I flew 15 hours in business class, and I don’t think I could ever do a long flight in economy again

Alexis Juanita


the front of a swiss airplane next to a photo of a business-class seat

Now that I flew business class for a long flightRachel Dube

  • I spent 15 hours flying from New York City to Dubai on Swiss Air’s business class.

  • My $2,600 ticket was worth the price for the legroom, comfy seats, and other perks.

  • I don’t think I can go back to flying economy for long-haul trips.

This winter, I decided to escape the frigid New York temperatures to bask in the Dubai sun.

The writer with two suitcases and a mask on, leaving for her trip at the airport.

I had two suitcases with me for my trip.Rachel Dube

I was a bit worried about spending 15 hours flying, so I took the plunge and booked myself a business-class ticket for $2,600 on Swiss Air. For context, an economy ticket for the same one-way flight typically costs around $650.

My total flying time from New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was just over 15 hours with a brief layover in Zurich, Switzerland, to break up the time spent flying.

Here’s what it was like flying business class on the long journey:

I quickly checked in at JFK and headed to the Swiss Lounge.

an airport lounge with sleek black couches, small tables, and a wood panel wall

I was shocked how empty the lounge was.Rachel Dube

John F. Kennedy International Airport was emptier than I thought it would be.

Even though I was missing some paperwork, I was able to check in at the Swiss Air desk, breeze through security, and head to the Swiss Lounge in about 30 minutes.

I scanned my ticket to enter and the attendants kept me posted when the flight began boarding.

Access to lounges like these was a fabulous perk of flying business class. They have comfy places to sit, food, chargers, and showers.

After the time spent unwinding before the flight, boarding the airplane felt like a breeze.

a business-class seat with an arm rest, small lamp, and plenty of leg room

My business-class seat for flight one.Rachel Dube

Business class was in the first group to board, and it was nice to head directly onto the flight without waiting in line or for my number to be called.

Upon boarding, flight attendants took my coat and hung it up. I also got sparkling wine.

The seats were spacious and arranged in rows of four or five.

a phot of the rows of business-class seats on a plane

There was plenty of room to stretch out in each seat.Rachel Dube

There were either one or two seats by the window on the right, two seats in the middle of the aircraft, and one or two seats by the window on the left.

The flight was practically empty, so there was even more room than normal.

a photo of a mostly empty business-class section on a plane

Many business class seats on the flight were empty.Rachel Dube

The flight attendant mentioned to us that the business class was around 15% to 20% capacity and relatively empty.

It made the service even better for those of us who opted to fly business class and gave us the ability to move to any seat we wanted.

When I got to my seat, there was a pillow, blanket, and headphones waiting for me.

a pillow, blanket, and headphones on a seat

The pillow, blanket, and headphones are left on the business-class seats.Rachel Dube

The business-class seats each had a plush pillow and blanket to make the overnight flight as comfy as possible.

I left New York at around 9 p.m. and wanted to sleep on the plane so these items were key.

I also received an amenity kit filled with in-flight essentials like socks, toiletries, and an eye mask.

an amenity kit on a plane filled with some basic skincare, socks, and eye mask

I ended up using some of these items on the journey.Rachel Dube

There was also a fancy Victorinox amenity kit at my seat. It included a toothbrush, toothpaste, a light-blocking eye mask, earplugs, and a pair of socks.

My favorite part of flying business class was that we had the ability to move the seat into a multitude of positions, including a lie-flat bed.

a remote panel with controls to adjust the seat on the plane

It made the seat incredibly comfortable.Rachel Dube

Since it would be morning when I landed in Zurich (and nighttime in New York), I wanted to get my body adjusted to the time in order to avoid jet lag.

My plan was to have dinner and then head to sleep.

The seat also had plenty of legroom and storage for all of my belongings.

the writer stretching their legs with plenty of extra room from the seat in front on the plane

There was plenty of room to stretch my legs.Rachel Dube

I wasn’t worried at all about where I’d put my carry-on and purse.

There was a compartment underneath the screen, one in front of me, one for my shoes, and plenty overhead.

There was also a large oversized screen that you could watch movies or TV on.

a screen in front of my plane seat

The screen in front of me was relatively large.Rachel Dube

You could also use it to track the flight or listen to music. I didn’t use it much.

The flight had a selection of options for dinner and you ordered breakfast when you first got onto the flight.

A tray of food on a plane with fish, rice, and grapes

It tasted better than I expected.Rachel Dube

After take-off, I ordered dinner before I fell asleep.

I chose the salmon, which was delicious, and some vegetables. The quality of the meal was a pleasant surprise since plane food is typically not the greatest.

It didn’t taste like it was packaged and the flight attendants made my tray into a gourmet table, complete with a tablecloth and silverware.

After dinner, I headed to the bathroom, which was almost double the size of the one in economy.

inside a spacious business-class bathroom

The bathroom felt spacious.Rachel Dube

It had a huge mirror and plenty of space inside.

You could also put a cover over the toilet if you wanted to sit down and do your makeup or skin care. The bathroom was also super clean.

