1st Class /Coach

Goint from New York to Venice...Rome back to JFK ....I have never flown First Class or Business but I was thinking of trying it since it's my 5 year anniversary. Has anybody flown 1st or Business class and did you think it was worth it compared to coach ? I know coach sucks since we just did hawaii on coach was just looking for opinions of those who travelled on both.

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3290 posts

Ummm. Hard to respond. The difference in prices between business class and coach would would pay for two week's hotel bills for most people on this board. Do you have that kind of money to burn?

Posted by patrick
Derby, CT
103 posts

No I don't have that money to burn .....I was just maybe thinking of a special traet ( which my wife won't want ) as an anniversary gift .

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3290 posts

Unless you have frequent flyer miles, you're talking about the difference of at least $5000 per person for tickets.

It would be a great treat, but only if you have the miles or are wealthy

Posted by JOHN
Hendersonvlle, NC
486 posts

Unless you have frequent flyer miles, you're talking about the difference of at least $5000 per person for tickets. It would be a great treat, but only if you have the miles or are wealthy

Doug,
$5000 per person? Are you kidding? When we were buying tickets, I saw business class for $2800 and coach for $900 as cheapest fares. So the difference was $2000/person.

Patrick,
I have taken business and first class (sometimes on business and sometimes on frequent flyer miles and even once as a compensation for being willing to take a later flight) as well as taking coach. If you can find a difference of $1000pp and have never done it, I'd say "Go ahead and splurge". Beyond that, it is a tough call. What is 18 hours RT of pleasure vs cattle car worth to you? you might also look at consolidators as they might have a good deal especially in off-season.

Posted by JOHN
Hendersonvlle, NC
486 posts

continuation:

Patrick,
If you have enough FF miles for upgrades, call late at night when reservations is not very busy and they have the time to spend with you and see if you can find the least expensive upgradable fare combined with your FF miles to get business class. That is how I got my wife and I business class on one business trip with me. My company paid an upgradable fare.

By the way, international business class is a great way to use miles which are typically valued at $0.02. For example, 25000 for a domestic ticket is worth $500 which you can often beat but 80000 for Europe business class is worth $1600 which would be a deal if you could get a business class seat at that price.

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3290 posts

John - If you can find business class at $2800, good on you.

Maybe there's a slight difference b/tw East Coast and West Coast.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6839 posts

No I don't think Doug is "kidding", Business/First class fares can be anywhere from $2000-$20,000 depending on the airline and how fancy the cabin is.

Posted by Helen
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
705 posts

I'm lucky enough to always travel business class from Aust to Europe and for me it is worth it, but we do fly at least 24 hours including the layover over in an Asian port. It's a nice treat to get a little more seat room, better food etc. On a couple of ocassions I have been upgraded to first and that was nice especially as it was the Hong Kong - Rome leg. However having said that I'm not sure that it's that much better than business and the extra cost perhaps not worth it. OK I did get seriously good champagne, a pair of jarmies and a flat bed but how much are they really worth. I suppose it also depends on the airline. I think its lovely you are thinking of doing something 'special' for your anniversary. Make a nice start and end to the trip.

Posted by patrick
Derby, CT
103 posts

saw business class jfk to venice....rome to jfk on delta for 3258 business ...coach 1450 .......Just asking a question thats all

Posted by Tom
Newport Beach, CA, USA
756 posts

2800-3000 per person is indeed duable - look at Lufthansa and Swiss... they have discounted BIZ class specials... sure the FULL fair is 5000-8000 but there are a lot of seats at 2800 - about double coach (except in off season maybe).

Posted by patrick
Derby, CT
103 posts

Ummm. Hard to respond. The difference in prices between business class and coach would would pay for two week's hotel bills for most people on this board. Do you have that kind of money to burn? -----

Alot of people on these boards have money to burn for a 2800 pp Rick Stevens tour ..which to me is outrageous BUT to some is money well spent ...

