Somebody once said, "Getting there is half the fun." This is defiantly not the case if you fly coach on international travel. I Have mixed feelings about the United check in agent in Frankfurt who bumped us up from coach to business class because, when me got home, my wife announced she would no longer travel overseas unless in business class. We have subsequently refined this to no coach class flight more than two hours in length.
Here's what you get in Business Class:
Space: Business class is 6 seats in a row on a 747 vs 10 seats in coach. Pitch the width of a row of seats) is 30-32" in coach, 70-80" in Business.
Unlimited free booze
Pre-takeoff Champaign (free)
Lots of free food
Better quality food.
Food on demand (limited)
No extra luggage charges
Lots more storage space by your seat, especially in the upper deck of a 747.
A quieter location
Better service-- more flight attendants per passenger (they even learn your name before takeoff).
Free access to BC lounges at airports. This really adds up with long layovers. The lounge provides better seating, free booze, and free food.
More stuff on the seat TV
Way more comfortable seats
More seat privacy
Seats that turn into beds where you can actually sleep.
Blankets an pillows, real pillows
First off the plane on arrival
Priority luggage handling. In theory, BC luggage is first off the plane. It often works.
Sometimes, airport assistance. On my last BC international flight on Delta, when I arrived at customs, there was a Delta staffer waiting for me. When we got my luggage, she led me to special customs desk with no line & I was thru customs in about 2 minutes. Then she took me to the place where I deposited by luggage for the connecting domestic flight, checked my ticket and told me what gate to go to..
Yes, its expensive, but I'd rather reduce the luxury level of food and accommodations at my destination than if its necessary to save money than fly coach. Example: I've stayed at 4 hotels in Rome, with prices ranging from $46 to $300 a night. The best were the cheapest and the most expensive. Both had large, quiet rooms in a good location. $$$$ had an elevator $ did not. $$$$ had a 24 hour desk and a concierge. $ had a desk during most daylight hours, no concierge. $$$$$ room pone, $ no phone. $$$$ spectacular buffet breakfast, $ Corn Flakes and an apple. $$$$ banquet rooms, ball rooms, meeting rooms, Internet rooms-- $ nothing but bed rooms and a tiny breakfast nook
Saving $ on food: excepting fast food, which is mostly USA brands, the quality of restaurant food in the EU is very high, even it cheap restaurants with the possible exception Italy which has a inordinate number of bad cheap restaurants.