Eventually, my dad and I converted our seats to lie-flat beds.

The writer's dad sleeping on the business class seat turned bed

My dad, who is over 6 feet tall, sleeping on the seat converted into a bed.Rachel Dube

Thankfully, because the seat was controlled by me, there was no need to ask anyone to help me to move it. I was easily able to adjust the way it was positioned.

Overall, this was the best I’ve ever slept on a flight. I was slightly woken by some turbulence, but I slept for the bulk of the flight.

The makeshift bed was much more comfortable than I thought it would be. Plus I got extra pillows and blankets because the business class was so empty.

The seats also extended further than I was expecting. I’m only 5-foot-3, but my 6-foot-1 dad was also very comfortable in the lie-flat seats. He was able to comfortably stretch out his legs.

The next thing I knew, I was waking for breakfast about an hour before landing.

a plate with three pastries on it on the plane

The pastries on the flight were great.Rachel Dube

I have pretty severe allergies so I’m always playing it safe with food on flights.

The pastries I chose were all warm and quite filling. I was worried about getting jet lag, so I opted to go for smaller meals throughout the day to avoid getting sick.

Landing was the best feeling in the world — until I realized I had to do a flight just like this again.

Another plane screen with a map

Landing in Switzerland was a relief.Rachel Dube

I’ve flown for eight to 12 hours before, but those were direct flights.

Since I had a stopover in between, there was a sense of dread over having to repeat the flight experience a second time.

Being in business class certainly made the trek easier, but the flight is still extremely long. Sitting for this many hours was quite difficult.

To help pass the time on our two-hour layover in Zurich, we headed to the Swiss Air lounge.

the writer in the swiss air lounge loking out at the sky outside the window

The lounge had an outdoor space.Rachel Dube

It had a massive food buffet, showers, and plenty of places to lounge inside.

The lounge also had a gorgeous outdoor space. It was great for passing the time and it was close to the gates, which made it easy to quickly board when it was time.

Then it was time for the next and final flight from Zurich to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

the front of a swiss air plane

The aircraft for the flight headed to Dubai.Rachel Dube

The flight was set to depart around 1 p.m. in Zurich time and land at 10 p.m. in UAE time.

The plane was arranged the same as the similar flight in configuration and included lunch and snacks anytime aboard the flight.

Since this aircraft was newer, the business-class seats were nicer than the ones on the previous flight.

A SwissAir business-class seat with blanket and pillow stacked on top

The seats on this flight were a lot nicer.Rachel Dube

The seat was also next to a window and came with a pillow, blanket, and Victorinox amenity kit (same as the previous flight but in a different case).

It also had an outlet port, reading light, and the ability to move into different lounging positions.

The seats looked nicer, but I had a little bit less legroom and fewer storage options than the first flight had.

I had almost double the space on the first flight. I still had a compartment for my shoes and a small place next to the seat for personal items.

Before we departed, drinks were passed around and I was handed the in-flight menu so I could select my lunch.

a lunch menu on a piece of white paper

The menu for lunch on the second flight.Rachel Dube

I opted not to eat a meal on this flight and stuck to my own personal snacks since I had just eaten in the lounge.

The menu looked lovely, though, and included many Swiss-themed meals.

The bathroom was a lot smaller than the one on the flight before but was still nice.

a bathroom on a plane

The bathroom on the second leg of the journey was smaller.Rachel Dube

It had the same full-length mirror and lighting around it but had much less space overall. It felt about half the size of the bathroom on the previous flight.

I spent the bulk of the flight watching TV — there was a great movie selection and the screen was a decent size.

the screen on the flight on the back o the seat in front of me

The screen was practically the same as the previous flight.Rachel Dube

There were old classics and some new, popular movies to choose from. In addition, I had the ability to watch the flight journey, listen to music, or watch TV shows.

I stayed awake to avoid jet lag.

my business-class seat in lounge position with pink lighting

The seat in the lounge position.Rachel Dube

To get comfortable, I pressed the lounge button, which stuck out the leg extension and slightly elevated the back. It was perfect for watching TV.

This flight went by quicker than I expected and I’m certain it had everything to do with being in business class.

Another cool business-class feature was my ability to fast-track custom lines at passport control.

The fast-track customs lane card

On this flight, business-class passengers were given a special card to go to a fast-track customs lane.Rachel Dube

Waiting in line at customs after a long flight is generally not fun, but this card made the process move quickly. It was a business-class feature that I never experienced or knew existed.

Little touches like this were definitely appreciated.

Finally, we landed at our final destination: Dubai.

The map showing us landing in Dubai

I’m glad I splurged on business class because it made a real difference in flying.Rachel Dube

After this, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do long-haul flights in economy again.

As someone who has a back injury, it made a huge difference in flying because I was more comfortable. Being able to stretch out and sleep also helped me avoid jet lag, which helped make my trip better overall.

At the end of the day, I’m glad I splurged on business class. It made the entire experience of flying 15 hours so much better than I could have imagined.

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