When did you start flying business class?

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hmw
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When did you start flying business class?

Post by hmw » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:14 pm

To BHs who regularly fly business class, when did you start? Was it after you reached a certain age? Reached a certain net worth? Was it worth it, in your opinion?

My wife and I are in our early 40s. We will be travel to Asia soon. My MIL gently suggested flying biz class. I just couldn’t justify paying 8k per person on biz class. That’s 24k for our family, which is a little less than 2 months of household expenses for us. My wife and I are not heavy or big but flying coach for 14 hours is not fun.

I make high 6 figures and our retirement is on track. Am I being “cheap”? I feel that I can get a bigger bang for my buck if I spend the money elsewhere.
Last edited by hmw on Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by Sidney » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:23 pm

I'm assuming two of the four are your children. Without knowing their age, I will relate a scenario I have seen before when I was flying biz for business. Two parents in business class with two children in coach. The kids were not extremely young - the parents explained that the kids didn't care one way or another and the flight attendants were pretty good about checking on them and reporting back.
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:31 pm

I started flying business class when I had enough FF points. When I ran out of points I stopped.

Consider premium economy. It turns a hellish long flight into a survivable and almost pleasant long flight at a much more reasonable price point.

I cannot imagine paying for business class for kids unless I was really wealthy. I would consider having them fly in economy potentially irresponsible (depending, of course, on behavior).

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:33 pm

High 6-figures is more than $666,000 a year to me, so with only $12K monthly expenses, I'd say go for first class.

I've only flown business class when a friend upgraded me with miles of his that were going to expire or if I got a rare free upgrade. To be clear: I've never paid for business class nor first class.

I do fine in economy, but I do finer in business, but not even 50% finer.

Perhaps you can fly many more shorter trips to build up FF mileage to use on those transoceanic flights.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by Afty » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:36 pm

We flew to Thailand last year and had a similar decision to make. We just couldn't justify flying business class. The amount it would have cost for all of us would pay for a pretty decent new car!

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:46 pm

2006, after I discovered Flyertalk.

I have bought only a couple business class tickets when they were extremely cheap considering all the benefits. I have gotten upgrades or bought awards in business class many times. My current “policy” is to at least fly in the extra legroom section (think UA Economy Plus, which I get for free due to elite status) or Premium Economy when crossing an ocean. Domestic coach is fine with me, usually still in the E+ section.

I am with livesoft. $666,666+ annual income? Occasional flight in paid business class? Sure. If you shop around, you can often find good deals.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:03 pm

hmw wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:14 pm
To BHs who regularly fly business class, when did you start? Was it after you reached a certain age? Reached a certain net worth? Was it worth it, in your opinion?

My wife and I are in our early 40s. We will be travel to Asia soon. My MIL gently suggested flying biz class. I just couldn’t justify paying 8k per person on biz class. That’s 24k for our family, which is a little less than 2 months of household expenses for us. My wife and I are not heavy or big but flying couch for 14 hours is not fun.

I make high 6 figures and our retirement is on track. Am I being “cheap”? I feel that I can get a bigger bang for my buck if I spend the money elsewhere.
We use "awards" points for business (or first) class travel these days.
We started a few years ago, when it became clear that as the flight time got a bit long (and *nothing* like the ultra long hauls), we were experiencing significant discomfort on the flight *and* it affected us for several days where we were going (or back at home).

And with American Airlines (possibly with others), if we run out of the miles/points we've been accumulating, we can *buy* the points such that long-haul premium travel is nowhere near as expensive as paying for the premium tickets with cash.

Our first time using these points involved 14+ and 15+ hour flights, and it was SO worth it.
We sprang for the additional points to go First Class, and that was almost like a twin bed in the sky. We *really* slept.
(The additional points "cost" about the equivalent of $400-500 pp, each way. WELL worth it for that length of trip.
But those award F seats can be hard to come by, so if we needed to go in Business class, we'd do it that way, making sure it was a real "flat bed" service.

Note: We are much older.
However, at your age, IF we had that level of income, I think this would have been a way to spend it!
We didn't travel that far then, but if we knew we could go premium class, we might have...

Bottom line, we've already decided that IF it was a place we really wanted to go, and IF we had to pay cash for Business class, then that's what we would do, absolutely.
(No, we would *never* pay those sky-high prices to Asia in First class on the top carriers, not in cash. But for Business, if we had to, we would.)

