Rajivpatel

BUSINESS COLUMNIST FOR SWISS RADIO AND TELEVISION

Follow Rajiv and watch his videos on Facebook and Twitter.

Rajiv Patel is economic attaché at the Embassy of India in Berne and business columnist for Swiss Radio and Television. He has a degree in finance from the University of Delhi and does management consultancy for large corporations worldwide. He enjoys cricket, sudoku and love songs.

Who has the best Business class?

Dear Rajiv,

Who has the best Business class?

Hermann B., Zurich

So sorry, I only fly First. But I confess, sometimes I do peek behind the curtains, just to get a glimpse of life amongst the plebs. And this is what I’ve observed.

If it’s legroom you’re after, Thai Airways’ Boeing 777-300ER offers 221 centimeters between each seat. That’s enough space to fit a pair of long legs, two large bags of lentils and half the extended family. No problem!

But maybe you’re like my auntie from Hyderabad, and wide seats are what you’re after. Then go for Singapore Airlines and their famous Airbus 380-800. The distance between armrests on a Business class seat – 86 centimeters – is twice as much as those lowly low-cost carriers in Europe offer. Truly, I pity the poor sods who travel on orange planes.

All top-rated airlines offer special perks in Business class. Cathay Pacific gives its customers free noise-cancelling headphones on every flight. British Airways lets you use a travel spa at airports. Swiss – well, the cheese is very good. And the white wine, yes.

As you know, the airline industry is in a bit of turmoil these days. Europe still has far too many carriers, and infrastructure costs are cripplingly high. In the meantime, the Gulf monarchies are being unfair competitors by pumping billions of petrodollars into operators like Etihad and Emirates. And you know what’s really unfair? The sheikhs get to look all over the Middle East and Southeast Asia to find the most gorgeous flight attendants. Swiss hires the most gorgeous people from Bümpliz or Niederbipp.

Whoever you fly with, don’t forget to collect those precious frequent traveller miles! Keep them for yourself: you’ve already given your company enough time and energy. Now just sit back and look forward to the ultimate reward all business travellers dream of: an upgrade to First class, with me. 

Follow Rajiv and watch his videos on Facebook and Twitter.

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