Posted by Karen
Atlanta
800 posts

Yes, we think it is worth paying for Delta Business Elite when we can get the discounted fares (about $3K) or when we purchase full fare coach ($1-2K) and use miles to upgrade.

The vacation starts the minute you get to the airport. After a quick check in at the Business counter and a slightly quicker than normal (in Atlanta anyway) Security check, you get to the terminal. Head to the premium lounge for appetizers, free drinks (of all kinds), newspapers, & large comfy chairs. Boarding first you are greeted with champagne and given the menu to make your selection for your 3 course meal (including ice cream sundaes). Open the toiletries kit, put on your eye mask, fluff your large pillow, pull the large blanket around you and stretch out on the almost flat seat. Can't sleep? Use the in seat video on demand to choose from many movies, HBO series, etc.

I think it is a wonderful way to travel. Of course we only use this for Europe travel and we only go once a year!

Posted by Jed
Seattle, WA, US
345 posts

My wife and I are taking our first trip to Europe next summer and used up our miles to fly Club on BA. So looking forward to it!! Plugging in our itinerary on BA's website, Vancouver to Amsterdam and then Berlin back to Vancouver tix cost $8200 each. Figure we're getting close to $.06 per mile so we're VERY happy!

My only caution if using air miles would be to book early. I booked in late August leaving July 08 and all NW flights out of Seattle were completely booked for miles redemption in July and early August(apparently, they don't reserve many seats for miles). Got on BA out of Vancouver which is closer for us anyways with decent flight availability. Good luck with whatever you decide Patrick!

Posted by Susan
Tulsa, OK, USA
126 posts

This has become a heated question because obviously the money people choose/have to spend on a trip varies greatly amongst those posting. We were moved to business class once on Air France because my husband and I did not have seats together. It was indeed wonderful and by far the best flight we have had to Europe. However, if I had to pay 1000+ more for it, no I would put up with 9-10 hours inconvenience. We were able to spend 2 weeks in Europe for $3000, not including air tickets, as we use FF miles, so spending $3000 for an upgrade for 2 people makes no sense to me. Its all relative.

Posted by Al
Nottingham, UK
658 posts

What I'm going to write may well see me lynched by my employers.

I work for an airline and as such I travel everywhere in either business or first. That's because either the company's paying or I'm using one of my annual freebies. Would I pay the extra if it was coming out of my wallet ? Not on your life ! I have in the past received outstanding service when in economy, I have also received mediocre service in First Class ( too often if you ask me ).

Lie flat beds are great but I can get a good in-flight sleep in economy by drinking two very large scotches ( I'm 6' 2" BTW ).

If you want to give your wife a treat it is possible on most major airlines for economy passengers to order champagne ( this has to be done in advance ). It's a good move as most check-in agents will see the request and seat you somewhere where the cabin crew can serve it with ease - in real terms that is two seats with plenty of room in economy, usually exit seats.

Posted by Kevin
West Sacramento, California, USA
238 posts

Why not try Premium Economy on say Virgin Atlantic. It will give you the wider seats, and about 7 inches extra leg room, for about 50% or 60% more on a round trip. It will only get you to London, but then you can take one of the discount flights down to Italy. It may not be worth the extra time involved, but it is a way to add something without breaking the bank.

Posted by Bob
Gettysburg, PA
1364 posts

This is too easy:

You wrote " which my wife won't want "

Use the 1st class money not spent to take the next two trips.

Have a great trip!

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3290 posts

I hope I didn't start "class warfare" here.

There are many reasons to enjoy business class and first class. I consider it a reward for the many flights I have to take for work.

The origional poster asked "what is worth compared to coach?" And I equated the value in hotel nights. For me, that's logical because I can get my family to Europe on miles and then we spend our vacation budget on rooms and gelato.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

I have done both, and yes Business or First class is nicer, but the economy people arrive at destination the same time you do and paid thousands less.
I paid for my first class ticket as a treat to me, and I enjoyed it, but,was it really worth thousands more, um,not really. I could upgraded my hotel and stayed in a really nice place for a week with the price difference.
This upcoming July I am going back and I am going to fly " premium economy" on Zoom, which just means 36 inches of leg room and free drinks instead of paying for booze and only 31 inches legroom. I do not care about the drinks,I never drink booze in a flight , but leg room is really important to me.
Our flights will only be about 400 dollars more, and that IS worth it to me. I paid about 3,500 dollars MORE for my last flight to Paris.