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by XtremeSki2001 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:17 pm

For work, I’ve flown business several times. For pleasure, I’ve flown coach from JFK to HKG (16 hours). Decided on coach because the business class ticket for the same flight was 3x as much.

I love business class, but I don’t think it’s 3x as nice as coach. I agree with the previous poster with getting economy plus. You could even buy the seat next to you in coach for extra room and still have saved quite a bit over flying business.
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:18 pm

High six figure income and your expenses are around 12k/month? Give the business class a try. You only get one chance on this planet, and you can't take the money with you when you leave, buddy...

(I have a feeling that if you don't buy the business class tickets, you aren't going to spend the money elsewhere anyway)

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by mrspock » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:20 pm

hmw wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:14 pm
To BHs who regularly fly business class, when did you start? Was it after you reached a certain age? Reached a certain net worth? Was it worth it, in your opinion?

My wife and I are in our early 40s. We will be travel to Asia soon. My MIL gently suggested flying biz class. I just couldn’t justify paying 8k per person on biz class. That’s 24k for our family, which is a little less than 2 months of household expenses for us. My wife and I are not heavy or big but flying couch for 14 hours is not fun.

I make high 6 figures and our retirement is on track. Am I being “cheap”? I feel that I can get a bigger bang for my buck if I spend the money elsewhere.
Maybe if I hit a net worth of $10M+, and even then. My mentality (like yours I think) is that I'd rather spend the money on the ground (i.e. nice hotels, great food, better location on hotel, nicer car rental, top notch seats to theatres), and even then you'll be well ahead.

Salary is actually irrelevant to me for decisions like this, as I too make good money, but I don't want my lifestyle to grow/creep to the point where I'm working forever to save up a large enough nest egg to maintain it indefinitely through retirement. In other words I try to live within the means of my target retirement income will support, if I feel like working longer when I hit my "number" then I might let my lifestyle creep a bit, but not before then...

That said, I "splurge" here and there like everyone, but I try to avoid forming expensive long term habits (like flying biz class).

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by schrute » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:29 pm

Business class seems very anti-Boglehead

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JoMoney
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by JoMoney » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:30 pm

Only when someone else (work) is paying for it. Using points (maybe even buying points when on sale) for upgrades as available might be an option I'd consider. It's the kind of thing I could consider doing as a gesture for someone else... but I'm not sure how much money I'd have to have to get over the disgust of the price difference on buying a business class seat on an over-seas flight for myself.
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by blueblock » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:32 pm

I have been flying biz class for longer haul flights for about 15 years. I pay cash for an economy fare and upgrade using miles mostly earned via the Chase Mileage Plus Visa. (If an upgrade isn't available, I find another flight.)

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by MrJones » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:34 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:31 pm
Consider premium economy. It turns a hellish long flight into a survivable and almost pleasant long flight at a much more reasonable price point.
For long fights (14 hrs+), does premium economy make a difference over economy even if one isn't tall or heavy?

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:37 pm

schrute wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:29 pm
Business class seems very anti-Boglehead
"Boglehead" doesn't mean "not spending money you do have, for something that is of value to you, just because others wouldn't make the same choice" (or because others don't have the means to do so, regardless of whether they would).

One can be saving and spending prudently, not risking a poverty stricken future, and still have the means to "splurge", be it on travel, housing, car, (dare I mention watches? :twisted: ), charitable donations, or <whatever>.

This isn't MMM, after all.
(And he has far more money than many people realize.)

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by JoMoney » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:39 pm

MrJones wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:34 pm
adamthesmythe wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:31 pm
Consider premium economy. It turns a hellish long flight into a survivable and almost pleasant long flight at a much more reasonable price point.
For long fights (14 hrs+), does premium economy make a difference over economy even if one isn't tall or heavy?
In my experience (mostly on flights from LAX or IAH to SYD), no... unless you want the leg room AND you're in a exit row or front-bulkhead of section.
It might make it easier/cheaper to buy an upgrade to business class from premium economy though.
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:03 pm

Megacorp used to pay for business class on flights that crossed an ocean. That got me enough FF miles to book business on a few personal trips across oceans, but then I ran out of FF miles and have taken 3 transatlantic round trips in economy plus/comfort class. ENOUGH. If you want to subject yourself to the back of the (Air)bus rather than paying up for business, good for you. For me, I'm flying business on flights over 6 hours. Just signed up for Chase Sapphire Preferred, so maybe that will help. But then I'm pushing 60, seem to have enough to travel in retirement, and have gotten crankier lately.

