Flying first class, business, versus economy.

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cartman
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Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by cartman » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:50 pm

I recently returned from Italy and had a wonderful time, thanks to the many useful tips from fellow Bogleheads.

The only issue my wife and I had was the flight. We flew economy with American Airlines. Even though we are on the small side, the seats were, nevertheless, uncomfortable and short on leg room. The free wine that was served only helped to a point.

The question we are contemplating is whether it is worth it to upgrade our seating the next time we travel abroad.

Any thoughts from anyone that has experience with this issue would be appreciated.

PFInterest
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by PFInterest » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:51 pm

That is completely a personal decision. Sounds like a yes for you.

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prudent
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by prudent » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:53 pm

I've traveled overseas on both business class and in economy. I don't think I'll ever go again if I can't afford to go at least business class. I will factor that into the cost of the vacation and not consider it a splurge.

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badbreath
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by badbreath » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:55 pm

need to use economy plus next time bigger seats and more leg room small cost to upgrade
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Jags4186
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:57 pm

6 hours and under I'll look to fly economy. Over 6 fly business or first.

Also something to consider is booking business or first for the leg you sleep on and economy for the leg you'd be awake on.

Oleanmike
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by Oleanmike » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:01 pm

We travel a lot overseas (we're retired). As I've gotten older, the long flights (more than 5-6 hours) have started bothering my legs (cramps) for a day or two after we arrive. It was so bad on a recent return from Japan that I vowed not go overseas unless it's in Business Class or better. We found some reasonable rates for an upcoming flight to Copenhagen and are really looking forward to it.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:02 pm

I am a true Boglehead in that I like to make investment and saving a priority. I am over 6 feet tall and I fly economy. I sure do prefer the aisle seat and I like to go to the bathroom fairly often to stretch my legs and ease the problem of being cramped. Being in the center seat on a flight from Tampa to Salt Lake City is a bit cramped if the plane is full.

If you can afford something else then go for it. I haven't recovered from my being raised by 2 parents who were pretty frugal and went through the Great Depression so I fly economy. Granted, when I had a flight with some stops and plane changes between Belgium and Atlanta and took many hours I was younger. And in those days before you paid for a flight whether or not you made it the planes often weren't full.

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HomerJ
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by HomerJ » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:07 pm

I really really hate economy on long flights.

But I really really hate the price of first-class and business.

This is a very difficult problem for me. My wife wants to go to Europe every couple of years, and I don't want to go, almost purely because the flight is pure torture for me. In fact, she and her sister and her father are flying to China this year, and I'm not going, because I can't stand the flight to Europe so there's no way I'm flying to China. (Plus we have a kid with no one to watch him at that time so I quickly volunteered to stay home).

I agree with Jags... 6 hour and under, I can stand economy... An overnight flight in economy? Uggh.

Yet I'll be doing it again next year for a Europe river cruise.

But I tell myself, one last time, then never again. First class, or I'm not going.

Our bucket list includes a trip to Australia and New Zealand. I talked my wife into waiting until we retire for that one and we're going to take a freaking BOAT to Australia (there's an awesome cruise that goes all that way)....

But we'll have to fly back... I may work an extra month before I retire JUST for 1st class tickets back from that trip.

SR II
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by SR II » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:18 pm

We just did the exact opposite; flew an overnight flight to Australia and cruised back to the States, with stops in various ports in New Zealand, French Polynesia and Hawaii. First time flying business class. Since it was a retirement trip for my husband, I surprised him and "splurged", buying one-way tickets to Sydney with credit card points. Worth every point!
Last edited by SR II on Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sketchy9
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by sketchy9 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:24 pm

I'm 6 feet tall so I feel the pain in economy. The way I look at it, every dollar I spend on the flight is one that won't be spent at my destination. Now, this isn't an issue of a fixed amount X bring available for the trip; it's more a question of where I would prefer the money to go: to the airline or to me and my experience at my destination. I can easily afford business or first class, but I hate giving my money to the airlines. So I suffer.

Dottie57
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:29 pm

I don't fly often and actually hate it. So when I do fly, it will be first class from now on.

anoop
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by anoop » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:31 pm

If you can afford it, do it!