PS There is business and first class seat sales going on right now for some Christmas dates as the business travellers who normally take most of those seats are taking holidays

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Ps , as pointed out , if your wife doesn't want you to spend the money on that then I would take her at her word, that is a lot of money , and if she resents you " wasting it" ( in her mind) then that does put a shadow on the trip. Spend on a nice dinner instead and still come out way ahead.

Posted by patrick
Derby, CT
103 posts

Your right .......were going coach ...just waiting for the fair to drop. JFK to Venice ...Rome to JFK isn't below 1300 right now for 6/4/08 return 6/13/08

Posted by David
Portland, OR, USA
805 posts

I always think of it this way. Cost of a Business class ticket versus my coach class ticket this year would have been $2-3000. Instead of spending that $, I stayed in nicer hotels, ate better and had more freedom to see what I wanted to see. Save your budget for when you get there and not for the plane.

Posted by Dan
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
9 posts

Ok, I know you are talking about Europe, but using the Amex Platinum card's 2 for 1 deal on business class fares you can often come within a couple hundred dollars or even meet the best published economy fare over the Pacific.

Crossing the Atlantic it is tolerable in coach, especially if you are in a plane that has only two seats together. But when you are spending more than 14 hours, business class is the way to go. Jet lag seems easier, you arrive feeling fresher and the whole experience is a pleasure. It really is.

The Amex Platinum card is about $500 a year but it also gets you into the Continental, Northwest, Delta and American lounges when you are flying those airlines. And that can help crossing the Atlantic.

Posted by Sherry
Hernando, Mississipp, USA
458 posts

In 2005, my husband and I flew on BA in World Traveller Plus seats. The extra room was worth $200 more over coach. On the return, we were upgraded to Club World. It was fantastic. It made me wonder what first class on BA was like. But, we had to stop in Chicago coming and going which I will NEVER do again, so it doesn't look like we will fly BA again any time soon. That trip ruined us though. When I say it ruined us, we now fly business. It makes the flights over and back so much easier. I like Continental because they have the Pay Later option. For our last trip to Italy, we bought business tickets for a little under $2500 a person. We had six months to pay it off interest free. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it worth it to us? Yes. It is just part of our budget for travel now. For domestic, we fly Northwest and check-in on line to get exit row seats. I have to admit I am flying coach to Paris on my next trip, but it is b/c my friend who is going with me won't splurge on 1st class.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1359 posts

Patrick, if the reason for desiring a more expensive seat in an airplane (in Business Class, or First Class) is to have a more comfortable seat for the purpose of enhancing a persons's ability to sleep in the airplane during an overnight flight from the U.S.A. to a country in Europe : an other option is to fly in the day time. A day flight (departing from New York in the morning, and arriving at an airport in Europe in the evening of that day) may cost the same as a night flight. For people who sleep at night, a daytime flight from New York, seated in the coach section, could be very much more satisfactory than flying to Europe at night (arriving at an airport in Europe in the morning or afternoon of the day after the day of departing from U.S.A.), seated in Business Class or First Class. British Airways has a daytime flight from New York JFK to London. It departs from JFK in the morning, and arrives at the London airport in the evening. I heard of a daytime flight : U.S.A. to Paris.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1359 posts

...(Continued from my previous posting here). Travelers could fly, in the day time, from New York JFK to London (British Airways), arriving at London in the evening of that day. Sleep at a hotel in London or near the airport one night, or two nights, and then fly from London to an airport in Italy (an other airline). The return trip to New York JFK could be from Rome (British Airways). Doing all of that, being in the Coach section in airplanes, including a good hotel room at London for one or two nights, would cost much less money than a night flight in Business Class from New York to Venice, and return from Rome. For very many people, an overnight flight from the U.S.A. to Europe is awful : the passengers are in the airplane all night, they do not get enough sleep, and when they arrive at the destination in Europe they feel extremely tired, and they will feel very miserable all day, and possibly every day for the next six tdays, or longer. Patrick, why do you not like coach section ?

