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Old 08-10-2008, 05:09 AM   #21
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The only time I ever got upgraded to FC was several years ago on an international Alitalia flight. The lady at the counter just offered it to me! I never asked, nor would know how to ask without feeling ridiculous. I'm not a frequent flyer.

I would pay a modest amount for an upgrade if it were available. I enjoyed the FC quite a bit, and I'd be willing to pay maybe around 3x the coach price for the service on instinct. Realistically, what they offer is only about that: 2x the space plus some perks. I have no idea who would pay 10x the coach fare, though, unless they literally have money to burn.

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Old 08-10-2008, 07:17 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger View Post
You have the funds. Whats to hate? Good for you
Thats how we see it . Thanks

A todos los amantes del mundo. No importa el color de su piel, la pasion es universal.

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Old 08-10-2008, 08:17 AM   #23
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I have done all my commercial flying in the past. FC was always a bump up the few times I did fly it that way. Currently, with all the stuff I hear and see, I would not voluntarily fly on any commercial aircraft. If I can not get on a free private jet ride (or a military Space A flight) I will just drive everywhere I want to go.
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:35 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Cattusbabe View Post
Gulp. My husband and I routinely fly first class. My husband is 6'8" tall and long flights are painful for him in coach. I am a woman of "ahem" abundant proportions and fly first class for the same reason. We factor in the increase in price when we plan our trips. Best to get all the dirty laundry out there we also travel business class when taking the train....don't hate us.
As a submariner I'm quite proficient at squeezing my body into tiny spaces for long periods without room to sit down, let alone easy bathroom access. I've also flown on a number of military aircraft and would happily donate body parts to avoid ever again having to snuggle into a C-130 that's older than me. I feel I've paid my dues and served my time.

Spouse can't help but gag whenever she sees the price difference. She's read "Predictably Irrational" but consumer psychology still takes over when she starts shopping price. She's traveled on more planes than I have but she still thinks it's better to travel coach.

Our kid has no need to learn how to travel first class. But I can understand how parents of teens would select that option to make it easier for the attendants to keep an eye on the teen's fellow passengers.

So when I'm by myself, I fly first class. It's a bargain on that 10-hour Honolulu-Newark flight.

Do we really need any justification to avoid opportunities to incite the onset of deep-vein thrombosis? In my case, I've traveled solo just a few times a decade. I'm reflexively frugal and I save way more than enough money to afford the luxury-- indeed it's more of a personal stretch (so to speak) to fly first-class than it is to suffer in coach. And if I'm wracked by consumer guilt, I know that I can always buy a few carbon credits from Al Gore.

Besides, once when I was upgraded to first class I ended up next to Bill Nye the Science Guy. You just can't buy those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in coach.

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Old 08-10-2008, 09:32 AM   #25
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I wonder if there's a niche that some venturesome airline could exploit. Fuel costs are a major expense that airlines pay. Because aerodynamic drag is a function of the square of the airspeed, a lot of airlines are already reducing their cruising speeds. The aircraft they have now, however, have turbojet engines optimized for the higher cruise speeds. Turboprop engines are more efficient at lower speeds, and the airlines are already buying more of them and reducing their orders for the small regional jets.

So, we'll have people crammed into airplanes for longer flight times on many of our domestic routes. Just maybe an airline could make some money by satisfying some customers. Increase the seat spacing a bit, or even install wider seats and make every seat "business class." If the acft manufacturers see the market, they'll build planes with the 18" increased cabin width that allows wider seats while maintaining four seats per row. This is the way flying used to be on the old piston-engine airliners, with a feel much more like a nice passenger train than a cattle car. After all, empty move-around space doesn't directly add weight and fuel costs (though the larger aircraft structure does add marginally to the weight and fuel costs). In addition, the increased passenger volume (fuselage width and length) makes it easy and cheap to add more cargo room below decks--a real moneymaker when hauling stuff for the USPS or the private package delivery services.

An extra hour gate-to-gate on a 4 hour flight would be just fine if I had a nice seat that reclined a meaningful distance and enough room to straighten my legs. I'd even pay a little extra.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:48 AM   #26
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I like flying first class. Wherever you're going, you get there before everyone else!

I never paid for a 1st class ticket, but at least for a while there a lot of airlines were selling every seat for whatever fare class they could get, and then bumping people that checked in late into first class.

I did enough air travel that I was able to collect enough miles for one first class upgrade every 3-4 months. Whenever I traveled more than 3 hours I'd get myself bumped on the return trip.

It seems so silly that a few more inches of seat space and leg room, and some slightly better food and drink would make a difference, but man...6-14 hours in coach sucks but the same time in a first class seat and you still feel vaguely human when you land.

Biggest "AUGH!" ever in air travel for me was when a whole bunch of us were flying from california to london. The company wouldnt pay for the first class upgrades. About 20 of us all got in line, I was first. They seated me in coach. And then upgraded everyone in line behind me to first class.
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:54 AM   #27
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I fly enough for work, and flew enough with my family back in the 1950's and 1960's that frankly I would have to be loopy to want to fly for pleasure these days. I work for the federal government, and our agency does not permit first class tickets. I assume that is because it would be a wasteful expenditure that does not contribute to our mission... but probably it is mainly due to the fact that our agency might be considered by some to be cheap!!! .

