Flying first class, business, versus economy.

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by Artful Dodger » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:26 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:27 am
randomguy wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:00 am
Curious about how many of the people that are willing to spend thousands more on a seat would be willing to buy a 5k watch? :) Choosing to fly anything other than economy is going to show the split in bogleheads between the high earners for whom spending a couple thousand bucks is reasonable and the live as frugally as possible brigade who would never consider paying that much money for a seat.

In the end this is just like any other luxury purchase. it is really about what else you would do with that money and if it would make you happier.
I disagree. A $5k purchase I can have for 25 years is different than a $5k purchase that lasts a few hours.
This is my take as well. I have plenty of award miles, and if i can get an upgrade for miles + $300, I'll gladly upgrade to business or first. I really enjoy the experience. If not, I'll usually do the economy plus for a $100-$250 more. We're now AA Gold, and economy plus is half off. Whenever I price the difference between coach and business, it's often $3000~ (for transatlantic). Times 2, that's more than I'll spend on local travel, lodging, food, and entertainment for the entire ten day vacation.

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

Post by Atilla » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:10 pm

The airline must matter a bunch too. We flew O'Hare to Munich on Lufthansa in the cheep seats and it was not bad at all. The whole 9 hour flight on the way over I only got up twice. Wife and I are both 6' tall.

On the return, the final 1 hour connecting United flight - my back was killing me it was so uncomfortable.
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technovelist
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by technovelist » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:21 pm

At age 68, after a 3 1/2 hour trip where we actually bought an empty middle seat but were still in pain hours after the flight, I said "Never again".

So we now fly domestic first class from DFW-PHL and will do the same for other trips of similar length.

It costs about $750 rather than $350 per person, round trip. So we are spending $400 each for 7 hours of relative comfort.

And we are far from the wealthiest people on this board.
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

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

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:31 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:42 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:23 pm
I always fly economy. That's part of the travel. You know what I do when the economy seat gets tough. I think of crossing the Altantic in a boat, like the Pilgrims. I think of crossing the country in a wagon train. I think of all those who have gone before me in their travels in much tougher means than to sit in a plane in economy for 12 hours and be transported halfway around the world. A trip that would have taken weeks/months to accomplish in the past.
So I play these little mind games. I see those in business or first and think of them as weak. Unable to get through a journey without the big amenities that most of the world does not even have on the ground. I think of these people as the ones who will not survive a Black Swan event.
Often times the cost of business or first class is the same as what I spend on an entire one month vacation. Hard to justify that being a frugal and sensible BH.
So sometimes I suffer a bit. Sackcloth and ashes.
I got a kick out of this. As I said above, I fly coach when I pay. I'm not that good at fooling myself though. It is more of a cost benefit analysis. I am curious if you use this technique for other things. Like eating at a cheap restaurant and thinking cavemen would be out in the freezing weather hunting down their food or something. I'm not criticizing-I think it is a good technique if it works for you.
I do not play mind games. May be I should. All I can think of how much money it is per hour I save by not flying first class. I have worked hard for my money but not flying first class is the easiest money saved yet.

I never forget the times when the only transportation I could afford was a bicycle and I had to cycle in the rain and I was wet through and through and cold as can be and now I drive a car with brakes that work, heat and I get there so much faster. When ever it rains I feel so fortunate.

I remember the times I would not get a glass of wine when going out to dinner and now we get a bottle. I feel so fortunate to go to dinner and not care about prices only care if the food and service is half way decent.

When I fly coach I get there at the same time as the person in first class so what is the big deal. I will always fly coach. I am too cheap to do anything else. I hate everything about flying. The lines, the herding to get into the plane, the waiting for the baggage at the carousel. The flights which are late, cancelled or worse when you have boarded never take off because of a technical issue or the plane is diverted about a technical issue etc.

For me for first class does not decrease the suffering in the least. It adds to it. Now I would feel like a sucker to pay double or triple for what I consider a minor upgrade.

