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business class air

Somebody once said, "Getting there is half the fun." This is defiantly not the case if you fly coach on international travel. I Have mixed feelings about the United check in agent in Frankfurt who bumped us up from coach to business class because, when me got home, my wife announced she would no longer travel overseas unless in business class. We have subsequently refined this to no coach class flight more than two hours in length.

Here's what you get in Business Class:
Space: Business class is 6 seats in a row on a 747 vs 10 seats in coach. Pitch the width of a row of seats) is 30-32" in coach, 70-80" in Business.
Unlimited free booze
Pre-takeoff Champaign (free)
Free food.
Lots of free food
Better quality food.
Food on demand (limited)
No extra luggage charges
Lots more storage space by your seat, especially in the upper deck of a 747.
A quieter location
Better service-- more flight attendants per passenger (they even learn your name before takeoff).
Free access to BC lounges at airports. This really adds up with long layovers. The lounge provides better seating, free booze, and free food.
More stuff on the seat TV
Way more comfortable seats
More seat privacy
Seats that turn into beds where you can actually sleep.
Blankets an pillows, real pillows
First off the plane on arrival
Priority luggage handling. In theory, BC luggage is first off the plane. It often works.

Sometimes, airport assistance. On my last BC international flight on Delta, when I arrived at customs, there was a Delta staffer waiting for me. When we got my luggage, she led me to special customs desk with no line & I was thru customs in about 2 minutes. Then she took me to the place where I deposited by luggage for the connecting domestic flight, checked my ticket and told me what gate to go to..

Yes, its expensive, but I'd rather reduce the luxury level of food and accommodations at my destination than if its necessary to save money than fly coach. Example: I've stayed at 4 hotels in Rome, with prices ranging from $46 to $300 a night. The best were the cheapest and the most expensive. Both had large, quiet rooms in a good location. $$$$ had an elevator $ did not. $$$$ had a 24 hour desk and a concierge. $ had a desk during most daylight hours, no concierge. $$$$$ room pone, $ no phone. $$$$ spectacular buffet breakfast, $ Corn Flakes and an apple. $$$$ banquet rooms, ball rooms, meeting rooms, Internet rooms-- $ nothing but bed rooms and a tiny breakfast nook

Saving $ on food: excepting fast food, which is mostly USA brands, the quality of restaurant food in the EU is very high, even it cheap restaurants with the possible exception Italy which has a inordinate number of bad cheap restaurants.

Posted by
532 posts

So funny you posted this today. After 5 European trips the last few years We just booked our first business class flights. In part because I've got some knee issues that make a long economy flight unthinkable and because I waited too late to get workable flights on Deltas Premium Select. My husband has the same fear you do that we can never go back to long economy flights. Probably right.

I'll make budget cuts elsewhere - forgoing treats at home, buying food at cheaper alternatives in Europe ((department stores, groceries, etc).

A lot of what you listed we've gotten on Delta Economy Comfort international flights - food, booze, movies, slightly earlier boarding, but I'm really looking forward to the way more comfortable seats and access to the Delta/Air France lounges. Also to not needing to bring my own items like my noise canceling headphones, foot sling, etc.

Posted by
5322 posts

Moved to premier economy on Virgin Airlines about a decade ago. Worth every penny.

My travel philosophy has and will always be “my money, my time.”

Posted by
1235 posts

I agree that once one has experienced a better class, it's hard to go back. However, I'd say not all business classes are the same and, in terms of seat/privacy it does vary between airlines and between aeroplane models in the same fleet. For many, the key question isn't food & drink, but how good the seat is when in "bed mode".

I think differences are even more stark in "premium economy", "plus", "comfort" or similarly named products, where it can mean anything from just some extra leg-room through to a separate cabin with much better seats & victuals. The price difference from bog standard economy is usually the clue of what is extra being offered. Also, another clue is how the premium class fits into the structure. In Air NZ & Virgin for example, it's the middle of 3 classes, with BA it's third of 4 classes. Air NZ & Virgin perk offerings are better! It's always worth reading the airline's description

Also, a warning - if flying short-haul within Europe, business class is usually not that special, even on 3 or 4 hour flights. It's often the same seat & cabin as economy, but the middle seat left empty and a curtain drawn across once airborne. You might get fast-track and lounge access, food on board and so on, but it's usually only worth it if the price is fairly close to economy (you can, after all, often buy lounge entry & fast-track separately). Unless my employer is paying, I usually don't bother with short-haul BC and sit at the back with the rest of the hoi polloi. I know my place!

