UK business Traveller Statistics
Flying to Frankfurt in British Airways' business class, I am called late to the aircraft from the lounge. I am led to my well-appointed and spacious seat, an attendant takes my jacket and offers me a choice of water, orange juice and champagne as well as complimentary newspapers while the economy passengers cram on board. Ah yes, economy. Best illustrated by the all economy layout of the budget carriers, say, easyJet, where you have to run to the plane so you don't get lumped with the middle seat, you pay through the nose for food and drink, the seats don't recline and there's one toilet shared between 140.
British Airways business class flat bed. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
If it was a choice between BA's short-haul business product, ClubEurope, versus easyJet, and someone else was paying, there'd be no contest. But as business travellers know, just because you're on business, doesn't mean you're in business. The companies that had that sort of generous travel policy are precisely the ones that are now being nationalised. Travel and expenditure is one of the largest controlling costs of a business, and boy is it being controlled right now. Short-haul business class is really the preserve of travellers who have booked a long-haul segment and are connecting to and from that long-haul segment. The rest of us are in economy.
So, as that's the case, it comes down to which is best between BA's or easyJet's economy seating? The statistics - size of seat, angle of recline, leg room and so on won't help you too much - there's a website called dedicated to this subject - but it's really on long-haul flights where, over the hours, the differences make themselves felt.
Instead, the decision comes down to destination (the airline has to be flying to where you want to go), frequency (I need to be there early for a meeting and get home the same day) and price. And here, on this crucial last point, the differences aren't as large as they once were.