And while you're at it, don't forget to use the private terminal.
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Expect to see more of these (and not just in the travel sector) as the wealth gap widens.
Last edited by anoop on Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:31 pm

On any flight over 2 hours, economy plus for the legroom.
On any flight over an ocean, business class.
Yeah, I get it, both of us have parents who grew up in depression era homes and killed and skinned and ate squirrels and never threw away anything. God bless them. They didn't travel as much as we do. A business class seat is not going to derail my retirement, and it takes a day off of my recovery time. Totally worth it.

Iorek
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by Iorek » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:31 pm

We try to fly economy plus for long flights and to find frequent flyer business class tickets (I've found United to be ok about availability, if you are flexible and willing to keep checking repeatedly beginning months in advance)

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by metacritic » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:55 pm

For work I'm willing if necessary to fly up to ten hours on economy. Any longer and I'm awfully unhappy unless I have business. For personal travel I'll go anywhere in economy though I'd prefer economy comfort. I feel one needs an income of well over $500K to justify personal purchase of international business for a family of four.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by JonnyDVM » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:06 pm

Man you guys make me feel like a cheapskate. Economy domestic, economy to the carribbean, economy to Europe. I do agree it's not fun. I could afford to pay for upgraded seats, but I'd prefer to just suffer cramped in with the rest of the pleebs.
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AlohaJoe
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by AlohaJoe » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:17 pm

JonnyDVM wrote:Man you guys make me feel like a cheapskate. Economy domestic, economy to the carribbean, economy to Europe. I do agree it's not fun. I could afford to pay for upgraded seats, but I'd prefer to just suffer cramped in with the rest of the pleebs.
I've flown 20+ hours economy (for work and leisure) and I'll do it again twice in the next 30 days. I used to fly 9 hours (each way) once a month for 2 years, economy most of the time. I paid myself to upgrade to business class once or twice and didn't really feel it was worth it.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by freebeer » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:20 pm

metacritic wrote:For work I'm willing if necessary to fly up to ten hours on economy. Any longer and I'm awfully unhappy unless I have business. For personal travel I'll go anywhere in economy though I'd prefer economy comfort...
I'm pretty much in this boat. But I do suffer and bear it on some > 10 hour flights for work in economy rather than bust my budget. Or to put it another way, rather than allocate $X for the business class ticket I allocate $X/4 for an extra night's stay before my main business starts. But I'm only 5'8" and thankfully not wider than an economy seat so it's not that bad. I am also pretty good about tweaking to get seats with a middle free or even a whole middle row when it's a light load. Economy class next to an empty seat is a VERY different kettle of fish - and having a whole row could be just as good or even better than some business class seats.

Calli114
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by Calli114 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:28 pm

prudent wrote:I've traveled overseas on both business class and in economy. I don't think I'll ever go again if I can't afford to go at least business class. I will factor that into the cost of the vacation and not consider it a splurge.
I vowed the same thing, after various experiences. For me it came down to, control what you can control if you can afford it. If I'm in Business or First, the chances of sitting next to (insert unpleasant situation here) for 6+ hours are greatly diminished.
And I want to go to the bathroom without standing in line. I just do.
Maybe for some people it depends on whether one can sleep in Economy or not; even if I can grab a few hours of sleep it's worth it to not waste a day at the destination. I am not likely to get any sleep sitting up all night.

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corner559
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by corner559 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:33 pm

Business class is worth it for me for overseas flights because it means I have a seat that I can turn into a bed that I can actually get some real sleep in. First to me isn't worth the extra cost for slightly more room and only marginally better food.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:41 pm

JonnyDVM wrote:Man you guys make me feel like a cheapskate. Economy domestic, economy to the carribbean, economy to Europe. I do agree it's not fun. I could afford to pay for upgraded seats, but I'd prefer to just suffer cramped in with the rest of the pleebs.
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NOLA
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by NOLA » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:49 pm

I'm 6'6 and still fly only economy. Yeah it gets tight and we fly 5-10 times a year. Still can't pay that extra $. We are not poor, but first/business class is just 2-3 more trips we could have taken.

Interesting topic though.

wdr1
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by wdr1 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:12 am

Funny -- I'm also exactly 6'6".

Like a lot of others, for short-ish flights (<4 hours), I don't have any problems with economy.

For long-ish flights (4+) I definitely prefer business/first. It really does make a big difference for how you feel when you get off the plane on the other end.