Posted by Sherry
Hernando, Mississipp, USA
458 posts

For me, the long return flight during the day is much harder to endure than the night flight going over.

Posted by patrick
Derby, CT
103 posts

I hate coach because of the super small seats ..i'm 6 ft 235 and I have a bad back and get a bad attitude quick when my back hurts and i'm smothered in a seat ..........that's my reasoning ..and every plane that i've seen so far has a layout of 3-4-3 ...

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Patrick I agree seats in coach are stupid small. The average man can barely fit in the seats, and I am a women only 5'5' and I am crammed in, it is torchure for my 6'4" husband.
City buses are more comfortable

Posted by Steve
Bellevue, WA, USA
357 posts

Our Air France flight from Seattle - Paris (and back) was a 2-4-2 in coach. When we flew from Seattle to Heathrow last year, we were in the far back, just behind where the side row of 3 narrowed to only 2 seats. If you were in the second row of the 2-seaters, and on the window side, you could probably stretch those legs a bit more. However they would be stretched at an angle, which may not do your back any favors.
Some day I hope to fly in one of the upper classes on an international flight. As of now my longest first class was from Seattle to Honolulu. That was wonderful (and empty)!

Posted by Steve
Dallas, Texas, USA
19 posts

I personally think it is worth it but have never paid for the upgrade to business because I rack up a lot of FF miles. I buy the coach ticket and upgrade. The earlier comment about calling late at night and being a little flexible with your dates is key, because there are fewer and fewer seats available for upgrades these days

Posted by Nancy
Sunnyvale, CA, USA
4 posts

We've traveled Virgin and Premium Economy mid-week isn't much more than economy (not so on the week-ends). Take a discount carrier to Venice from London -- it's a short flight.

We spent last summer in Europe and the dollar's value is a major drawback. You'll need more money to do what you want to do, so why not save where you can?

Yes, business or first is probably more comfortable. But we fly from the West Coast and manage just fine. I'm quite tall with long legs and somehow I arrive in one piece even in economy. I sleep on the way over and I do get up and stretch my legs frequently. Having a company cover the flight is one thing -- I'd fly business -- but on my own dime I'd rather splurge where it counts -- having fun during my vacation, not on the flight.

Posted by Flight Attendant
Niagara Wine Country, Canada
808 posts

I only fly Business Class. I would recommend it if it is going to be a long haul flight of 3 or more hours. Economy Class isn't that bad in small doses. But when it comes down to it, if I'm paying full fare, I'd suffer a little to save a few dimes for someting to make up for it upon arrival...like a massage!

Posted by John (Jack)
Phoeinix, AZ, USA
2 posts

I flew first class once..... but this was before 9/11 but it was the best... wide seats, great food, and comfort. But if I were going to do it again I would choose a European airline... British Air, Lufthansa, or Swiss Air

Posted by Jim
Marietta, Georgia
157 posts

Having flown coach 5 times & business class once, yes business is Very Nice. However only if you are using FF miles or if you can get a very special deal.

In my opinion, no way is it worth more than $100-$200 more if you are paying the bill. Heck on the way over you are asleep most of the time.

By the way 5 of the trips, includin one in business, were on Air France with no complaints. One Delta coach trip was not so hot.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Flightattendent,, do you know the price difference between coach and business or first?? Let me assure you it is way more then " a couple of dimes" , yikes , can you say " thousands of dollars" LOL

Posted by Vanessa
Halifax, N.S.
40 posts

I just flew Executive First on Air Canada from Montreal to Paris, on thier new lie-flat suites. The expirience was very nice, but it was not worth the , extra expenses, in my opinion, although the fresh baked crossiants in the morning were the best!