I am happy that the cost / benefit analysis for other people works differently and that they enjoy flying first class.
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rabbitrun
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by rabbitrun » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:34 pm

I have some friends in private equity who fly first on any trip >3hrs on the company dime. They are all global service on United.

I cannot do that, but I do enjoy the business/first experience on overseas flights. With points and miles (accrued mainly through my credit card), it is pretty easy to find very good deals on award tickets overseas in business/first. For example, this summer I flew to Europe in first for 80k miles. That's an 8k ticket if you were to buy it outright. With a value of $.10/mile its a no brainer for me.

Also, if you are traveling off peak (ie not summer, in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc.) you can find domestic first class tickets for just a hundred dollars or so more than economy or economy plus. Thats the other occasion I will spring for first.

michaeljc70
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:45 am

Wildebeest wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:31 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:42 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:23 pm
I always fly economy. That's part of the travel. You know what I do when the economy seat gets tough. I think of crossing the Altantic in a boat, like the Pilgrims. I think of crossing the country in a wagon train. I think of all those who have gone before me in their travels in much tougher means than to sit in a plane in economy for 12 hours and be transported halfway around the world. A trip that would have taken weeks/months to accomplish in the past.
So I play these little mind games. I see those in business or first and think of them as weak. Unable to get through a journey without the big amenities that most of the world does not even have on the ground. I think of these people as the ones who will not survive a Black Swan event.
Often times the cost of business or first class is the same as what I spend on an entire one month vacation. Hard to justify that being a frugal and sensible BH.
So sometimes I suffer a bit. Sackcloth and ashes.
I got a kick out of this. As I said above, I fly coach when I pay. I'm not that good at fooling myself though. It is more of a cost benefit analysis. I am curious if you use this technique for other things. Like eating at a cheap restaurant and thinking cavemen would be out in the freezing weather hunting down their food or something. I'm not criticizing-I think it is a good technique if it works for you.
I do not play mind games. May be I should. All I can think of how much money it is per hour I save by not flying first class. I have worked hard for my money but not flying first class is the easiest money saved yet.

I never forget the times when the only transportation I could afford was a bicycle and I had to cycle in the rain and I was wet through and through and cold as can be and now I drive a car with brakes that work, heat and I get there so much faster. When ever it rains I feel so fortunate.

I remember the times I would not get a glass of wine when going out to dinner and now we get a bottle. I feel so fortunate to go to dinner and not care about prices only care if the food and service is half way decent.

When I fly coach I get there at the same time as the person in first class so what is the big deal. I will always fly coach. I am too cheap to do anything else. I hate everything about flying. The lines, the herding to get into the plane, the waiting for the baggage at the carousel. The flights which are late, cancelled or worse when you have boarded never take off because of a technical issue or the plane is diverted about a technical issue etc.

For me for first class does not decrease the suffering in the least. It adds to it. Now I would feel like a sucker to pay double or triple for what I consider a minor upgrade.

I am happy that the cost / benefit analysis for other people works differently and that they enjoy flying first class.
I think similarly. I am grateful to be going on a trip. When I was a kid, vacations were far and few between and extremely basic road trips with 6 people in a car.

Also, if you fly every 2 years, it is different. In the last year I have been to Canada twice, Mexico, South America, Europe, and the Caribbean (well, going this week) on vacation. If I flew business class it would have cost more than I spent on all those trips combined.

People have talked about cramped seats and people spilling over. Though I have experienced that, if you can fly on planes with a 2-5-2 configuration (which seems to be becoming more rare) and get in the "2" seats, it is just you and your spouse or friend.

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

Post by schmoglehead » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:00 am

We fly economy. We take an hour to get settled, then take 10 mg of Ambien and we are out for 5-6 hours. At least for us, it works really well and reduces jet lag.

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8foot7
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:00 am

As a business owner I can set my own travel policy. I've decided that if it's important enough for me to go, it's generally important enough to be in first class domestically and business class internationally. This has two benefits: 1) if I have to go, then I arrive more refreshed and I am more productive during the travel time, and 2) it changes the calculus of my travel significantly enough that I say no to more trips I might have otherwise gone on, which works for me as I wish to spend more time at home with family. Often clients asking me to go somewhere push back some when I state my policy, and I generally just say if you need me there in person, this is how it works; otherwise I am happy to participate virtually.