Before we had kids, my rule of thumb was we would pay an additional $50/hour of flight time to fly biz. It turns out if you're time/dates are flexible, you can often find it. I'd also factor in the cost of us checking luggage in economy, as it's free for biz.

With kids, we've set a limit of $5k/year cap as well, combined with the $50/hour rule.

badger42
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by badger42 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:37 am

6'4" tall here.

Short haul: economy / whatever, don't care. You can do anything for an hour or two.

Cross country: Economy Comfort unless it's a red-eye, then it really needs to at least be "domestic first / business". Southwest (get a bulkhead or exit row with Early Bird, and their regular seats are halfway between legacy "regular" and "comfort") or JetBlue preferred.

Red-eyes or more than 6 hours, business class or at least "real" premium economy. It's not worth it otherwise.

ragabnh
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by ragabnh » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:38 am

I just flew from Vegas to London on premium economy on British Airways, much better than economy where I suffer a lot. I am 6'1" and I need all the room I can get.

curmudgeon
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:49 am

We fly a lot of 1-2 hour flights on the west coast; for those I don't care. For cross-country flights I mostly grit my teeth and bear economy, but I've learned the hard way to avoid particularly badly cramped planes (United 737-900 was an ugly example).

International is an interesting question. Most of our international flights are 11+ hours, and business class would be very nice. But I have a hard time getting my head past the consideration that I can effectively make $100/hour tax-free by choosing to sit in a more cramped seat at the back of the plane. I've paid modest upgrade fees a few times on Hawaii flights, but haven't found business class prices I'm willing to pay on international. What I have done is raise the bar on what it take to get me to put up with the hassle of flying; I won't fly to Europe for less than a 3-week vacation, and aim for at least 4 weeks on those trips. If I could get FF "saver" business class tickets, I'd think about using miles that way, but the airlines are pretty cagey about letting those go on any flight I would want to take (I won't trade a non-stop in economy for a three-hop in business).

If I could get business class seats for 2-3x the price of discounted economy, I would probably do it, but for the times when I care, it usually seems more like 6-10x.

FireProof
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by FireProof » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:07 am

I've never considered business or first class, can someone give an example of the prices?

tagius
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by tagius » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:45 am

If I can afford Business for long haul I am staying home. Best investment ever. You save nothing by flying economy. It makes the entire trip fun. When flying domestic my thinking is opposite.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by German Expat » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:12 am

FireProof wrote:I've never considered business or first class, can someone give an example of the prices?
This is a bit of a very tricky question to answer and depends a lot on the dates. I use Europe now as an example. In economy you can usually find fares for 1k or less. In Business you usually pay 3-6k but you can sometimes find fares for 2k or even slightly below (you have to follow travel forums though and be flexible), e.g. there were flights from New York to Frankfurt just recently for 2k on Lufthansa, there are currently flights to a lot of cities in China from LAX for below 2k in Business.
If you are flexible you can find good options but if you are stuck with certain dates then it can get very expensive. Just recently went for my company and paid 6k Europe - USA but had no choice around dates. Similar or even higher pricing can happen to Asia.

First class pricing I would not even go there on long haul routes, except for mistake fares or starting at locations like Cairo or Colombo is not worth it at all. Business class on most airlines is now as good as first used to be years ago. You can easily be above 10k for a round trip.

Another good way if you don't go too often is to collect miles and use them. Sign up for credit cards etc. and you can get 'free' flights in business or first.

I tend to mix it but from Europe it is easier to find lower cost options, e.g. we are going to Beijing soon and we use 2 mileage tickets (wife and son) and I fly a revenue ticket but from a lower cost starting city in Europe. Same is valid from the US, e.g. to China you need to make your way first to LAX.

I am in the camp to look at finding business class and then making our dates work around it. We e.g. added a couple days in Rome last year to fly to the US for Christmas because of low fares.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:18 am

FireProof wrote:I've never considered business or first class, can someone give an example of the prices?
There are a number of websites where one can look up the prices of airfare, just change the preferred class from Coach to Business. Expedia.com is a well known one: https://www.expedia.com

pekkle
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by pekkle » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:28 am

FireProof wrote:I've never considered business or first class, can someone give an example of the prices?
I wouldn't necessarily rely on MSRP, as many folks who fly business / first class either get to do so without regard for MSRP of those ticket prices due to

a) Employer covering cost (for actual business travel, for instance)

b) Mileage points / travel hacking.