On a trip about 10 years ago with family I got business class tickets for spouse and myself, and was trying to get super saver FF coach for the kids, when I suddenly saw I could get super saver first class on the same flight. So I booked that for the kids, and we used their tickets to fly first class, and let the kids use the business class tickets. They loved the luxury, and now they know how business class feels. Or felt back then. They've both taken several transatlantic trips since in coach, so they know the difference. Good career planning date.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by slh4444 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:05 pm

For cross country domestic flights we purchase three seats for the two of us. This makes a big difference for reasonable (to me) cost. On one of our recent trips, two business/first class tickets were less expensive and included luggage. That was our first time and does make you want to repeat. My test is: Is it worth X $$$ not to anticipate the trip with dread.

We are 60s and 70s, but have been doing the 3 seats for 2 for over a decade. We have not done a really long flight. I would not want to be significantly uncomfortable that long. It would take some time to wear off. It could affect the beginning of the trip. Maybe at least business outgoing? At least coming back you can shake it off at home.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by 02nz » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:11 pm

I first flew business class when I was pretty young (12), and it was a free upgrade because of my dad's status (he booked the ticket with his miles). This was during the summer to Asia, when coach got oversold but business class was quite empty. At that time it was not uncommon for elite flyers (even when flying on coach award tickets) to get upgraded, but that doesn't really happen these days.

I've never paid for a business or first class ticket, always used miles (either to upgrade or to redeem for the entire ticket). While business class is a huge improvement in comfort for long flights, I would have a hard time paying 4x-8x the coach fare, even if I had the OP's income. That's why miles are really the way to go - you pay a 50-100% premium for business class, and that to me is a good value, particularly as miles are pretty easy to generate if you're into travel hacking.

Another poster mentioned premium economy, which can be a good compromise if the fare is no more than 50% higher, but sometimes the differential is much higher. (I'm talking here about "real" premium economy, with a better seat and service, not just a few extra inches of leg room like Delta's Comfort+, AA's Main Cabin Extra, or United's Economy Plus.) Premium economy is increasingly common, and all three U.S. airlines are rolling it out on long-haul flights.
Last edited by 02nz on Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by Artsdoctor » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:12 pm

schrute wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:29 pm
Business class seems very anti-Boglehead
Where did you get this idea? There's a certain investment philosophy that most Bogleheads share (you can click on the Philosophy tab), but expenditure priorities are all over the board here.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by financeguy88 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:15 pm

hmw wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:14 pm
To BHs who regularly fly business class, when did you start? Was it after you reached a certain age? Reached a certain net worth? Was it worth it, in your opinion?

My wife and I are in our early 40s. We will be travel to Asia soon. My MIL gently suggested flying biz class. I just couldn’t justify paying 8k per person on biz class. That’s 24k for our family, which is a little less than 2 months of household expenses for us. My wife and I are not heavy or big but flying couch for 14 hours is not fun.

I make high 6 figures and our retirement is on track. Am I being “cheap”? I feel that I can get a bigger bang for my buck if I spend the money elsewhere.
For longer domestic flights the price gap often isn’t that significant and I do it about half the time if I can find a good deal.

For international red eye flights I’d only do it if I had a really aggressive itinerary and wanted to be rested rather than waste a day catching up on sleep. Also the airlines will let you carry much more luggage onto the plane if you flight business class internationally which eliminates the fairly common occurance of the airline losing luggage and messing up the trip that way. If making sure you have all of your luggage when you land is a key concern it may be worth it. When my wife and I flew to Africa and started hiking Kilimanjaro the next morning both of these issues were a concern so we paid up for it. I make good money also and we have a good amount of savings but the difference between economy and business / first isn’t enough to spend $10k or $15k more in most circumstances. We’re also younger and in generally decent health so I could see how this equation would shift as we get older.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by edge » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:22 pm

When it was free either because of airline status (free auto upgrade) or if it was on the company dime.

