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Ever flown First Class? I was upgraded a few weeks ago on NWA

Ever flown First Class? I was upgraded a few weeks ago on NWA

Mar 10th, 2009, 07:28 PM
  #1  
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Ever flown First Class? I was upgraded a few weeks ago on NWA

...something that I would never pay the extra dough for, but lemme tell ya- it's gonna be hard to go back to coach now that I know how the other half lives.

I was served an actual hot meal- with metal cutlery. I could have all the glasses of wine I wanted - served in an actual wine g l a s s.

I finished off my delightful little meal with some chocolate cheesecake/mousselike confection that was to die for, along with some coffee brewed specially at my request.

I had elbow and leg room galore....

access to that special, secret, infrequently-used bathroom...

catered to hand and foot by a doting flight attendant...

whom I'd heard announce to the people in the back that they could purchase a cold boxed supper or some Pringle potato chips.

I felt like such a snob. I well know those passengers could smell our hot gourmet dinners while they pecked at their Pringles.

I wanted to run to the back, open the curtain and yell, "I didn't choose this! I didn't pay for this! They m a d e me do it- I promise! Here, you gotta taste this chocolate mousse..."
boots08 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2009, 08:21 PM
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That's why for those who fly enough (25,000 miles a year), it's extremely important to play the EQM game to maintain elite status. Many (if not most) people who fly domestic FC didn't pay FC fares; they are upgraded one way or another to that big seat. It pays off for those who does their homework to be elite.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 10th, 2009, 09:14 PM
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Ah, boots08, I remember feeling the same way after my first pampered flight in First Class.

I've since flown in First Class domestically many times and a few times internationally (as an upgrade from Business - my first taste of Dom Perignon!) On the domestic flights I generally take, First is nothing to get excited about, as the flights are pretty short.

However, I will move mountains to fly in Business Class internationally, and yes, as much as it hurts me to do so, I've actually paid for many of my BC flights!

To maintain my Elite status I need 50,000 miles a year.

Flying in First and Business doesn't make me feel snobbish. It makes me feel comfortable and happy.
Melnq8 is online now  
Mar 11th, 2009, 01:37 AM
  #4  
 
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I've flown domestic first class, international first class, international business class, and a international premium economy.

The problem I have is that, while I loath sitting in coach, the pricing for anything better is just out of whack. I can't justify spending 3 to 10 times the coach price to sit up front. I'll use miles, but I can't part with that much extra cash.

Domestic first class, in particular, is a bad deal, IMHO. It is definitely much more pleasant, and I don't turn down upgrades (I'm Platinum Elite with Delta and benefit from the upgrades rkkwan mentions), but I can't see it being worth the premium they charge.
travelgourmet is online now  
Mar 11th, 2009, 04:00 AM
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I remember the time I had purchased an economy seat on BA from MIA to Moscow, VIA Heathrow and I was given a seat upstairs in business class. I wanted to tell everyone upstairs about it, but realized they probably didn't want to hear about it.

However, it worked for BA, because I joined their FF club, got a BA Chase Credit Card and flew again in Business Class, using a miles upgrade.

But when it comes to the U.S. airlines, you never get upgraded unless you have miles or elite status.
wally34949 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 04:56 AM
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We were upgraded by the airline one time on a little old trip between Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio and a guy I had gone to high school with boarded after we did. We made eye contact as I was in my plush seat with drink in hand and I managed to give him the same snobby smile he used to give me oh so many years ago. I LOVED IT!!!
ccolor is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 05:35 AM
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But when it comes to the U.S. airlines, you never get upgraded unless you have miles or elite status.

that's not what the OP and the last poster said....


I have flown first class with AA, BA, QF, CX and LN. If you think that domestic F is special, you would feel like you died and went to heaven if you have flown international first on the following airlines.

Suites, finest wines, 1 FA per 4 passengers, pajamas, fully flat, horizontal beds, full size pillows, duvets, etc. etc.