I'd try https://thepointsguy.com or http://millionmilesecrets.com or the travel forum http://www.flyertalk.com to discover the myriad ways people enjoy more comfortable commercial flight experiences for less. :wink:

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by FireProof » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:30 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
FireProof wrote:I've never considered business or first class, can someone give an example of the prices?
There are a number of websites where one can look up the prices of airfare, just change the preferred class from Coach to Business. Expedia.com is a well known one: https://www.expedia.com
Yeah, I'm familiar, but as the guy above explained, individuals mostly don't actually pay those full prices usually (maybe companies) - I'm wondering what people are actually finding it worthwhile to pay on their own dime.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:44 am

FireProof wrote:
AlohaJoe wrote:
FireProof wrote:I've never considered business or first class, can someone give an example of the prices?
There are a number of websites where one can look up the prices of airfare, just change the preferred class from Coach to Business. Expedia.com is a well known one: https://www.expedia.com
Yeah, I'm familiar, but as the guy above explained, individuals mostly don't actually pay those full prices usually (maybe companies) - I'm wondering what people are actually finding it worthwhile to pay on their own dime.
In my experience over the past few years in business lounges around Asia...individuals definitely do pay those full prices. An A-350 only has 30 business class seats. Don't underestimate how many people there are out there making $300,000+ a year. A friend of mine flies from Vietnam to Germany four or five times a year. His wife, daughter, and himself all fly business class when they go. He goes directly to the Thai Airlines website and just buys the ticket. That's how it works for everyone I know in that circle of friends. Paying business class airfare prices isn't that crazy for people who also spend $800 a month at a cocktail lounge.

As for me, I find it hard to spend more than whatever an extra night or two of a hotel room would cost. As another poster mentioned, I generally find arriving a day earlier and spending the night in a 5-star hotel is a better use of the money than business class. Then again, I can usually sleep on coach. And I didn't find the 168-degree not-quite-flat seats in business class a substantial enough upgrade. The food in business class is better but still not as good as the average TGI Friday's. The entertainment system is often better but between my kindle, tablet, and laptop I already have more & better movies available.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by hookemhorns » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:31 am

If you can afford it you should try it at least once. Also, a nice compromise is premium economy which AA recently introduced and most other airlines already have. PE has much more legroom and allows the seat to recline quite a bit, though not lay flat like business. You should at the very least try that out.

Put me in the camp that I won't do a >6 hour flight in economy anymore. There are a few simple reasons:
- my time, especially vacation time, is limited and I want to enjoy it. Economy class today is the antithesis of enjoyment.
- there are serious health concerns about sitting for extended periods. I know several friends that have developed embolisms as a result. These were reasonably young and healthy people too. Research has shown that embolisms are far less likely if you are laying flat i.e. in a sleeping position.
- on business trips I need to hit the ground running. I also do work on the plane which is virtually impossible in economy.
- my employer pays for biz class, so there's that :happy

Realistically my wife and I only get 1-2 international trips a year, usually just 1. I'm not counting short haul flights to Mexico or whatever. The extra $3-7k per trip for both of us to fly business is a small percentage of our income. Not sure what we'll do when we have kids, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. :D

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:17 am

Generally anyplace we fly to involves a short leg to the local hub followed by at least one longer leg (to another hub or to the final destination). I typically book economy from home to the hub, but if the leg from the hub onward is longer than two hours I'll look at upgrading to economy plus (slightly more leg room and more comfortable seats). I've never flown first class, it's just too expensive.

Last month DW and I took a vacation trip that involved nine-hour-plus legs across the Atlantic Ocean; I upgraded the outbound to economy plus (it was the overnight flight), but coming back across I didn't move fast enough, there were no economy plus seats left for the leg coming back across.

