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Old 08-05-2022, 10:02 AM   #41
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Do they actually confirm it? The one time we were able to upgrade with miles (this is ancient history), you paid the fee when you made your request but you didn't know till you got your boarding pass if you got upgraded. The fee was refunded if you didn't.
Yes, we gave up on requesting miles to upgrade to international business long ago because you still had to pay $500 each in addition to lots of miles, and you were then on a waiting list with lots of higher status folks ahead of you, so it seemed that the chances of getting a seat were slim. No first-come first-serve either, higher status folks always get priority so move ahead in line up to the last minute.

Instead a couple of times we paid the upgrade fees outright then had our choice of seats right away. Those two times they offered a good deal from our existing ticket - the upgrade price was maybe $1100 to $1300 for a sure thing instead of a maybe.

After that we started buying business international to Europe up front as we were able to find tickets well under $3000.
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:21 AM   #42
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Pre covid, we did fly trips 1-2 times a year, and had changed to First Class.
What a difference it made for us--DH back did not hurt, my knee did not hurt, we arrived rested and ready to go.

When we start flying again, we will continue. It is expensive, but worth it to us.

We are beginning to plan a family vacation with kids and grands in two years. They will all be with us in the front of the plane :-). If we plan and budget it, I don't worry about the cost. If we couldn't afford it, we wouldn't do it.
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:42 AM   #43
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We spent $7k each for lie flat business class to Africa in 2019. I was making $750k / year at the time so no big deal. No way we make that trip in cattle class. We would be dead.

DW is heading to South Korea in Oct to visit DD and we spent $7k for that first class ticket as well. Again, if she had to fly cattle class, she would need a wheelchair. We didn't retire until we had enough money for first class seats for international flights.
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:51 AM   #44
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I guess DW and I are cattle. Don't think we'll ever be able to afford oligarch-class up front. Moo!
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Old 08-05-2022, 11:42 AM   #45
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Yeah, my issue is not whether I can afford it (I can), but whether it's a reasonable value for the money. ...Paying $1,500 to sit in an almost inhumanely cramped seat in the main cabin for hours upon hours is already somewhat of a poor value, IMHO, but paying $7,000 to sit in a (much?) better seat with better food and drinks strikes me as nearly comically overpriced.
Maybe don't compare $1500 to $7000. If sitting in coach is going to make you dread the trip, just evaluate the $7000. Forget the non-acceptable option. Are you willing to pay $7000 to do this trip? Yes? Ok, book it.
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Old 08-05-2022, 01:57 PM   #46
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DW sheepishly admitted the $3800 was to two, not apiece....
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Old 08-05-2022, 02:34 PM   #47
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Most airlines have removed their First Class service and just upgraded their business class service. You should shop around for deals. We are leaving in three weeks for a trip to Europe and we paid $2962 each for business class with lie flat seats from LAX to GVA with a stop at YUL on Air Canada. Last November we paid $2832 for the same departure and destination airports but on Air France Business Class. If you book last minute those same seats will cost $5K-$7K. The most we have paid for business class was $4200 each return but that was many years ago. Plan your trips ahead of time and book at least 3-4 months in advance for the best deals. Also check for premium fare deals (first/business class) at this site.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/premium-fare-deals-740/
OP, 2% +/- is our comfort zone.

We pay for a couple of services that email/text us when airfare deals pop up. One is for cash tickets and we've booked LAX IST DBV r/t in business for $2000 each and SFO LIS MUC r/t in business with a stopover in Lisbon included for free for $1750 each. The other sends alerts for award flights and we've booked ORD MAD r/t in business for 68k avios and SEA DOH JNB r/t in QSuites for 150k Chase ultimate rewards transferred to BA with a 30% bonus + about $500 in surcharges.

I used to be an impulse buyer when it comes to travel and we always traveled economy. Now I plan up to a year in advance, pounce on deals when they're available and we frequently travel in the front of the plane. It pays to shop around.
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Old 08-05-2022, 05:22 PM   #48
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Do they actually confirm it? The one time we were able to upgrade with miles (this is ancient history), you paid the fee when you made your request but you didn't know till you got your boarding pass if you got upgraded. The fee was refunded if you didn't.
I’ve only done it that way a couple times and it’s been 5 years - I can’t remember to be honest. I think it depends on how many are left. I know system wide upgrades can be confirmed immediately since I did that last year.
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Old 08-05-2022, 11:40 PM   #49
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Do you mind sharing what service ? Thanks.

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OP, 2% +/- is our comfort zone.

We pay for a couple of services that email/text us when airfare deals pop up. One is for cash tickets and we've booked LAX IST DBV r/t in business for $2000 each and SFO LIS MUC r/t in business with a stopover in Lisbon included for free for $1750 each. The other sends alerts for award flights and we've booked ORD MAD r/t in business for 68k avios and SEA DOH JNB r/t in QSuites for 150k Chase ultimate rewards transferred to BA with a 30% bonus + about $500 in surcharges.