If you fly enough it just sorta ‘happens’ without having to pay for it.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by 02nz » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:25 pm

financeguy88 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:15 pm
For longer domestic flights the price gap often isn’t that significant and I do it about half the time if I can find a good deal.
Domestic flights are a different ballgame. With the exception of a few routes (e.g. between JFK/Newark and some west coast cities), the "first class" product isn't really first class, it's more like premium economy. (In fact all three U.S. major airlines are using the same seats in international premium economy as in domestic first class.) Airlines used to fill almost their entire domestic first class cabins with frequent-flyer upgrades, but these days they tend to try to sell the seat. It often doesn't cost much to buy up, but I find that a domestic first class seat isn't really all that much better over extra-legroom coach seating, which I get for free with United. A business class seat on an international-configuration aircraft is a whole different story.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:25 pm

When friends that worked at airlines got me there. I've done it using miles when there was a good deal or no other option. I cannot justify paying for it. Doubt I ever will be able to. And I've flown business (and first) many times overseas with friends that worked for the airlines. The service is practically meaningless to me. The extra space is nice for sure. But I'd rather spend the money while actually at my destination. To South America it is often 5x the price to go business class. In the past it was around $900 coach, $5000 business, and $9000k first to Buenos Aires.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by tooluser » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:31 pm

I started flying exclusively in business or first class in 1999. I am a giant and could no longer fit in the seats when they started making everything smaller. For personal travel I budget the cost in. For business travel I have worked with my company to get approval, and it is considered a "medical exception" to company policy. They require an annual letter from my physician stating that I am a giant. I guess there's always the possibility that my shoulder, hip, and thigh bones might get shorter?
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by financeguy88 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:31 pm

02nz wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:25 pm
financeguy88 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:15 pm
For longer domestic flights the price gap often isn’t that significant and I do it about half the time if I can find a good deal.
Domestic flights are a different ballgame. With the exception of a few routes (e.g. between JFK/Newark and some west coast cities), the "first class" product isn't really first class, it's more like premium economy. (In fact all three U.S. major airlines are using the same seats in international premium economy as in domestic first class.) Airlines used to fill almost their entire domestic first class cabins with frequent-flyer upgrades, but these days they tend to try to sell the seat. It often doesn't cost much to buy up, but I find that a domestic first class seat isn't really all that much better over extra-legroom coach seating, which I get for free with United. A business class seat on an international-configuration aircraft is a whole different story.
Yeah agreed that’s why I do it for “longer” domestic flights if I can find a deal. For example jet blue mint sometimes is only $700 for a cross country flight, or sometimes using miles makes sense.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:33 pm

When I worked for a living I made frequent business trips to Europe, so I earned a lot of frequent flyer miles. My employer purchased economy class tickets for me, but I would often be able to upgrade to business class with some of those frequent flyer miles. Since retiring five years ago, I have only flown in economy class. My logic is simple: I can afford to take more frequent and longer vacations if I fly economy rather than business. And, yes, I hate the long flights in economy.
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:37 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:33 pm
When I worked for a living I made frequent business trips to Europe, so I earned a lot of frequent flyer miles. My employer purchased economy class tickets for me, but I would often be able to upgrade to business class with some of those frequent flyer miles. Since retiring five years ago, I have only flown in economy class. My logic is simple: I can afford to take more frequent and longer vacations if I fly economy rather than business. And, yes, I hate the long flights in economy.
My view exactly. If you have more money than you can spend, that is one thing. I'd rather take 6 coach/middle range hotel trips a year than 2 first class hotel/air trips.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by 02nz » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:45 pm

financeguy88 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:31 pm
02nz wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:25 pm
financeguy88 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:15 pm
For longer domestic flights the price gap often isn’t that significant and I do it about half the time if I can find a good deal.
Domestic flights are a different ballgame. With the exception of a few routes (e.g. between JFK/Newark and some west coast cities), the "first class" product isn't really first class, it's more like premium economy. (In fact all three U.S. major airlines are using the same seats in international premium economy as in domestic first class.) Airlines used to fill almost their entire domestic first class cabins with frequent-flyer upgrades, but these days they tend to try to sell the seat. It often doesn't cost much to buy up, but I find that a domestic first class seat isn't really all that much better over extra-legroom coach seating, which I get for free with United. A business class seat on an international-configuration aircraft is a whole different story.
Yeah agreed that’s why I do it for “longer” domestic flights if I can find a deal. For example jet blue mint sometimes is only $700 for a cross country flight, or sometimes using miles makes sense.
Indeed, Mint is a game-changer, and it seems to be urging the competition to add true business class (with flat beds) to more cross-country routes, beyond just New York-LA/San Francisco.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by bob60014 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:48 pm

