I compared a $180 luxury bus to a $46 coach bus, and the expensive option was almost better than flying first-class

  • I rode on a $180 luxury bus and a $46 standard coach bus from New York City to Washington, DC.

  • The regular bus got me from point A to point B, but there weren't many amenities.

  • I was super impressed by the comfortable seats and the attendants on board The Jet.

As somebody who frequently travels between New York City and Washington, DC, I'm thankful for the many transportation options available.

Traditionally, planes are time savers, trains are the most comfortable, and buses are the most cost-effective. But there's another luxury option: The Jet.

As a true travel nerd, I had to see just how different this $180 bus service was from a traditional $46 FlixBus coach offering. Eleven hours of travel later and a notebook full of pros and cons, here's how the buses stacked up.

The coach bus was almost exactly as I expected it to be.

The insider of the standard coach bus, which has several people sitting in seats while riding it
There were four seats in each row with an aisle in the middle.Elizabeth Blasi

On the FlixBus, there were two seats on either side of the aisle. But there were a lot more seats, leaving less room in between each row.

There was really no comparison when it came to comfort and space.

The interior of The Jet bus luxury bus, which is more spacious but has a similar seat configuration.
The seats on The Jet were very comfortable.Elizabeth Blasi

The Jet had three seats in each row with an aisle in the middle, but overall, it had significantly fewer seats than the standard coach.

Everything was spread out, giving every rider a lot more space.

I had just enough room for my things on the regular coach bus.

A view from the author's seat, where she has placed her backpack and a small purse under the seat in front of her.
I put my purse and my backpack under the seat in front of me on the regular coach bus.Elizabeth Blasi

The seats on the standard coach bus were moderately sized.

They provided footrests and enough room to fit a backpack under the seat in front of you.

I couldn't believe how great the seats were on The Jet.

A view from the author's chair on The Jet bus, where she is sitting with her legs out in front of her.
I could recline back in my seat on The Jet.Elizabeth Blasi

The Jet provided a 45-degree seat recliner and pop-up leg rest. I had enough room to extend my legs without even being close to the chair in front of me, putting some first-class airline seats to shame.

On top of the comfortable cushioning and lumbar support, the seat was designed with technology to help mask any uneasiness on the road. Subtle up-and-down motions gave the illusion of an incredibly smooth ride.

I wish airplane seats would adopt this feature to reduce the movement of unwanted turbulence.

The coach bus didn't have many amenities.

Two garbage bags hanging on the end of bus seats on a coach bus
There were trash bags attached at the end of each aisle.Elizabeth Blasi

The coach bus provided straightforward service, getting you from point A to point B.

Although there weren't many amenities on board, there were at least convenient trash bags hanging on the aisle seats.

When paying more than $100 for a bus ticket, you hope for a few added perks, and The Jet delivered.

An attendant handing holding a tray while using a pair of tweezers to hand out warm towels on The Jet bus ride
I barely had to lift a finger on The Jet.Elizabeth Blasi

My favorite perk was probably the attendants on board.

They passed out hot towels at the beginning of the ride, served drinks, and cleaned up after us. One attendant even offered Jet blankets to make my journey more comfortable.

The bathroom on the regular bus wasn't fancy, but it was functional.

A bathroom on the Flixbus coach bus that has a plastic toilet and a curtain covering a window.
It was nice to have a bathroom on the bus.Elizabeth Blasi

I appreciated the small restroom on the FlixBus.

The Jet's amenities were exceptional for a bus.

Insider's author taking a bathroom-mirror selfie in the bathroom of a jet bus
The bathroom was spacious and well-lit.Elizabeth Blasi

The restroom had a sink, counter space, backlit mirror lights, a full-length mirror, and enough space to change into something cozy for the ride.

We made a rest stop on the regular bus to stretch our legs and refuel.

A hand holding a cup of iced coffee from Dunkin' in front of a rest stop.
There wasn't food on the bus, but I picked up an iced coffee at the rest stop.Elizabeth Blasi

Although there wasn't food on the FlixBus, we got a 15-minute rest-stop break, where I picked up a bottle of water and a Dunkin' iced coffee to fuel me for the last three hours on the road.

I was offered free drinks and cheap snacks on The Jet.

A view from the author's seat, where several snacks have been placed on her tray table.
The snacks on the bus were very affordable.Elizabeth Blasi

Each Jet ticket came with two complimentary alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, or seltzer, and a list of food items on sale for as little as $1.

Although both services promised WiFi, only one worked for me.

The author working on her laptop while sitting on her seat on a FlixBus service.
The FlixBus WiFi was unfortunately not working during my ride.Elizabeth Blasi

As a remote worker who enjoys traveling, it's essential that my mode of transportation has internet access.

The buses were supposed to provide WiFi, but FlixBus' service was down during my ride. Thankfully, the power plugs on board worked, and I used my phone's hot spot instead.

I was able to comfortably get some work done on The Jet.

Insider's author sitting on a chair and working on her laptop.
I worked and my partner streamed movies during the ride.Elizabeth Blasi

The Jet's WiFi worked, and the service speed was fast enough for my fiancé to stream movies while I uploaded and downloaded significant file-size assets to my computer.

Trains and planes are still probably the better option for most, but I'll splurge on The Jet if I'm riding the bus.

A view from the author's seat on the Jet Bus, where she has a large blanket on her lap that has "The Jet" written on it.
I was blown away by the amenities on The Jet.Elizabeth Blasi

When comparing the bus services, traffic is the great equalizer. Even though the buses departed on time, the 4 ½-hour trip took more than 5 ½ hours in each direction.

If time is your biggest concern, I'd stick with a train or plane. But if you're a remote worker traveling during the day like me, The Jet may be the best option.

I think it was definitely worth the price tag. The fantastic service, luxurious seats, and strong internet connection made it the clear travel winner.

Correction: August 7, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misstated the number of seats in each row on the Jet bus. There are three, not four. 

This story was originally published in August 2023 and most recently updated on April 18, 2024.

Read the original article on Business Insider