I rate my best experiences as follows:

1) QF - Just a wonderful, warm, friendly service. One of the best steak dinners at 35K feet I ever had. Sitting right at the nose of the 747 provided total privacy.

2) CX - Again, just about perfect experience, I just don't like the efficient but cold, submissive like service by the FAs. Some may like it, I really don't. Prefer their B747s to the A340s. There is something about seat 1A in the front of the nose on the 747 thats just make it very special.

3) AA - A wonderful suite but it's not a 747, it's on a 777, so not the same AFAIC. Anyway, a wonderful selection of wines, wonderful food, friendly service.

4) LN - They downsized their first class, or maybe it's totally gone now but when you flew in F with LN you shared the cabin with only 4 other passengers, possibly less. There were 2 FAs just for that cabin. The food was wonderful, the S.American wine selection was very nice. Overall a wonderful experience but not top notch.

5) BA - IMHO, the worst of the 5 but that does not mean that I would not do it again. BA's F is very nice, the food is ok, the wines are pretty good. The suite is just above average. OTOH, their business class product is the best out of the five mentioned here.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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I think it's not so much that domestic first class is all that much better, it's that domestic coach is so much worse than it used to be.

I can't fault the airlines, really. American tried "more room throughout coach" for years, but people still bought tickets on Southwest or other "discount" airlines (which in many cases they aren't) so American had to drop its prices to compete, with the result that fewer seats (because of more legroom) x the same prices as others = less revenue per seat mile, the kiss of death. So MRTC went away, then free food, then free baggage... and the result is that riding coach is an ordeal to be avoided if at all possible.

Hence first class - which hasn't improved very much on domestic itineraries - only had to stay the same, or even diminished a little (no meal service, just snacks on many routes) to get full seats as people paid more, used miles to upgrade (which takes that liability off the airlines' balance sheets) or otherwise worked the system.

On international routes, where it's often much more competitive for the premium traveler, the effort put into enhancing business- and first-class experiences has been phenomenal - excessive, really, when one looks at double beds on Singapore airlines, or free limo rides to the airport, etc. I suspect the pendulum will presently turn, and more "premium coach" or "economy plus" products will appear in domestic markets. Priced higher, but not so much that there won't be "paid upgraders" who can't stand 28" seat pitch or paying €1 for the loo.
Gardyloo is online now  
Mar 11th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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AAFrequentFlyer,

I would agree about AA 777 international. Just to go to the storage bin behind the seat in front of you is like taking a hike.

On this particular flight, I had just bought a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame at duty free for US$ 99. That's what they were serving on the plane.

I still have my caviar opener that I received on a flight from SFO-CDG on Air France. You never know when you're going to need one.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Mar 13th, 2009, 09:12 AM
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I recall checking in for a Continental flight from LHR to Vegas via Houston (I think) and the check-in girl saying: 'We can upgrade you to Business-First. Is that alright?' Dumbest question I've ever heard in my life. 'No, it's fine. I'd rather sit in the back with my knees up round my ears.' I think not! Of course, the big problem is that the next time you fly, and have to turn right, it makes you want to sob!
GrahamC is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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I managed to swing an upgrade to Biz on a flight a while back, and now I won't go coach. We did pay full fare for some of our group to fly biz IAD - JNB, and the rest of us upgraded with miles, but, it is the only way to fly. Especially on that 18 hour flight. I travel for vacations, not business, and I think the vacation starts as soon as I walk out the door. I can't afford to pay full fare Biz all the time but the upgrades, or the price of buying enough miles to get a biz ticket, are all part of our vacation budget.
Momliz is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 01:07 AM
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And for those not "in the know". The first and business class toilets on a 747 and other planes are the SAME size as what the economy folks use!!! The only difference is that you get one or two nice "smelly bottles of stuff" on the counter. Why do they consider biz and first class passengers won't steal them, but would ASSUME that economy folks would.
MissGreen is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 03:10 AM
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This is definitely a combination of low standards and delusion. Actually, depending on the plane, first-class toilets are sometimes smaller than those in the back. As for the food and drink, it'll get you through the flight, but there's no way to describe it as gourmet.
EricH is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 06:53 AM
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And for those not "in the know". The first and business class toilets on a 747 and other planes are the SAME size as what the economy folks use!!! The only difference is that you get one or two nice "smelly bottles of stuff" on the counter. Why do they consider biz and first class passengers won't steal them, but would ASSUME that economy folks would.