We started when we retired. We use the guide of any flight over 4hrs is a B.C. flight, 2-4 is premium economy and less than 2 is economy. On those long haul flights to SYD, NRT, SIN etc being able to get off the plane at 6, 7, 8 am fully refreshed after a good night's sleep, ready to hit the ground running, is totally worth it.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by MnD » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:49 pm

About 50% of the time starting about 10 years ago. I use miles or relatively small cash upgrade payments. It's small money.
If I made "high 6 figures" it would be more like 90% but I would still be smart about it.
For small to medium miles or dollars you can get to 90% or so without buying rack rate business or first class tickets.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by uberdoc » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:07 pm

I don’t fly business but do that for my parents and in-laws for long-haul international flights. After a certain age, we will also start flying business.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by Exterous » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:46 pm

For a short time we flew sales to Europe in business class but then economy fares started hitting $300-400 per person, round trip. I can also often find routings with some better than average coach seats like row 45 on Lufthansa's 747-8. There are also some relatively frequent $2,000-2500 RT flights to Asia in business if your dates and destinations are flexible. I'm tall and have broad shoulders so I'm either flying in business class on 9+ hour flights or I'm not going. Most of the time it involves miles in some manner but I'll pay for it if the price is right
financeguy88 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:15 pm
Also the airlines will let you carry much more luggage onto the plane if you flight business class internationally which eliminates the fairly common occurance of the airline losing luggage and messing up the trip that way. If making sure you have all of your luggage when you land is a key concern it may be worth it.
I'm not sure why flying in business class or with more luggage would mean the airline was less likely to lose your luggage. I would go with 'you are more likely to lose it since you're giving them more items to lose' and if its a connection issue your bags weren't going to make it regardless.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:51 pm

Exterous wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:46 pm
For a short time we flew sales to Europe in business class but then economy fares started hitting $300-400 per person, round trip. I can also often find routings with some better than average coach seats like row 45 on Lufthansa's 747-8. There are also some relatively frequent $2,000-2500 RT flights to Asia in business if your dates and destinations are flexible. I'm tall and have broad shoulders so I'm either flying in business class on 9+ hour flights or I'm not going. Most of the time it involves miles in some manner but I'll pay for it if the price is right
financeguy88 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:15 pm
Also the airlines will let you carry much more luggage onto the plane if you flight business class internationally which eliminates the fairly common occurance of the airline losing luggage and messing up the trip that way. If making sure you have all of your luggage when you land is a key concern it may be worth it.
I'm not sure why flying in business class or with more luggage would mean the airline was less likely to lose your luggage. I would go with 'you are more likely to lose it since you're giving them more items to lose' and if its a connection issue your bags weren't going to make it regardless.
I'm pretty sure that financeguy88 was referring to *carry on* luggage.
So if the bags are right there with you, they won't be lost by any baggage handlers.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:53 pm

My business debut came when I was about 21. Upstairs flying Cathay Pacific from Sydney to Hong Kong for the company. I got drunk and cried watching Ghost. I would never pay for it myself.

Anyway I approve of your plan. Someone has to subsidize we cheapskates in the back.

P.S. Check the seating configurations before forking out. I know United's middle row is 4-across on some planes. At least in E+ there's a good chance the seat next to me will be empty. And I will probably get off the plane before you do.
Last edited by SrGrumpy on Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

OSUmountaineer
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by OSUmountaineer » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:56 pm

I flew from Oakland to Toronto to Istanbul to Goreme, Turkey in a 36 hr whirlwind in economy 5 years ago. Then I learned about credit card churning and manufactured spending. We now almost never pay for flights (usually in J or F class) or hotel stays when traveling for fun.

So I guess I started flying business class when I figured out how to not pay for it...

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by AlohaJoe » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:00 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:33 pm
High 6-figures is more than $666,000 a year to me, so with only $12K monthly expenses, I'd say go for first class.
I thought the same thing. If someone is making >$500,000 and complaining about $24,000 in airfare -- especially when they said they hate flying coach -- they need a bit of a reality-check. What else is the money for?!?