Posted by
9450 posts

We have made the same decision although I succumbed to a $92 one-way PDX to FRA in premium economy this fall. Could not resist saving enough one-way to justify the pricey return. 😛 Luckily we are at a time in our lives where we have disposable funds and can make the trade offs with no kids, pets or college to pay for. I would much rather save money on-the-ground and have many places we stay for under €100 per night.

Posted by
4091 posts

We've pretty much decided to never fly economy again, unless it's on a flight of under 3 or 4 hours.

Premium economy is a good choice, although it varies a lot from airline to airline. We noticed a marked improvement in PE on British Airways last year. And we do occasionally fly business class, especially if we are lucky enough to find a sale.

Like Laurel and kb1942, we do economize in other ways, especially on hotels. I know other folks who would do just the opposite - fly coach and stay in nicer hotels. (And I have one relative who will only fly first class, and will not visit anyplace that does not have a Four Seasons hotel.)

The first few years we traveled abroad, (other than for work) we combined the cheapest possible flights with the cheapest possible hotels. We learned that any hotel that is clean and convenient will do, but we appreciate a more comfortable flight.

Once again, different strokes. There is no right or wrong choice here.

Posted by
532 posts

I agree with Nick that you really have to research each airline where it can make a lot of difference. In addition to the airlines website I use seatguru.com and watch YouTube videos to get a better idea. Although lol on the videos - what is it with guys who include endless minutes of sitting on the tarmac, taxiing, taking off, .....?

Other than our flights to/from ATL, the ones we just purchased are actually Air France via Delta. The B.C. transatlantic portion aren't the Delta One suites but I was fine with that. Don't actually like the idea of being in a separate cubicle when flying with my husband so their wide side by side lie flat seats on the A380 suit us well and were way less than if it had been Delta BC the whole way. The likely difference of me being able to actually get much sleep either way isn't large. And yes, what AF calls "Europe business" is just the front rows of economy with no one in the center seat. No biggy as we have short hops. It was part of the package but I wouldn't pay extra for it either. But then we fly Southwest alot.

Posted by
6236 posts

To each his own (luckily, I don't have spousal peer pressure). I don't value any of those things you mentioned in business class enough to pay a premium for it, or to trade off putting that extra money in my 401k instead (or spending it on the ground). My domestic leisure flights alone are, more often than not, more than 2 hours in length. If I booked business class for each one, that would be a lot of money just for renting a temporary seat. Isn't it called "business" class for a reason? Meaning, business travel and business pays...If I'm paying, I only pay extra for things that have some kind of exceptional value to me and I can afford.

Posted by
2464 posts

I've flown business class on a number of occasions because my husband's company flies him in Business on overseas trips and it embarrasses him for me to fly in my preferred class, Premium Economy( Virgin is especially good). I'm not normally claustrophobic, but those lie flat beds seem like a coffin to me. Because Business is cheaper out of Kennedy, that means I can't fly out of my preferred airport, Atlanta. When I have a choice, I would always choose Premium Economy out of Atlanta over Business out of Kennedy. Of course, I'm only 5'5". The best seat I ever had was on US Airways when I was in the middle row that had 5 seats and the other 4 were empty!

Posted by
79 posts

Anyone have any commens on British Airways business class?? Hubby & I are celebrating our 30th anniversary and going to England in September. We decided to buy business class tickets because BA has lay flat seats and a non-stop from Seattle. Plus I've had a blood clot in my leg 3 years ago and don't feel like risking another one. I'm just wondering how BA's service compares. Thanks!!

Posted by
919 posts

Honestly, Business Class is fine. It's more the flight crew that makes or breaks it. I fly with them and I've had crews that take my jacket without mention, call me by my first name and bring me a drink before take off. I've also had flights where flight crew where robots devoid of any personality, I had to ask for drink before take off and they forgot me at meal time due to being by a window.

The new Club World is gorgeous, however not all planes have been kitted out yet. The old Club World is showing its age. However the bed is still great and I always have a good sleep.

Posted by
2041 posts

When I travel with a friend on transatlantic flights, I generally fly in the economy cabin because my friends generally want to fly economy. When I travel solo on transatlantic flights, I generally fly in business class (though usually I have put a fair amount of effort into finding a deeply-discounted business fare). In business class, I'm generally looking for a plane with 4-across seating so every seat has direct aisle access. That way, I don't have to climb over anyone, and no one has to climb over me to go to the bathroom.

Nice touch on Delta... I fly enough to have status with the airline. Periodically, I arrive at my business class seat to find a hand-written note from the purser welcoming me to the flight and thanking me for flying with Delta.

Posted by
4012 posts

I can't fly long haul economy any more, people keep reclining on me.