Toilets are sized according to the specs given by the airlines and the options available from the manufacturer. On AA's 777s, for example, one of the business class toilets is set up to accommodate pax with mobility issues - it's about twice the size of the other loos. On Emirates' A380s one of the FC loos has a shower.

You can't make sweeping generalizations about this.
Gardyloo is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 02:39 AM
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I don't give a hoot about any difference in size, what matters to me is that fewer people have access to the toilets in First and Business class, so there's usually not much of a wait.

And for what it's worth, those bottles of 'smelly stuff' are often found in every toilet in every class on Singapore Air. And there's usually a few orchids too.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:35 AM
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My favorite is Virgin Atlantic Upper class including their amazing lounge in Heathrow. On our repatriate flight from London we were treated with special access and private security check-in (a -la James Bond!); plus massage, haircut... food..

and a highlight... of running into Meg Ryan.

Since VA in the summer run Upper class special, we were able to purchase those tickets for the price of economy. Sweet!
Matroskin is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:40 AM
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As for the food and drink, it'll get you through the flight, but there's no way to describe it as gourmet.

Apparently you have not had Qantas steak or Cathay Pacific's cook to order breakfast....(yes, they will make eggs anyway you want it at 30+ thousand feet...)

or the wonderful wine list on any one of the above and American.....
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 08:08 AM
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Apparently you have not had Qantas steak or Cathay Pacific's cook to order breakfast....(yes, they will make eggs anyway you want it at 30+ thousand feet...)

No offense AAFF, but I think there is something to the point that it isn't gourmet, even if it is better than "gets you through the flight". There are a lot of compromises taken to do this sort of stuff at altitude. And there are a lot of constraints because they have to make food that will suit a wide range of tastes, often making it a bit bland and boring.

This isn't cutting edge food. I mean I have had steak in flight, including a couple that were pretty good. I actually had a genuinely excellent crab cake on Delta the other day. But steak and crab cakes aren't gourmet dining - and I LOVE steak and crab cakes. The same goes for eggs, I mean are they making me fresh hollandaise?

Now, when it comes to the drink, there are some carriers that do have top-notch stuff. I mean, Krug is pretty darn good champagne and several carriers offer it in F. I've had vintage champagne on BA, too. Even on a lesser airline/class like KL J, I've had some very well-chosen wines. Even some carriers that lag in this area usually have one or two good booze options, like the Woodford Reserve on Delta (now if they would only work on the wine list).

The only carrier I have flown in J where I thought the drink list was a joke was CO. I mean an absolute joke. The wines were very poorly chosen, most of it the sort of stuff you get for under $10/bottle, and the spirits selection was lazy. But CO has reportedly made a lot of progress on this front and their new wine list seems much, much better chosen, even if none of the wines are exactly collectible.
travelgourmet is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Well, we could agree to disagree on this issue. I'm a Chicago boy, raised on steaks and potatoes, I do know my steaks.

Couple of years ago I flew Qantas in 1A from LAX to SYD. The steak and the side dishes rivaled some of the best steakhouses in Chicago.

Cathay Pacific F offers eggs anyway you want them. They will take the order and COOK the eggs, not reheat prepared eggs. I did CX F 3 times and each time it was marvelous breakfast....

So you see, we have had different experiences.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 08:44 AM
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So you see, we have had different experiences.

I don't dispute the claims about CX or QF. I believe they are absolutely true. Just saying that steak and eggs ain't gourmet.
travelgourmet is online now  

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