Still reserve the right to examine trips on a case-by-case basis, especially for <1hr flights up and down the east coast and flights with wife and two kids in tow, but it works for me.

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

Post by dbr » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:08 am

8foot7 wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:00 am
This has two benefits: 1) if I have to go, then I arrive more refreshed and I am more productive during the travel time
That is contingent on actually arriving more refreshed. If that works for you, then you are blessed. It doesn't work for me. What works for me is arriving a day earlier by any means and recovering in a hotel that costs a fraction of the more expensive ticket.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by technovelist » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:09 am

8foot7 wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:00 am
As a business owner I can set my own travel policy. I've decided that if it's important enough for me to go, it's generally important enough to be in first class domestically and business class internationally. This has two benefits: 1) if I have to go, then I arrive more refreshed and I am more productive during the travel time, and 2) it changes the calculus of my travel significantly enough that I say no to more trips I might have otherwise gone on, which works for me as I wish to spend more time at home with family. Often clients asking me to go somewhere push back some when I state my policy, and I generally just say if you need me there in person, this is how it works; otherwise I am happy to participate virtually.

Still reserve the right to examine trips on a case-by-case basis, especially for <1hr flights up and down the east coast and flights with wife and two kids in tow, but it works for me.
I can only imagine how uncomfortable someone 8'7" would be in coach! :mrgreen:
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

mak1277
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by mak1277 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:20 am

dbr wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:14 pm
Also you can afford a pretty nice place to stay for the money saved on airfare.
This is where personal preference plays in. I'd much rather fly first class and stay in an "average" hotel than fly coach and stay in a great hotel.

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

Post by zinders » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:22 am

I travel for work and go overseas at least six times a year, sometimes more. Premium economy - preferably the bulkhead or exit row - works for me. My husband is 6’5, and I always makes sure he gets one of these seats. He usually flies with me about 3 times a year.

It would be nice to go business class, sure. But I would rather spend less on flights to go more often. We’re attacking our bucket list now while we’re working instead of when we are retired. I get about $40,000/year in subsidized travel. We’re going to milk that while we can.

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

Post by SouthernCPA » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:39 am

My company has a membership to a charter jet service. Once you fly that way, even first class seems like a pain because of all of the airport headaches. Show up to the private hangar, grab a coffee in the lounge to go and step into the plane and go. The flight leaves when you get there. No security, no TSA, no having to arrive early.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by neilpilot » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:15 pm

SouthernCPA wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:39 am
My company has a membership to a charter jet service. Once you fly that way, even first class seems like a pain because of all of the airport headaches. Show up to the private hangar, grab a coffee in the lounge to go and step into the plane and go. The flight leaves when you get there. No security, no TSA, no having to arrive early.
There's another major advantage - you can travel to the airport nearest to your destination. In the USA for every airport with commercial service, there are at least 5 others without commercial flights that can accommodate a charter jet.

michaeljc70
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:32 pm

The topic is really about whether it is worth spending the money to fly first class or business versus economy. I don't think anyone is going to fly economy instead of first class (or private) if your company pays for it.

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by NYC_Guy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:32 pm

jahol000 wrote:
Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:16 pm
For those needing a visual to help you survive the coach seating experience, consider the following:

"You've just settled in your business class seat, the flight attendant approaches and asks if you would be willing to move back ten feet - to coach. As compensation she will deliver to you each and every hour of the flight three crisp 100 hundred dollar bills. Would you do it?"

Yes, the differential can easily be that much.
No

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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by lazydavid » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:10 pm

FlexibleSpender wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:07 pm
I am not sure at what salary point I would need to be at in order to pay 5-10 times the price of coach to fly first class.
We only fly Business/First for leisure travel, for the past 4-5 years now. We've never paid, nor even seen a 5-10x multiple. Most of the time it's around 2x. Now granted, we haven't done any TATL trips in that time. But just mocking up a trip from ORD-CDG for next year, the multiple is almost exactly 3x. ORD-SYD is about 4x.

