Flying first class

Oct 8th, 2000, 09:31 AM
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Flying first class


I don't want to start another argument but I have a few questions about flying first class. I only fly once every few years for vacation, and would love to splurge on flying first class. What is the best way to get the best rate? Should you book far in advance? How much more should I expect to pay for a first class ticket? Twice, three times as much as coach, etc.? Do I book a coach ticket and then upgrade days/weeks before I leave or at the gate itself? Can travel agents get good first class rates?

I fully intend to pay for my first class privelege but don't want to pay anymore than I have to. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Oct 11th, 2000, 02:06 PM
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The cost of first class compared to coach sometimes varies widely depending on where you are going. I suggest, as a test, pick the location you think you might want to go to - use travelocity - and pick a date 2 weeks out - try coach vs 1st class, 1 week out - and then 3 months out. I'm a frequent flyer, so I tend to get upgrade coupons - but I also have the ability to buy them. For about $120.00, I can buy 4 upgrade coupons. Each coupon is good for an 800 mile trip. Example - if you're flying to Las Vegas from NY - that would be 2 coupons. It doesn't matter what kind of fare you bought the original ticket with when you use the coupon. The issue is, when you can ask for the upgrade. I think, if you're not a FF, you have to ask at checkin if upgrades are available - and are kind of on standby if First class seats are available. Many times, if I wait until the last minute, all the seats are sold out. It helps to fly during a timeframe that business travelers don't travel (between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm are probably the best). So, the issue for you to research is: Does the airline you want to fly allow everyone to buy upgrade coupons (determine that cost) - and if so, how does that factor into your other research on costs. Long winded - but hopefully it helps you.
Feb 1st, 2001, 11:16 AM
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How do you get upgrade coupons? I am using my FF on American to go to Paris and then Prague.

Feb 2nd, 2001, 03:48 AM
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Hi Allison,
You didn't mention your proposed itinerary. Depending, you might want to investigate Business Class. The differences between B & 1st Class service and seating on many airlines is negligible, but the cost is not.
Feb 2nd, 2001, 04:22 AM
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You need to check with your airline. Upgrade coupons can only be used for domestic flight (at least that is the case for UA). I don't think you will be able to get the free ticket upgraded, unless you turned in enough miles for the business class ticket originally.

For international travel I think it is better to buy the economy ticket and then use ff miles to upgrade. However, on United you have to buy more expensive "upgradable" tickets (1400 versus 1000), but over all much cheaper than the business class fares.
Feb 2nd, 2001, 07:27 AM
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On most major network carriers, F class seat prices are not differntiated.

In other words, the cost does not fluctuate over time. When the seat first goes on sale months before the flight and the day before the flight the F class ticket is the same price.

And, unless you are VERY rich, it just isnt worth it.

Try using one of the methods suggested above instead.

Feb 11th, 2001, 02:40 AM
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i know someone who flew from san fransisco to amsterdam in business class for 1400$. they got it from now and then, airlines have a business class sale, the fares are usually in the thousands though. ive seen such sales on lufthansa's website.
Feb 15th, 2001, 06:31 PM
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Hi..generally business and first class seats are not discountable as in the previous post. Most fares don't allow you to upgrade unless you are a very frequent flyer amnd have attained a higher level. I agree...first class or business is the way to go. I don't beleive that most airlines will just put you there if you ask at the gate. I work for an airline and it is something that we just don't do.I hope you find the means to do it cuz I know you will never want to be in coach again! Good luck!
Feb 15th, 2001, 08:30 PM
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Hi Allison,
I think you may be able to get a discount in the off season. I have recently seen rates advertised on American Express for $2,900 to Europe for business class on some airlines. I guess that's cheap compared to the usual $5k plus or whatever it is these days.
Feb 17th, 2001, 01:21 AM
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Hi Allison -- I think there may be some conslidators who sell business/1st class as well. I seem to remember an article about them - you may want to do a web search. Sorry, I can't remember. I think a good thing to do is to buy a ticket and then use your FF miles to upgrade - not only do you not have to sit in coach, but then you get the miles for your trip!
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