I used to be an impulse buyer when it comes to travel and we always traveled economy. Now I plan up to a year in advance, pounce on deals when they're available and we frequently travel in the front of the plane. It pays to shop around.
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Old 08-06-2022, 12:33 AM   #50
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Yeah, my issue is not whether I can afford it (I can), but whether it's a reasonable value for the money. There are many things I could afford—for example, staying in the penthouse suite of some fancy hotel when I travel—that I refrain from purchasing simply because they seem like a waste of money. I have a really hard time justifying the astronomical prices airlines are charging these days for comfortable seating on long, overseas flights. Paying $1,500 to sit in an almost inhumanely cramped seat in the main cabin for hours upon hours is already somewhat of a poor value, IMHO, but paying $7,000 to sit in a (much?) better seat with better food and drinks strikes me as nearly comically overpriced. It does appear to be the going rate, however, and since I feel like I'd probably be miserable in coach for that long, I'm willing to consider it.
While I completely agree with you, being retired should give you a lot more flexibility to choose dates when prices are lower. Only you can decide if it is a reasonable value for the money. I almost always pay for premium economy seating because, while I am not as big and tall as many here say they are, it's worth it to pay ~15% more for more legroom on a flight over about 3 hours.

Things are messed up right now and airlines can charge top dollar. But when and if demand drops because of recession or because people get their pent up travel bug out of their system, things might get better.
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Old 08-06-2022, 12:41 AM   #51
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The AMEX platinum card, which costs ~$600 a year still has an international airline credit where you get a free ticket for a paid ticket. I have never used this because everytime I have checked the paid ticket was way overpriced. But if you value flying business or first class it might offer options. A few years ago I priced out a trip to Africa and Amex wanted $9000 business class for two people from US west coast with the platinum benefit. Best coach I could find was about $3200 each so the extra for business class would have been $2600. Not something worth paying to me but maybe of interest to others.
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Old 08-06-2022, 04:42 AM   #52
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DW manages our travel and manages to upgrade to first most of the time after purchasing economy seats. At first it was infrequent using points then she managed to snag for $50 upgrade fee. Now days it is more expensive but given I'm not happy with the passenger in front of me putting the seat back in my lap for 2-3 hours or more, it is worth the cost.

I did a flight from DC to Korea when I was in the Army and you better believe I ended up with the cheapest seat on the flight. Something like 10 or 12 hours with 3 stops (although I didn't have to change planes). We are taking a trip to Australia and New Zealand in March. Another very long flight but we were able to get business class seats. No reason to start and end the trip tired and irritated.

Enjoy the upgrade. If you can afford it why not. I don't spend just to spend but then you can't take it with you so might as well get some enjoyment.
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:36 AM   #53
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Most airlines have removed their First Class service and just upgraded their business class service. You should shop around for deals. We are leaving in three weeks for a trip to Europe and we paid $2962 each for business class with lie flat seats from LAX to GVA with a stop at YUL on Air Canada. Last November we paid $2832 for the same departure and destination airports but on Air France Business Class. If you book last minute those same seats will cost $5K-$7K. The most we have paid for business class was $4200 each return but that was many years ago. Plan your trips ahead of time and book at least 3-4 months in advance for the best deals. Also check for premium fare deals (first/business class) at this site.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/premium-fare-deals-740/

Yes, people may not notice that few airlines have first class anymore. On the other hand, business class is now as nice as first class used to be.

We will be leaving in early Sep to go to Europe. At the time of booking, the prices were comparable to what you paid:

Coach: $800/seat
Premium economy: $1600/seat (which I bought)
Business class: $3000/seat

We have not overcome our frugality to splurge on business class seats, even though we could easily afford it. And we flew business class when travel for work or when we could get free upgrade, so know how nice it is.

"Conscience is the part of you that hurts, when the rest of you feels so good" -- Anon

The last few years, I made $200K-300K each year just from selling options as a pastime. Quicken shows that cumulative since I started to track expenses, we spend more on gifts/donations than we spend on travel.

Yet, when it comes to airfare for ourselves, I figure that if I can get 80% of the comfort by spending 50%, then premium economy is a better deal.

Well, I will have to see if I can really get 80% of the comfort.

By the way, I looked on seatguru.com to see that the AA and BA planes on my trip all have more business class seats than premium economy seats. For examples, BA 777 has 219 coach seats, 40 business seats, but only 24 premium economy. That's interesting.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:07 AM   #54
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Premium economy is basically domestic business class. Pretty good value most of the time. International business class is basically international first class of old, most do not even offer first class anymore.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:52 AM   #55
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Enjoy the upgrade. If you can afford it why not. I don't spend just to spend but then you can't take it with you so might as well get some enjoyment.
I've starting to bend in your direction. Over the past few years I have helped my children get a leg-up on some rather costly things in life (housing and education mainly). I feel very good about doing that.