My company mandates travel in Coach. I actually pay for upgrades myself whenever possible--and select flights based on the perceived odds that my upgrade will clear. My most recent flights were too short (477 miles) for paid upgrades, and my status is low enough that there was no hope of the free upgrade clearing. So even though I did manage to score the bulkhead with plenty of legroom both directions, I still wound up sore.

michaeljc70
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:44 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:10 pm
FlexibleSpender wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:07 pm
I am not sure at what salary point I would need to be at in order to pay 5-10 times the price of coach to fly first class.
We only fly Business/First for leisure travel, for the past 4-5 years now. We've never paid, nor even seen a 5-10x multiple. Most of the time it's around 2x. Now granted, we haven't done any TATL trips in that time. But just mocking up a trip from ORD-CDG for next year, the multiple is almost exactly 3x. ORD-SYD is about 4x.

My company mandates travel in Coach. I actually pay for upgrades myself whenever possible--and select flights based on the perceived odds that my upgrade will clear. My most recent flights were too short (477 miles) for paid upgrades, and my status is low enough that there was no hope of the free upgrade clearing. So even though I did manage to score the bulkhead with plenty of legroom both directions, I still wound up sore.
I put in ORD-CDG using 1/9-1/16 and it was $2600 for business and $380 for economy. So I guess it depends when you go. I did +-3 days to see if it changed much and $2600 was the cheapest business and $380 was the cheapest economy. First class had $7054 as the cheapest. I used Kayak to search.

Of course if you are going from Chicago to Florida it won't be 10x as much for business.

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

Post by lazydavid » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:52 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:44 pm
I put in ORD-CDG using 1/9-1/16 and it was $2600 for business and $380 for economy. So I guess it depends when you go. I did +-3 days to see if it changed much and $2600 was the cheapest business and $380 was the cheapest economy. First class had $7054 as the cheapest. I used Kayak to search.
We tend to book further out, and I was seeing the 3-4x multiple later in 2018. Agreed that it does look like when you book/go matters.

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

Post by curmudgeon » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:33 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:52 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:44 pm
I put in ORD-CDG using 1/9-1/16 and it was $2600 for business and $380 for economy. So I guess it depends when you go. I did +-3 days to see if it changed much and $2600 was the cheapest business and $380 was the cheapest economy. First class had $7054 as the cheapest. I used Kayak to search.
We tend to book further out, and I was seeing the 3-4x multiple later in 2018. Agreed that it does look like when you book/go matters.
It also matters on how long the flight is (and maybe how obnoxious the economy seats are). We find business class to Europe from the west coast more expensive (or harder to get with FF miles) than it would be from east coast, presumably because people care more on the longer flights. I pretty much always see 5x or more in multiple for current standard international flights when I am looking. I still go around in circles on this choice. We are retired, so an extra recovery day on arrival is just the cost of hotel and food. We've set ourselves a pretty generous travel budget, and have a stash of FF miles, so I thought we'd be doing business class. But now we have some grandkids in Europe, so we are planning on more trips... I think I've settled for economy for the next couple of trips, but picking through the airlines/planes to try to avoid the worst sardine cans. As an example, United has shifted a bunch of their 777s to 10-across seating when the planes were really designed for 9-across.

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

Post by hudson » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:10 pm

I've never flown any other way than economy. Better seats cost too much. I just looked at the prices for a flight from US to Bangkok:

$1129 Economy Class
$1,937 Premium Economy
$6,664 Business Class
$13,838 First Class

I usually have to buy 3 tickets. I would have heartburn paying the extra $800 for one ticket for Premium Economy.
I'll just tough it out or not go. Even though the better seats would be nice, those folks still have to make the long ride. For me, the long ride is the worst part.