Anyway - - the last time I flew first class was to go to my father's funeral in Hawaii, in 1981. The flight was booked, but I told the airlines why I needed a seat and that I had a 3-year-old that had to sit with me. I ended up with first class seats on the flight of my choice, and didn't have to pay extra for them. It was WONDERFUL....
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:19 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
I suspect a large portion of those seats are filled by frequent fliers that get upgrades on their standard tickets.
A lot are also filled by airline employees traveling space available. If they don't fill FC with paying or upgraded customers they'll fill the balance with SAs.
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:32 PM   #29
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my weimaraner once had her own first class window seat but it was the ol'man's employer who paid.

she was supposed to be crated but when we arrived the crate was damaged. they tried to get us to use a small crate but i was 16 and threw a hissy fit about it in the airport (way before 911, when you could get away with that).

so they asked permission of the passengers and no one complained. this was in the 70s before wegman so probably not many people knew what a weimar was. you should have seen them stare when a 70 lb dog walked aboard and hopped onto her seat.

oh, she had the chicken.
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:44 PM   #30
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When flying coach (always on my dime) I always opt for the emergency isle seat, if available. Double to leg room than other coach seats. You have to verify that you will be available to help open the emergency door, which is OK with me~~~that means that I have priority sliding out.
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:54 PM   #31
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May sound smug, but my mega-corp bought (milked gov't contracts) first class for employees above a certain grade level. I racked up over a million miles in First Class and got nearly 2 million FF miles, so I almost always buy coach and get upgraded by the counter personnel, if not, I get upgraded with FF.

Like Cattusbabe, I have the funds, and I consider FC seats an important part of the travel experience. Why not?
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:58 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
I do not know of any airline that will bump you to first class from coach if you are flying overseas....
Maybe not a free upgrade from coach on an international flight, but many will let you purchase an upgrade for miles and/or a cash payment at the gate. So it might cost you $300 for the upgrade, but that's still far less than the thousands it would've cost to buy the premium ticket in the first place.
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:59 PM   #33
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Done that Trip

Originally Posted by harley View Post
I try with all my might to not fly if I can get there by land or sea. But we're thinking of a trip to Oz next year. Even though it's theoretically possible to get there by boat, I suspect we'll fly. And I fully intend to fly first class for that one. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I don't want to start the trip out with a couple dozen hours of misery. I've never flown first class before, and I hope it's worth it.
It's a long one. Did it in coach on Quantas -- much more comfortable than a US carrier. You may want to look at the Quantas airpass -- very good deal if you are staying for a few weeks. Yes it's in coach and you fly overnight (i.e. midnight flight from the west coast), but the plane is not full flying to Oz. Was full coming back.

You'll have a blast in Oz -- marvelous country!

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Old 08-10-2008, 01:04 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by HFWR View Post

Let's see:

"Mr. HFWR, here's a nice warm washcloth. Would you like to see the wine list? Can I get you a pillow?"


"Peanuts? Bwahahahahaha..."

Wow! A drink and a pillow for just $10,000? How do they do it? j/k
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Old 08-10-2008, 01:34 PM   #35
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I/we have been bumped up a few times.

My first time, coast-coast on a now defunct carrier, I was originally given a middle seat in coach. I told the boarding agent I was somewhat claustrophobic & could she do better for me? Bingo.

Another time DW & I strolled up arm-in-arm to the check-in counter and waited while another pax loudly berated the agent at length for some perceived outrage that was clearly not the agent's fault. When the jerk finally stomped off we presented oursleves with smiles & something like "So, how's your day going?" The agent said nothing as he fiddled on the computer, then handed over our boarding passes saying only "you'll be boarding first; have a very pleasant flight." Bingo.

Coming back from London the BA agent says "Mr Bobot, I'm afraid coach is overbooked. Would you and Mrs Bobot mind terribly if we sat you in business class?" Bingo.

Alas, those times are probably gone for good.
I still don't get it...
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:10 PM   #36
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I've been bumped to FC twice crossing the Atlantic, both times associated with funerals. FC made the journey significantly less stressful for sure. Would I pay for it? No.

Used to get bumped up to business class quite a bit but with the airlines using more regional jets and having a higher load factor, that hasn't happened for years.

I have booked business class several times using my frequent flyer points though. For a long journey it's worth it, especially as I use a credit card that keeps those points rolling in.

No way would I be allowed to fly first or even business class for a work related journey. However, I have discovered that my organization's deal with their travel agent includes paying for seat selection. Since you can print your own boarding pass and select your own seta up to 24 hours prior to flying, this is an outrageous waste of money and I have disallowed those charges. It has now happened twice and I think it's time I made Finance aware that they are being overcharged.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:47 PM   #37
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I've was bumped to FC a few times several years ago, mainly on ATA. Cramped seats don't bother me enough to pay the extra $ for FC. I have only flown on Southwest since 2003, and they don't have FC anyway.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:48 PM   #38
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My way of flying first class is trying to get a seat in the emergency row.
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:03 PM   #39
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I keep watch on the seating charts, and switch my seats to try to get an empty seat next to me. On a 3/2 row configuration, you have to make a guess as to whether the middle seats will fill or not. I'll check before leaving at the airport, and sometimes at the airport, and switch at the last minute if it'll get me next to an empty seat.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:11 AM   #40
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I have accumulated over 2.5 million actual flight miles (so far) - our company policy is coach on flights under 8 hours, business over 8 hours. Between frequent flyer upgrades and international flights, I probably only fly coach about a third of the time. Face it- flying post 9-11 sucks, and when you fly every week on business, you really appreciate the upgrades. If I was only flying a couple of times a year for pleasure, my outlook would probably be different.

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