I do note that, as I get older, I find that due to back issues I am physically less able to tolerate the (somewhat less comfortable) economy seats for longer legs.
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by virgingorda » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:49 am

sketchy9 wrote:I'm 6 feet tall so I feel the pain in economy. The way I look at it, every dollar I spend on the flight is one that won't be spent at my destination. Now, this isn't an issue of a fixed amount X bring available for the trip; it's more a question of where I would prefer the money to go: to the airline or to me and my experience at my destination. I can easily afford business or first class, but I hate giving my money to the airlines. So I suffer.
And I feel that the voyage is part of the experience so have a strong preference for business on long flights. If you think about it, say 15 hours out of a week-long trip is not an insignificant amount of time. There is also the much more relaxed boarding experience for business or first. For me, it improves the travel experience greatly. They actually treat you pretty well in business class. No point in suffering if you can afford it.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by carolc » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:10 am

At this point in my life (age 62), I can afford to fly business class. It is so much more comfortable that I simply won't fly economy anymore except for short trips. Life is short and you can't take it ($) with you.

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nova1968
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by nova1968 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:14 am

One option to Business Class is getting an Emergency exit row seat, There is no extra charge and you have to agree to assist in case of an emergency . This has worked for me on China air on overseas flights to Asia.
Business class I assume is an extra $1000, therefore an 8 hour flight is $125 an hour. The way I see it is suffering for 8 hours and saving $1000 can provide 5 nights at a comfortable $200 a night hotel. Just a matter of priorities.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by sambb » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:40 am

I far prefer business, and if the carrier has 3 classes, i prefer first.
Emirates first is great, as are some others.
I would avoid the US carriers.
To europe, virgin business is also pretty good.

Economy to europe or asia? Not interested.
But I also am not interested in driving a 1999 camry

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:55 am

nova1968 wrote:One option to Business Class is getting an Emergency exit row seat, There is no extra charge and you have to agree to assist in case of an emergency . This has worked for me on China air on overseas flights to Asia.
That certainly is an option if the objective is more leg room. Another is to try to get a seat in the front row of the economy section. The only drawback to either is that there is no under-the-seat storage space allocated for either choice, all carry-on must go in the overhead.
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OnTrack2020
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by OnTrack2020 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:57 am

Upgrade....you won't regret it for a moment.

Several years ago, we made a trip to China. Flew economy...it's a 14-hour flight; it was the absolute worst. There was just no leg room and the plane was packed. The plane, in general, just felt very overcrowded, so to speak.

Then about a year after that trip, we went to Hawaii. We ended up being upgraded to economy plus. Loved it. The additional leg room really made a difference. Spacewise, it was just overall more comfortable.

We have done some domestic flights since then and have been okay flying economy; however, if we can afford it, we upgrade. I can't help but think that lack of space is just making people more irritable when flying these days. It's nice to get to your destination without feeling that you have been cramped up in a tiny space for hours.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by R2D2 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:22 am

Take medication to knock yourself out for the flight (e.g. valium, xanax, etc). Also, put in some earplugs and wear sunglasses.

Now that I have that option, I wouldn't even pay $20 to upgrade to first class.

More Please
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by More Please » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:24 am

I've flown overseas for many years in steerage (economy) because I am cheap and could still function upon arrival at my destination. I've turned 65 and recently flew overnight to Europe. I was so uncomfortable and cramped up that I could have used a Chiropractor to straighten me out again. I was in pain for 3 days. So I've finally capitulated to my husband and we will be selectively fly business class; overnight flights, over 6 hours flights.

stan1
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by stan1 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:30 am

First try premium economy. Cost and product varies by airline. You have to check each airline to see what product they offer as well as determine what type of aircraft you'll be on. Economy Plus is a United product that gives more legroom but otherwise its the same seat as the rest of economy. British Airways adds wider seats (7 across on a 787 in premium economy vs 9 across in economy), footrest, headrest, private armrests, lumbar support, upgraded meals, and bigger entertainment screen. Lufthansa's premium economy product is similar to BA's. But they don't have this product in older aircraft that haven't been upgraded so you have to verify for your route and hope there isn't an equipment substitution.

Airlines have premium cabin sales periodically. I've been able to buy a business class ticket on BA from the US west coast non-stop to London for about $3000 round trip. I even saw first class round trip for $3500 once. Now that most airlines have lie flat business class seats on international flights I don't think there's much benefit to first class (and even European and Middle East based airlines are removing first class cabins on some routes). You do still have to check flights carefully. United has a new business class hard product called Polaris but its not installed on most of their aircraft.