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

Post by Cruise » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:25 am

lazydavid wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:52 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:44 pm
I put in ORD-CDG using 1/9-1/16 and it was $2600 for business and $380 for economy. So I guess it depends when you go. I did +-3 days to see if it changed much and $2600 was the cheapest business and $380 was the cheapest economy. First class had $7054 as the cheapest. I used Kayak to search.
We tend to book further out, and I was seeing the 3-4x multiple later in 2018. Agreed that it does look like when you book/go matters.
Out of curiosity, I checked the mileage differential for award tickets on a route that I just booked for late 2018. Business saver "cost" 1.86 the mileage compared to economy saver.

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

Post by lazydavid » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:07 am

Cruise wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:25 am
Out of curiosity, I checked the mileage differential for award tickets on a route that I just booked for late 2018. Business saver "cost" 1.86 the mileage compared to economy saver.
That's not bad at all. Since we have a massive pile of miles, we'd probably go that route.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:55 am

hudson wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:10 pm
I've never flown any other way than economy. Better seats cost too much. I just looked at the prices for a flight from US to Bangkok:

$1129 Economy Class
$1,937 Premium Economy
$6,664 Business Class
$13,838 First Class

I usually have to buy 3 tickets. I would have heartburn paying the extra $800 for one ticket for Premium Economy.
I'll just tough it out or not go. Even though the better seats would be nice, those folks still have to make the long ride. For me, the long ride is the worst part.
This is a great way to show how we use awards.

IF (when?) we run out of our stash of awards points with AAdvantage (American Airlines, mostly accrues from charging everything we can), we are able to purchase them. With the several-times-per-year (including now), we can buy points for just under 2 cents per point, so call it 2 cents per.

We flew First Class JL (Japan Airlines) to Japan in May. Those tickets would have been ~$13k pp, one way, similar to above.
We used 85,000 points. You can do the math.
(Note that we still have lots of AAdvantage awards, and even more American Express Awards, but the latter cannot be "purchased" for cash, so we may end up switching spending to Amex Plat again, if those points start to get used up. For now, the AAdvantage points, especially on *partner* airlines, are of much greater use to us.)

On the return, we chose a different routing so we could try F in CX (Cathay Pacific), an airline and class of service we'd heard a lot about.
That cost 115,000 points, per person, one way, and also would have cost about $13k pp, one way, cash.
(Again, we didn't pay for those points... yet.)

We could have saved about $500 (+/-) pp, one way if we had gone Business class instead.
Those flights were SO fantastic, it was among the best use of our money for flights that were 14+ - 15++ hour flights (the return also had another leg, included in the points).

We really did not want to get off the plane on the way back. The "beds" were almost as wide as a regular twin bed, and with the mattress on the totally flat seat, and then the fluffy comforter... and the "as desired" dining, including being able to dine together facing each other, using the "guest seat" :wink: (that was both ways, but the guest seat wasn't comfortable on JL, because the "back" was the TV screen, rather than a padded back).

Would we EVER pay >$50k for both of us, round trip to fly F like that? No a chance!
But IF we needed to make those very long trips, we absolutely would pay for Business, a this age/this point in our lives... or we simply would not go.
But *IF* we can purchase the points, and still get F for much less than "cash cost for Business"... that's a slam dunk for us.

Getting the awards seats can be easy, or "not so much".
On the outbound, I got 2 seats on the same flight quite easily; we were flexible by a day or two. (There are only 8 F seats, so that was a surprise.)
On the return, CX only has 6 F seats, and parcels them out less generously.
So we got one F, and one Business to make sure we were on the same flight. We had been told that CX might release more awards seats about 2 weeks prior to departure, if there were any available. (We were also checking if 2 F seats opened on a flight - once per day - a day or two earlier or later, but that wasn't happening.) Sure enough, just about 2 weeks out from the return, we got another F seat.
There were plenty of Business seats available, so if the second F didn't open, we could have switched the F to a Business and flown together in that class.
In both cases, only half the seat/beds were actually used (4 on the JL flight, 3 on the CX return). So... IF there were other requests for awards seats, would they open more up, or prefer to let the seats go empty to (in the words of an hotelier years ago, about pricing) "preserve the integrity of the brand"? :wink:

For us, at this stage, when we are trying to emphasize those special trips we didn't take earlier, and while we still *can* (keeping in mind changing health/aging), we strongly prefer to make the "travel getting there and back" a good part of the trip, not something to be tolerated, or dreaded.\
For example, on the outbound, JL offered 3 types of noodles. So we had a "noodle tasting" along with a "wine tasting" as a snack part way across.
It was just plain *fun*.
And the sleeping? several good, long "naps"... out cold and in favorite sleeping positions... woke so refreshed...!

