While I’m not saying that flying business class on Cathay Pacific is a bad thing — quite the opposite actually — the product has a world-class reputation that, at times, seems misplaced. It has all the makings of a competitive international business class offering, sure, but then again, so does British Airways’s Club World. Like its oneworld counterpart, Cathay is just fine, but it lacks a defining feature to give it any sort of advantage over its regional rivals. Despite this, several reputable sources consider Cathay to be among the best in the world and a top higher flyer experience… which is a bit puzzling.
Despite being reviled by customers and critics alike, British Airways’s business class — referred to as ‘Club World’ — is undeniably important in the realm of higher flying. It was the first true lie-flat product to enter the (uber-competitive transatlantic) market, and it single-handedly elevated the standard of what international business class should offer to premium travelers. In the few short years after that introduction though, BA’s competitors both caught up and surpassed the original in terms of quality and value offered; Club World’s revolutionary reputation has long since faded and replaced by something far less flattering. Perhaps no longer contempt to be the butt of jokes, British Airways announced new, much-needed investments into the passenger experiences in April 2017 and then again in March 2019. While tangible improvements have been rolling out across all classes of service, Club World is noticeably better and now has most all of the makings of a competitive offering. In practice is it actually competitive though?
Is premium economy really just lipstick on a pig? For one thing, it definitely isn’t the same as standard economy class with an extra three extra inches of legroom. With cabins akin to North American regional first class and food served with proper chinaware, premium economy is trending within the industry and for good reasons. As more and more airlines unveil their own versions of it, it’s abundantly clear that there’s a market for higher flyers who want something better than cramped, poorly-padded chairs but also don’t want to pay fortunes for business class. Iberia’s Turista Premium, as it’s called, does a good job catering to these travelers; it’s an obvious step above steerage and usually doesn’t carry significantly higher price tags. The product isn’t perfect, but if you’re trying to fly to Europe in comfort while maintaining a budget, you should look to Iberia for a smart solution.
Alliances play huge roles in higher flying, and in order to really elevate your travels, it’s best to understand how they operate and shape the industry. The strategic partnerships formed between airlines all over the world create unique opportunities and easily allow passengers to go to places in ways that would otherwise be much more difficult and/or expensive. Despite how useful alliances can be, they’re not particularly easy to understand, and I often get a number of questions about their basic functions. To help clear up some confusion, here’s a list of FAQs!