My most recent flight was to Kuala Lumpur from London. The ultimate destination was Phuket but playing around with dates we found first class flights with BA cost less than business class direct to Phuket. The 1.5 flights to Phuket from Kuala Lumpur were cheap and we had the opportunity to visit a city that was on my list.

First class with BA on their new Dreamliner is superb. The cabin only has 8 seats, all of which are extremely comfortable and spacious and fold down into a completely flat bed which enabled me, all 6'3", to lie out straight an get several hours sleep. The food was excellent and so was the wine. Service was attentive but not intrusive and the use of the Concorde Room beforehand is a perfect start to a flight. To endure the same 14 hours cooped up in an economy seat would be unberable and the return flight would be on my mind throughout the holiday. Sure, I could overpay on my mortgage and clear it earlier, I could replenish my wardrobe more regularly, I could replace my perfectly acceptable TV with an all new top of the range one or spend the equivalent on all sorts of frivolity. I choose not to because the flight is part of the holiday experience. It's the beginning and end of the holiday and I don't want either to be torturous journeys of pain and suffering.

It's more than just a flight, it's an experience. I actually retain the menus from my first and business class flights and when I occasionally look back at them I can remember the dishes I ate.

Posted by
1115 posts

"with the possible exception Italy which has a inordinate number of bad cheap restaurants."

Contrary to our experience on a 30 day independent (i.e., all meals were on our own) trip to Italy. We found that the inexpensive restaurants were very good except at the Pompeii site.

Posted by
74 posts

Lately we have been flying "premium economy" west coast to Europe, then business class back. We figured that we could tolerate some inconvenience outbound, but not on return. Agree that premium economy varies depending on airline and plane. Last fall returned on British Airways Boeing 777 in business from Heathrow to Austin. The cabin crew were fantastic - couldn't have been better. Food, amenities very good. Seats were alternating face forward/face back - very awkward for window seat. Had to climb over the feet of the row behind and crew had to reach for service. The previous year flew on a Lufthansa A380 upper deck Munich to LAX. Fantastic cabin crew, food, etc. Seats side by side and comfortable. Their business class service was better than some airlines first class. As they used to say on Western Airlines (long gone): the only way to fly!

Posted by
1544 posts

A Traveller above says they are not going to bring their own noise canceling headphones because Delta gives them to you in business class. Trust me if you got the good ones , bring them Delta’s are not good

Posted by
5904 posts

Beitish Air- depends where you are flying from and the aircraft used. Horrible in and out of PHX, old, dilapidated aircraft, broken seat, bad video choices.. Excellent out of BOS. Both flights to LHR.

Posted by
3483 posts

I used to travel a lot for work, plus vacation trips to US and Europe would bump me into first class on most trips. The nicest benefit I enjoyed were the beds that laid flat. I would wake up rested and ready to go! The flight attendants were always especially courteous, too, along with the passengers.

Would I pay for it? No. I would much rather use the money for special memorable experiences - concerts, operas, cooking classes, etc. But, enjoy whatever is special for you!

Posted by
79 posts

Thanks Suki. I checked my flights - SEA to LHR is a 787 Dreamliner (yay). So far the flight back is showing a 737 (maybe not so Yay - but hopefully it will get changed to a 787 before October).

Posted by
4281 posts

We moved to premium economy some years back, mainly for the extra legroom on long-haul flights. A few times we've flown first class domestically and it sure was nice. The main benefit on an overnight transatlantic would be the ability to lie flat and hopefully get some decent sleep for a change. But the price difference is way too much for my inner tightwad. I think of it as thousands of dollars more for a few hours' comfort, and I think what else that money would buy in my life, and I click on premium economy again. Sure I have one miserable night but then it ends and I have a pretty good first-day routine afterwards, and my trips are long enough to absorb that.

Last fall I came home on BA premium economy (whatever they call it) and discovered that I had a whole four-seat middle row to myself. First class was full, but I had lots of room to spread out and no neighbors to bother for my (frequent) bathroom breaks. Sleep wasn't an issue on this 10+ hour daytime flight. I just thought of all the money I was saving vs. my first-class neighbors up front. That was a lucky break, though. I understand the OP's point, but I just can't justify (to myself) all that extra cost.

Posted by
619 posts

I fly business class for work, primarily on United, but also have flown Virgin, Lufthansa, Singapore, Turkish, Cathay, British Airways, and KLM in business and I would agree that not all business class seats are equal.

My primary reason for flying business class is the extra room. Even with that, I rarely sleep on planes so when I fly personally, I opt for a premium economy seat, gives me the little extra leg room. However, my husband does not want to fly economy, for him it is almost not worth the trip.