The real benefit to us of the AA awards points is NOT to travel on American, but to use premium seats in their international partner airlines.
It's like day and night.
(And the points don't have any of the "saver" or other categories where the points needed can be much more. Just one category of points needed per class of seat, between two travel zones.)

RM
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SouthernCPA
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by SouthernCPA » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:32 pm
The topic is really about whether it is worth spending the money to fly first class or business versus economy. I don't think anyone is going to fly economy instead of first class (or private) if your company pays for it.
True, when I fly with the company it's either a charter flight or first class because that's all we fly. When my wife and I take vacation, it's always economy because I'd rather spend the money on things at the actual vacation destination. I do try and get the emergency exit row to get a little more leg room.

e5116
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by e5116 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:07 pm

rabbitrun wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:34 pm
For example, this summer I flew to Europe in first for 80k miles. That's an 8k ticket if you were to buy it outright. With a value of $.10/mile its a no brainer for me.
It's only a no brainer if YOU value it at 8k....Otherwise, the $.10/mile figure is meaningless. ;) But seriously, I often see posts on point sites about AMAZING valuations on redeeming miles for first class tickets, but they're only amazing because the prices are so obscene. :D I will say that 80k miles RT to Europe in first sounds amazingly cheap though! Maybe you're talking one way, but $8k one way sounds very high.

As a 6'3" guy, I don't pay for business on my own dime ever. I have flown it a couple times TATL for business and thought it was nice, but not earth shattering. Having said that, I have gotten access to Economy Plus the last several years (due to status) which makes a big difference, and I often snag emergency exit or bulkhead for extra legroom too. It's all legroom for me -- the service, food, seat width don't have as much value. I did for the first time get Premium Economy (a different class of service rather than just Economy "Plus") on a trip to Africa this year that I booked on points. It was only 50,000 points roundtrip though (Iberia bases their points on mileage rather than distances), which was cheaper than going to Europe on United/AA in economy, so figured it was worth it. The premium in points was relatively negligible.

It is really a personal decision, but I find it a bit interesting that for some reason it seems like many posters on this board are willing to spend thousands on travel/first class tickets without blinking an eye, but overwhelmingly oppose splurge purchases of material goods. I guess it's a matter of priorities.

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

Post by randomguy » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:46 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:45 am

People have talked about cramped seats and people spilling over. Though I have experienced that, if you can fly on planes with a 2-5-2 configuration (which seems to be becoming more rare) and get in the "2" seats, it is just you and your spouse or friend.

Problem is when it is your spouse spilling over:)

It would be sort of interesting to know how many people pay cash versus upgrades. As people have pointed out the upgrade price isn't quite as offensive as paying cash. It is one thing to pay an extra 3k out of pocket while spending like 80k miles just doesn't seem like anywhere near as much. I suppose income levels also matter. If you are spending 300k/year, and added 5k on travel isn't as noticeable as when you are living on 50k.

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

Post by technovelist » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:15 pm

randomguy wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:46 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:45 am

People have talked about cramped seats and people spilling over. Though I have experienced that, if you can fly on planes with a 2-5-2 configuration (which seems to be becoming more rare) and get in the "2" seats, it is just you and your spouse or friend.

Problem is when it is your spouse spilling over:)

It would be sort of interesting to know how many people pay cash versus upgrades. As people have pointed out the upgrade price isn't quite as offensive as paying cash. It is one thing to pay an extra 3k out of pocket while spending like 80k miles just doesn't seem like anywhere near as much. I suppose income levels also matter. If you are spending 300k/year, and added 5k on travel isn't as noticeable as when you are living on 50k.
I flew back and forth from DFW to PHL last year, all in cash-paid first. But then it was only about twice the price of economy, not 10x; the tickets were about $750 each.

