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$11,000 for 1st class ticket - is this common?

$11,000 for 1st class ticket - is this common?

Feb 27th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
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$11,000 for 1st class ticket - is this common?

My step-father's "dream" is to fly to Belguim 1st class (have been overseas before in couch). So with his dream in mind, I looked up prices (from many different sources) from Chicago to Brussels - currently couch is around $800, buisness around $6,000, and 1st class over $11,000. I knew first class was expensive, but $11,000? Am I just really naive or this what people ususally pay for first class? Anyway first class could be affordable to the common man (and no we don't have enough airline miles)?
melstravel is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 01:39 PM
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Since the demise of the Concord, even Rock Stars avoid first class retail prices. Virtually all in First and Business class X'ing the pond have upgraded, are using FF miles, or are airline employees.
mikemo is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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The only way I would pay $11,000 for a first class ticket is if it came with a private cabin and supermodels giving me lots of personal "service." And even then I'd feel ripped off.
Edward2005 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 02:13 PM
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Generally something less than 25% of the people in FC have paid full price for the seat, but this data is closely held by the airlines.

In some cases airlines carry high percentages of "revenue" seats in FC - the LA-London American and British Airways nonstops, for example, tend to be full because of contracts the airlines have with the likes of SAG or other Hollywood groups. New York-London is the same.

How to make FC affordable? Accumulate lots of FF miles, buy round-the-world tickets in FC that usually turn out cheaper than just one round trip (but of course you have to fly a lot farther), join one of the "clubs" that advertise discounted premium tickets, look on e-bay (watch out) - things like that.

Some airlines, like Continental, Delta, Virgin, and others, have simply dropped FC altogether, and instead have invested heavily in business-class products that are much closer to FC than they are to coach. Virgin's "Upper Class," for example, has double beds, in-flight massage, yadda yadda. Very competitive at the biz class price points. Your stepdad doesn't have to shell out eleven large for FC if he can make do with a business class product that is pretty close.
Gardyloo is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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Regarding your question about any way of first class being affordable...American Express Platinum Card has a cool program where you get a free international first class companion ticket for the identical itinerary on many airlines to many destinations.

There really isn't a huge difference between most long haul Business and First these days. Nice seats, lots of room, good personal video in both. Yes, first class is more luxurious and private, but far from worth it at (sometimes) almost double the price. Very hard to justify the difference if you are paying yourself.

I would add a little to what mikemo said; First is also populated by entertainment industry folks, whose contracts and union agreements mandate FC travel, as well as lawyers and bankers etc., whose clients or deals end up paying for their fares. Large companies often get discounts of approximately 20-35%, which makes these fares a little more palatable.
fishskis is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 02:23 PM
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Whoa!! I could have a downpayment for a place in France at that price.
cigalechanta is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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And I would stay in Italy waaaaaay beyond the 90 day limit that is allowed.
LoveItaly is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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HI--DH flew business class on Air France last year from the East Coast to Paris (price $6000) and found it to be luxurious beyond belief!! Maybe your stepfather would be just as happy on business class if coach is the standard of comparison....Still 6000 but way less than 11.
socialworker is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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>>The only way I would pay $11,000 for a first class ticket is if it came with a private cabin and supermodels giving me lots of personal "service." And even then I'd feel ripped off.<<

Edward, did you read our thread about the show that Lara Flynn Boyle put on for the First Class Passengers on BA? Lara doesn't exactly suit my taste, but it would definitely be worth $11,000 for me if Brad or Mel would entertain. Here's the link:

P_M is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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That's the normal price for First Class. However, you can try something like Continental's BusinessFirst, which can be get for about $2,000 during summer and holiday times, and $4,000 during regular business seasons.

Or Virgin's "Upper Class".

Those are the best seats (actually sleepers) on those airlines. So, service, food and amenities are similar to First Class on other airlines, at under half the cost.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 03:14 PM
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I found a fare of $6900 for JFK-Brussels on NWA.

However, has your father considered taking the QM2 to Southampton, flying to Brussels, flying back and then the QM2 back to NYC? Only 3000 GBP for the ship.
ira is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 04:05 PM
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NWA doesn't have an international First Class product. Their World Business Class is like Continental's - better than most business class, but not a real First Class.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 04:56 PM
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..just find a airline which has dropped their first class and has a "business first product". This is almost the majority of the carriers doing European /NA fights. It is still much more expensive than than pre-booked economy (though surprisingly similar to those horrible tickets bought last minute for economy fullfare!). The business-first will be more than adequate.
travelbunny is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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The answer is yes - that's what first class costs. As noted above - few first class seats are occupied by the average person. Until two years ago I always flew first class to europe on business (client standards mandated it for their execs and we got equivalent) and often on vacation (FF miles). Now do mostly business first - unless I'm paying actual money - which is pretty good - but not what the real first class used to be 10/15 years ago.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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I was once shopping in a lovely jewelry store in Oslo in the 1980's, and saw a beautiful pair of gold and lapis cufflinks. Doing the math in my head, I wondered aloud, mostly to myself, who in the world would wear these $900 trinkets. The salesman, a very friendly young man, came up behind me and said with a smile, "That would be the man who wears the $350 shirt!"

Melstravel, I appreciate that this may be your father-in-law's dream. But $11,000 first class tickets are part of the accoutrements of a first-class trip! Presumably, he isn't planning to fly to Brussels and turn right around and come back. Wouldn't it be odd to spend that much on an 8-hour flight, only to check into a three-star hotel? (I'm assuming from your post that he doesn't plan to stay in a 5-star hotel. If I am in error, I apologize in advance.)

If the point is to take a very nice trip, Ira's advice would seem perfect for your father-in-law. To me, it seems pointless to buy the $900 cufflinks if you don't have the $350 shirt to wear them with.
kswl is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 07:27 PM
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P.S. Straight from Clark Howard's Friday travel tips:

Business class specials to Europe
$1,920 Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Madrid, Munich, Stuttgart
A 50-day advance purchase required. Stay 7-30 days. Travel any available day. Depart by April 30. Round-trip rates are $2,020 on May 1-Sept. 30 departures (NWA); May 1-Oct. 31 with other airlines.
Codes: NWA, ZRGO4FUN; AA, IRGOSALE; Continental, ZR79SE; Delta, ILLEISL

Business-Class fares above may give your father-in-law the thrill of first class without the price tag.
kswl is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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My friend and I booked with Delta leaving from the Virginia to Atlanta then to Rome at approx. $2,000.00 each for business class. Normally $6,000.00 - we booked 11/04 for our flight 9/05. It was funny to get reactions from our family and friends. Some said "are you crazy, spending all that money for a flight" some said "I would do the same thing" It's all in what YOU want and what YOU can afford. We could and did.
Benita is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 05:09 AM
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If you'll read the original post, Benita, the implication is that the traveler cannot really afford the price. My suggestions were meant to try to help him find a method of travel that is "affordable to the common man," according to the questio in the op.
kswl is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 05:35 AM
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I only fly American, and the prices you are stating are pretty typical for them.
But I've flown all three classes to Europe on their flights and I'll say this: the difference between coach and business class is ENORMOUS. The difference between business and first classes is minimal. In my opinion it is worth it to be able to splurge (or get an upgrade or miles usage) for business class, but hardly worth paying nearly double again to go from business to first.

Incidentally, American is one of those airlines that has dropped first class on some flights. The flight from Paris to Miami, which I've taken several times, hasn't had a first class for a couple years. Business is the top class there.
Patrick is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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$11,000 is approximately what we paid for our first (rather small) Paris apartment.
Dave_in_Paris is offline  

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