ResearchMed
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:06 pm

OSUmountaineer wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:56 pm
I flew from Oakland to Toronto to Istanbul to Goreme, Turkey in a 36 hr whirlwind in economy 5 years ago. Then I learned about credit card churning and manufactured spending. We now almost never pay for flights (usually in J or F class) or hotel stays when traveling for fun.

So I guess I started flying business class when I figured out how to not pay for it...
Thus far, we've found the J or F travel is worth a *lot* more to us than using the awards/points for hotels.

Also, much of our overseas travel is to get to cruises, where we couldn't use the points anyway, or occasionally to stay with friends.
(I'm not sure if all of the hotels we prefer actually use awards.)

However, if we ever start to take more extended hotel-stay vacations, we should probably double check.

RM
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e5116
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by e5116 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:38 pm

slh4444 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:05 pm
For cross country domestic flights we purchase three seats for the two of us. This makes a big difference for reasonable (to me) cost. On one of our recent trips, two business/first class tickets were less expensive and included luggage. That was our first time and does make you want to repeat. My test is: Is it worth X $$$ not to anticipate the trip with dread.

We are 60s and 70s, but have been doing the 3 seats for 2 for over a decade. We have not done a really long flight. I would not want to be significantly uncomfortable that long. It would take some time to wear off. It could affect the beginning of the trip. Maybe at least business outgoing? At least coming back you can shake it off at home.
I'm confused as to how that is possible to do. Whose name is the third seat in? Do you have to call the airlines every time to explain the situation? I didn't think the online system would allow it and then they'd try to sell the third seat/give it to standby when nobody shows up.

I've flown business class for work but never pleasure. It's nice but I don't think it's remotely worth it. I'd rather travel more places myself. I'm 6'3" and leg room is the one big tangible benefit that business class gives, so I do get E+ (due to status) and have splurged on premium economy for a nominal upcharge.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:43 pm

e5116 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:38 pm
slh4444 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:05 pm
For cross country domestic flights we purchase three seats for the two of us. This makes a big difference for reasonable (to me) cost. On one of our recent trips, two business/first class tickets were less expensive and included luggage. That was our first time and does make you want to repeat. My test is: Is it worth X $$$ not to anticipate the trip with dread.

We are 60s and 70s, but have been doing the 3 seats for 2 for over a decade. We have not done a really long flight. I would not want to be significantly uncomfortable that long. It would take some time to wear off. It could affect the beginning of the trip. Maybe at least business outgoing? At least coming back you can shake it off at home.
I'm confused as to how that is possible to do. Whose name is the third seat in? Do you have to call the airlines every time to explain the situation? I didn't think the online system would allow it and then they'd try to sell the third seat/give it to standby when nobody shows up.
The only way we know to do this is to call the airline.
(If they have a fee for reservations made by phone - instead of online - they'll usually waive that if you point out that the reservation could not be made online; but they usually won't offer this if you don't ask.)

One person would have two seats. No seats are available to be sold to "someone else".
This might also be done for someone of size, who wants or needs two seats.

Also, be careful to avoid bulkhead rows or any other row where the entertainment system is in the armrest instead of the back of the row in front.
Not only does that mean that the seat width is slightly reduced, but the armrests won't fold down, which pretty much defeats the point.

RM
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:48 pm

Started flying "First Class" when my knees and spine could no longer tolerate regular class seats.
Usually bulkhead first row, one in from the window on either side, preferably the right side opposite the boarding door.
j

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market timer
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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by market timer » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:58 pm

Started when I had enough frequent flyer miles. Nowadays, I usually end up paying cash for business for long haul flights. When traveling with family, it does get expensive. Also, kids make the experience a bit less luxurious than when I fly solo (e.g., I might not even get to sleep). If I'm flying with my wife and leaving the kids at home, it's a much easier decision to pay up for business. With kids on a long haul flight, my preference is to fly economy during daylight hours and do an overnight stopover at an airport hotel. My wife would prefer we stay in business.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by traveler901 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:04 am

Only for work travel which the company always pays for. On personal travel I find it to be a huge rip off. Don't think it's anywhere near worth 8k for a ticket.

