Economy vs. First Class: Is the Price Difference Worth it?

Plane seat
Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash

As if air travel weren’t inherently stressful enough, having to squeeze into crowded rows with minimal legroom can make flying even more uncomfortable. To avoid putting up with such minimal space, some passengers will opt to buy seats in first class, but what exactly do these tickets include aside from a bit more room to move around?

While the specifics do vary a bit by airline, there are a few benefits common to most first-class tickets that can completely transform the travel experience. If you’ve ever wondered about what actually distinguishes first class from economy and whether first-class tickets are worth the splurge, read on to learn more about some things that set the two apart.


First-class cabins typically provide passengers with spacious seats that can recline more fully than their economy counterparts. The extra legroom allows for greater comfort, especially on long-haul journeys. In contrast, economy class seats are designed for efficiency, providing adequate space for shorter trips but often with less legroom and limited recline options.

Service and Amenities

From dedicated check-in counters to priority boarding, first-class passengers tend to be offered a higher level of personalized service before they even get on the plane. Onboard, they may receive more meal options and a wider selection of complimentary beverages. Some airlines will also provide first-class passengers with additional amenities such as cozy blankets and noise-canceling headphones. Economy class passengers receive standard services and complimentary meals or snacks, depending on the airline and flight duration.


Some first-class cabins will feature larger personal screens with a broader range of entertainment options than those available in economy. Additionally, some airlines now offer Wi-Fi connectivity to first-class passengers free of charge. While economy class passengers also have access to in-flight entertainment, the options may be more limited, and Wi-Fi is usually available at an additional cost.