Of course paying cash for the tickets also qualified me for gold status, which is a lot better than "lead" status.
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

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

Post by traveltoomuch » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:50 pm

cartman wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:50 pm
The question we are contemplating is whether it is worth it to upgrade our seating the next time we travel abroad.
The OP posted in a new thread that they've decided to fly in first or business.

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

Post by sawhorse » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:54 pm

My first and only looong trip was 12 years ago from the east coast of the United States to Asia. The longest leg was 18 hours, and in total it was over 24 hours.

I literally slept for 36 hours upon arriving because the flights had exhausted me. I couldn't sleep in my seat, and I get easily exhausted on flights for some reason.

Short trips economy is fine, but I will never voluntarily take a loooong flight again where I don't have a lie flat bed. Even though I would love to travel to far away places, I will not do it unless I can afford a lie flat bed for the trip. If that means never seeing those destinations, so be it.

I don't care about wine or silverware or anything like that. Just give me a lie flat bed so I can sleep.

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

Post by sawhorse » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:57 pm

Does anyone else get unusually exhausted on flights? Even a 2 hour flight in the same time zone requires a nap for me to recover. So for a long flight, if I can't sleep on the plane, it's very difficult when I get to the destination.

msk
Posts: 503
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Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by msk » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:08 am

Whoever gets excessively exhausted by flying, please have a full medical. Dehydration because of the dry, low pressure air in the plane is a well known cause, but... DW can hardly stay awake after sunset at an altitude of 7000ft last time we drove there. Takes only a couple of hours from our house by car. Turned out she is severely anaemic, now on iron pills, at age 53. A friend last year found out that he has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (basically his lungs are scarring inside for no known reason. Obviously even first class tickets will not do much. He now has to take an oxygen cylinder with him when he goes out. 36 hours' sleeping after missing 8 hours' sleep, to me, indicates other issues... A flat bed seat will not fix that. Get checked.

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

Post by curmudgeon » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:23 am

sawhorse wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:57 pm
Does anyone else get unusually exhausted on flights? Even a 2 hour flight in the same time zone requires a nap for me to recover. So for a long flight, if I can't sleep on the plane, it's very difficult when I get to the destination.
I found that the noise on long flights was a major factor in tiring me out. Even when I was young. I learned long ago to make a habit of taking and wearing ear plugs for any flight over two hours. These days I use noise cancelling headphones, which are better yet, but simple earplugs (the compression foam ones) go a long way. Some of the newer large planes (like A380, A350, B777, B787) are somewhat better for noise. Worst I can remember was an old DC8, but old 747s can be bad as well.

FlexibleSpender
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:29 am

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by FlexibleSpender » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:14 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:10 pm
FlexibleSpender wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:07 pm
I am not sure at what salary point I would need to be at in order to pay 5-10 times the price of coach to fly first class.
We only fly Business/First for leisure travel, for the past 4-5 years now. We've never paid, nor even seen a 5-10x multiple. Most of the time it's around 2x.
I just looked for a flight from LAX to NRT
Economy $1200
First class $10,175
On the same flight at that...

LAX to Honolulu
$7xx for economy and $13xx for first class.

Much easier pill to swallow. The only time I ever look at first class was for international flight, therefore, I quickly "learned" to not check. In hindsight, first class for some flights doesn't seem too bad of a difference.

lazydavid
Posts: 1146
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Post by lazydavid » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:37 pm

FlexibleSpender wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:14 pm
I just looked for a flight from LAX to NRT
Economy $1200
First class $10,175
On the same flight at that...
Agreed, I wouldn't pay that, I'd probably use miles (between the wife and I we have ~1.5 million). Is this a 2-class or 3-class flight? I doubt we'd pay for legit FC on a 3-class flight, but we typically do on 2-class flights, which would more accurately be called "Business Class". If the flight you found was a 3-class plane, and BC is in the low $3,xxx range, I'd probably be willing to pay.

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