Really depends on your income. If you really make over 700k then I would say go for it. I would personally never pay for that for children.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by adrift » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:39 am

While I've flown business class a few times when I was working, I've never ponied up the money (or frequent flyer points) to do so on my own.

I do remember the first time I flew 1st class. In the mid 1970's, I was 17 years old and in the US Army. At that time, the airlines had something called military standby. I purchased a ticket at a reduced rate which entitled me to a flight only if there was a seat available. I was flying from Tulsa, Oklahoma to South Carolina.

My standby seat turned out to be in 1st class. In the seat next to me was a stuffed wild boar's head. Someone had shot a wild boar, stuffed its head, and bought a 1st class ticket to fly it home. One of the stewardesses was creeped out enough that she eventually brought a blanket and draped it over the pig's head.

I can't remember if as a 17 year old GI I got any free drinks. I'm almost certain the wild boar's head didn't.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by flyingaway » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:03 am

Afty wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:36 pm
We flew to Thailand last year and had a similar decision to make. We just couldn't justify flying business class. The amount it would have cost for all of us would pay for a pretty decent new car!
Yes. Flying business class to Thailand to eat cheap street food.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by iamlucky13 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:33 am

It sounds like you can afford the upgrade without any form of hardship.

With that established, I don't think you should put too much weight on the input of others. Rather, focus on whether the improved comfort for the long flights there and back has a higher value to you than other ways you would spend the money (eg, earlier retirement, home improvements, other vacations you might give up to maintain your planned savings rate if you splurge on this trip, etc).

That's not a question the Bogleheads are qualified to answer, regardless of how many times any individual has flown business. It's a question for you and your wife to discuss. You are the experts on your own priorities.

Just guessing based on income, you're probably already used to making far more difficult decisions than this one, where you know basically the full consequences of each of your options (which in neither case are dire), and you're answerable only to your family for your decision.

What might be beneficial input from this thread, on the other hand, is some of the ways folks are mentioning that they've lowered the costs of upgrades or had a better travel experience without upgrading to business. Economy plus has been mentioned. The suggestion of buying three seats instead of two personally intrigued me.

I didn't notice anybody mention the idea of breaking up the travel over a couple days to avoid an ultra long flight in an economy, an idea Icelandair has turned into a major element of their marketing strategy. A stopover with a nice hotel room to rest up comfortably in and maybe even a chauffeured ride to a few sights is far cheaper than a business class upgrade.

For example, from US East Coast with a stop in Europe, or US West Coast with a stop in Honolulu or Tokyo. Have any interest in spending a day in an intermediate city like that?

The obvious downside is less time at your final destination.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by HornedToad » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:07 am

When I stopped paying cash for as many flights and using points. It's much more expensive cash-wise for business, but not that many more points for award travel. It's just harder to book and have to be flexible with dates.

It's just a MUCH more enjoyable experience for 8+ hour flights but I have a hard time justifying it if paying cash. The new international premium economy seats look like a reasonable option

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by Cruise » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:58 am

The last international economy flight we took was in 1987. Up until 2017, we Were able to use FF miles to secure international F seats on our near-yearly trips.

The world of premium-class flying has changed. Unfortunately, on many itineraries, airlines have drastically reduced their international F inventory, and have stopped releasing saver award inventory until shortly before the flights. While we still have a ton of miles, 2018 marks our first year of paying for a secured business seat with something other than FF miles. It is tough to cough up and pay, but we can, so we do.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by strafe » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:18 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:00 pm
livesoft wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:33 pm
High 6-figures is more than $666,000 a year to me, so with only $12K monthly expenses, I'd say go for first class.
I thought the same thing. If someone is making >$500,000 and complaining about $24,000 in airfare -- especially when they said they hate flying coach -- they need a bit of a reality-check. What else is the money for?!?
sometimes people use the phrase “six figures” as a euphemism for $100,000, as opposed to describing the literal range of 100-999k. It’s possible his income is $150-200k. The question would make a lot more sense in that context. Though it’s harder to square with the reported household expenses.

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Re: When did you start flying business class?

Post by carolc » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:56 am

I started when I could afford it (maybe 10years ago). For any flight 4 hours or more, I splurge. It allows me to not dread the whole airport/flying experience. And I love the seats that allow you to sleep on your side!

carolc

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