But, it's time to spend less on them and more on me. Dad's body gets a bit achier every year, and certain things I formerly enjoyed are no longer on the table. No more boulder hoping through the Apennines. So, I often enjoy the more subtle and casual pleasures by taking more time to do the same amount of stuff. Or I add in a last minute item I did not know about when I left home. All that costs $$'s. Even a cheapskate LBYM guy like me can only squeeze a buck so far.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:22 AM   #56
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International business class is basically international first class of old, most do not even offer first class anymore.
I was once "operational-upgraded" to First between London and Chicago- flying in paid Business Class. This would have been AA/BA over 10 years ago. Apparently they had empty seats in First so they kicked me up to First and then gave someone else my Business Class seat. Fine with me.

Space was slightly larger. There was a small cabinet down by my feet so I could store items and not have to get them out of the overhead when I needed them. Food slightly better but stretched out over multiple courses that took too long. (You could request that it all be served at once but I wanted to test the whole experience.)

Nice but I would not have paid to upgrade from Business to First. I think most airlines got rid of First Class because business travelers were their bread and butter and most bean counters wouldn't allow "First Class". "Business Class" just sounded more sensible.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:53 AM   #57
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I just looked at our tickets for our October trip to Egypt and Jordan. They are actually Lufthansa business class (Z), not first class. $4434 each, roundtrip from Hartford (two transfers) to Cairo and return from Amman. It is roughly a quarter of the total cost of our trip.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:33 AM   #58
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I was once "operational-upgraded" to First between London and Chicago- flying in paid Business Class. This would have been AA/BA over 10 years ago. Apparently they had empty seats in First so they kicked me up to First and then gave someone else my Business Class seat. Fine with me.

Space was slightly larger. There was a small cabinet down by my feet so I could store items and not have to get them out of the overhead when I needed them. Food slightly better but stretched out over multiple courses that took too long. (You could request that it all be served at once but I wanted to test the whole experience.)

Nice but I would not have paid to upgrade from Business to First. I think most airlines got rid of First Class because business travelers were their bread and butter and most bean counters wouldn't allow "First Class". "Business Class" just sounded more sensible.

We flew business class quite a few times, all due to our megacorps. Only one time, going from Sydney to Auckland, NZ, we got free upgrade from biz class to first class on Qantas. Seats were a bit wider, but we are not big people, and reclined a bit more. They were spaced quite a bit apart, but there were no dividers for privacy. About food and drink, I don't recall it being too different than biz class on the same Qantas 747. Food on airplane is not my priority, as long as it does not make me sick. All I want is to be able to recline and go to sleep.

Yes, it would have cost 2x. I guess if I were rich, I would pay anyway to get that extra bit more.

And more, when we disembarked, the stewardesses held off the biz class passengers so we could get off first. Yep, that's the privilege of the "elite class".

PS. The first class section on all airplanes is towards the nose, so that when you enter the plane you turn left. All other passengers turn right. This means that first-class passengers are not bothered by the riff-raff trudging by your seats, like biz class passengers have to endure.
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Old 08-06-2022, 12:14 PM   #59
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If I gave you the percentage of SWR you might think we’re crazy. We have a huge vacation fund that we put together prior to retirement. It’s basically separate from all our other expenses. We hope we stay healthy enough to spend it all.

So I agree with the person who said it doesn’t matter what percent it is, is it something you can afford…

We probably fly 2 to 4 times a year. We generally only fly a max of three or four hours in coach. On rare occasion, we have flown in coach longer, but I think we’ve gotten spoiled now.

Once we were really lucky when flying from Newark to Heathrow on a daytime flight, the airline offered us a really reasonable upgrade price from premium economy. (DH is tall). We snapped up that offer so fast and it was so nice, with the added benefit of getting a fast pass going through customs and immigration Heathrow. The lines were about two hours long and we blew right through. It was worth every penny just for that….

Everything else for us is done in business class. Sometimes we are lucky enough to use miles and not have to pay at all, especially when we take American, who actually lets non-high-milers use their miles to get budiness class seats. just a couple bucks for taxes. However, we have an upcoming bucket list trip to Australia, and the business class seats were insanely expensive. We’ve never paid as much for any tickets as we’re paying for this trip. But it’s worth it because it’s a once in a lifetime trip and when you’re traveling over 20 hours it’s nice to have a life flat bed so you can relax and sleep.

If you can afford it, don’t feel guilty. You only go around once.
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Old 08-06-2022, 12:59 PM   #60
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Yes, people may not notice that few airlines have first class anymore. On the other hand, business class is now as nice as first class used to be.
Many airlines just decided to rename their First Class to "Business" because many companies will pay for Business but not First.

(I was fortunate that my company paid for either and actually preferred that we flew First...it was an image thing for us)
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