Airlines are adding more seats to their economy sections on international flights. For example United 777s that used to have 9 across seating are now 10 across. We've started focusing on buying premium economy or business class tickets during sales.
Last edited by stan1 on Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

cherijoh
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by cherijoh » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:33 am

badbreath wrote:need to use economy plus next time bigger seats and more leg room small cost to upgrade
I flew economy plus to Italy and it made a big difference in comfort - it is basically what economy used to be years ago. (Although I'm not sure the seats were actually bigger - just a lot more leg room). I likely would have paid to upgrade to business class but I was taking the trip with a friend who was more "frugal" than me.

I have flown business and first class on points (or when it actually was a business trip and the company picked up the tab). If you want to see how the rich live, then spring for a first class ticket on an international flight. There were only 8 first class seats on a flight I took from Munich to Charlotte (with only 3 seats occupied) and 1 flight attendant in full time attendance. If I even looked up from my book, she came over to ask if I needed anything. The seat reclined almost flat, etc... But if I was paying for it myself, I would probably just upgrade to business class. I think it is the sweet spot for value for your money. You probably won't get a good nights sleep, but you also won't feel like a contortionist or need several days to recover from the trip.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:06 am

More Please wrote:I've flown overseas for many years in steerage (economy) because I am cheap and could still function upon arrival at my destination. I've turned 65 and recently flew overnight to Europe. I was so uncomfortable and cramped up that I could have used a Chiropractor to straighten me out again. I was in pain for 3 days. So I've finally capitulated to my husband and we will be selectively fly business class; overnight flights, over 6 hours flights.
Be careful here. There is a thread every week or so about finding the balance between frugality and miserliness. In my book, if your unwillingness to spend on things you can well afford has a negative affect on those around you, especially your family, it is selfish miserliness and not frugality. If there are other things that have been affecting your spouse's comfort that you can afford but have not been in the habit of paying for, it may be time to reconsider.

lazydavid
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:21 am

With all of us being tall, and my Father-in-Law who travels with us getting up there in age and recently having a hip replacement, we pretty much only fly Business/Domestic First now. Tickets tend to be anywhere from 1.5x-2.5x what it would cost us to fly in coach. We've just compensated by taking fewer, longer trips. I do still have to travel occasionally for work (3-4 times/year), but those tend to be shorter flights (<2 hours) most of the time, and I can finagle an upgrade about half the time--I actually choose flights based on the equipment and the likelihood that I'll be successful. Usually puts me out of pocket by $90 or so one way which my employer does not reimburse, but definitely worth it.

A couple of years ago, we managed to score 4 FC tickets to Hawaii for $1300 and about 250k miles roundrip, through a combination of buying tickets outright with miles and upgrading discounted coach fares. That was a lifesaver, particularly because the return flight was a redeye and my son (7 at the time) suffered a significant injury to his face in the airport right before we came home. Having the FAs dote on him and being able to get him to sleep for most of the flight was worth the price in and of itself.

stan1
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by stan1 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:41 am

For a little more perspective on priorities:

We started considering business class tickets (purchased on sale) after we had our house paid off and after we had seven figures in investment/retirement accounts. We don't have kids but if we did we would have added after college was paid for. So we are at the point where we are using our heirs inheritance to fly in business class. I sleep very comfortably with that decision.

neilpilot
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by neilpilot » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:07 am

oldcomputerguy wrote: Another is to try to get a seat in the front row of the economy section. The only drawback to either is that there is no under-the-seat storage space allocated for either choice, all carry-on must go in the overhead.
One other downside: passengers with an infant-in-arms are often assigned bulkhead seating. I'd rather sit several rows back than cross the Atlantic sitting next to an infant or small child, and a bulkhead seat greatly increases the probability of that happening. I speak from experience.

ecotone
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Location: Skokie, IL

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by ecotone » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:19 am

I travel fairly often for work; 75,000 - 150,000 miles/year over the past 10 years. It can be a bear being away from friends/family while I travel, but it's nice cashing in points and/or certificates when the family travels.

I end up in first class on many domestic flights due to automatic upgrades and domestic first class is not worth paying up for in my opinion. International first/business is different and I don't hesitate bumping myself up via miles, dollars, or a combination of the two.

A general rule of thumb is that the United States airlines business/first product is far worse than most of the international airlines. An upgrade to first class on Singapore Airlines or Ethiad is far superior to ANYTHING available on United/Delta/American.

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