client says to me “get here immediately” then I have to be prepared to pay this otherwise the contract is probably not worthwhile.

    As an example, take London to New Orleans.

    I know from experience that the cheapest economies are rarely less than £500 return so the low end is twice this making it £1000 return.

    The current fully flex economy with BA/AA is £2250 so my VFM range is £1000-2250

    My wife and I have just booked a premium economy return on this route for £900 each so this is fantastic value for money. An earlier attempt to book which fell through had a premium economy out/business back for £1280 return which we intended to book but there was a glitch and it had disappeared when we sorted the glitch. Currently W out/C back is £1650 return which is still VFM on my definition but we felt the extra wasn’t justified this time.

    Interestingly I find myself doing the same things with train journeys. I am currently booking a return from Bath to Bolton and the standard class advance return is £60 and the first class off peak return is £169. But I have found a split ticket option to travel first class for £100 so that is VFM for me.


    A bit like others, I like to put a target price on premium travel cabins factoring in additional avios / tier points, lounge access, value of additional work and sleep time etc. For short haul, I would never pay more than £100 a leg extra to fly up-front. For long haul, probably up to about £250, although recently paid £500 for an on the day upgrade from W to J back from Asia on BA (wished I hadnt based on the quality of the product). I often ask myself, would I pay £x for a hotel room for the night? The answer is often, if Im with my wife at a stunning hotel then yes, but for 4 hours poor sleep, probably not.

    Like others on here, I work for myself and W is normally the sweet spot for me. I can get some sleep, some work, and feel Im suitably away from the masses to not get too grumpy! I can live without the lounge and console myself with some smoked salmon and a glass of Chablis pre-boarding!


    I would also add to that that like others I agree that travel has come down in costs massively in real terms so yes on the face of it we get value for money.That said onboard products differ massively and what we get in W today used to be business when I started flying 25 years ago, likewise business class product today (hard product at least) is what we used to get in F so it is hard to compare.

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