Depending upon our budget for a trip, I splurge for business. If the budget is leaner, then it is a premium economy seat and cross my fingers on using points/status for upgrades.

Posted by
11683 posts

737? You must mean 747 for London to Seattle?

BA 48 and 49, between Seattle and London, are switching from a 747 to the new 787-10 in July. If your return flight is showing as a 747, there are two possibilities: either they haven't adjusted the scheduled planes for your return date yet, or they are returning the route to a 747 for the fall/winter season. Based on what I have seen of the equipment change for our July flights, I suspect it is the former. When I got notice of the equipment change for our outbound flight in July, the inbound flight hadn't changed toma 787 yet. It did a few days later.

We have flown BA business class ( using miles) for ten round-trips so far. We have never been disappointed with either the service or the comfort. I prefer the 747 over the 777 which they had on the route a couple of times, and have not ever had a problem with old tired seats on the 747s. The earlier Seattle to London flight ( BA 52/53) uses the 777 so we have never taken that one.

One nice thing about the new 787-10 is the seating configuration. It doesn't use the "yin/yang" businesss class seats that have been standard with BA for as long as we have been flying them (since 2003). Instead, it is more like first class, with individual "suites" in a 1-2-1 across pattern. Very private, and everyone has an aisle seat. No longer will the person in the window seat ( me) have to climb over the legs of the person behind to reach the aisle.

Posted by
317 posts

How do you find sales or promotions on business class seats? Any tips?

Posted by
2464 posts

Barbara, I think your best chance is an airport that has a lot of competition.

Posted by
8715 posts

I fly business class. I'm not ashamed to admit it but I don't flaunt it. I take the same flight from the U.S. to Europe. It's the early morning flight from JFK to LHR on BA. It's a 747 and I only take the upper deck. (20 seats.) It's quiet, roomier, never any kids, and two flight attendants. BA's business class is fine service-wise but the seats are ready for an upgrade.

The BA business class lounges in the main terminal at Heathrow Terminal 5 get very crowded. If you are flying back to the USA chances are your plane will leave from Satellite B or C. If so, use the lounge in Satellite B. It's never very crowded.

Lately, on the return, BA has been offering an upgrade for $300 to First Class. It's a whole world unto itself.

For intraEuropean fligts, FC is really nothing more than the middle seat of a three seat row blocked off. You get to board early and free checked bags but the difference in price may not be worth it for a short flight.

Much of my flying is using miles. And once you fly business class, you can't go back.

Posted by
79 posts

Thanks Lola - I rechecked and my flight to LHR is a 787 and the flight back is currently a 777 (with yin/yang configuration) but my husband has the window seat so he has to crawl over me. Frank II - if I get offered a $300 upgrade to first class on either way I'm taking it LOL. I've only been lucky enough for an upgrade once and that was when a girlfriend with lots of miles upgraded my ticket. The main selling point for business class was the lay flat seats so we can try and sleep. Thanks!!!

Posted by
11683 posts

You must be on BA53 for your homebound flight. AFAIK that 777 is not scheduled for change to a different plane.

With the yin-yang configuration, the obstacle the window passenger has to step over are the legs of the aisle passenger in the row behind, not the person adjacent. So it won't be you, but someone else.

But no worries; I am 5'2" and managed it OK many times, before I discovered the window seats on the upper deck of a 747 that a small person can exit by slipping between their own seat back and the wall of the plane. I have those seats booked for our flights next month---- but now we are considering the possibility we may have to cancel.

Posted by
172 posts

My parents refuse to fly Economy anymore (early 60s) and so if I’m going on a trip with them, Premium Economy it is! Someday I suspect they’ll start working their way to Business Class. On most domestic flights, I’ll still do Economy (though not basic economy shudder) but it’s hard to let go of that for the international flights.

I have Delta Miles banked for a hopeful near in the future Japan trip that I’d like to upgrade to business class. It requires a 6 hour trip to LA followed by the 12-13 hour flight to Japan. I just want something better for a trip like that... or at least my back does.

Posted by
3436 posts

Just be sure you know that all of these nice things on United are only for International business.

Domestic business class is missing most of this:

  • Pre-takeoff Champaign (free) - You might get another sparkling wine, but definitely not champagne
  • Lots of free food - You get a meal or snack "appropriate to the time of day". Not a lot no matter, nothing extra either unless you purchase the economy food.
  • Better quality food. - Sometimes the snack boxes offered in economy are better "food" than the business meals.
  • Food on demand (limited) - Not any more. You eat when everyone else eats.
  • Lots more storage space by your seat, especially in the upper deck of a 747. - United has eliminated their 747 fleet.
  • A quieter location - True unless you get the couple with the lap children who scream for the entire flight.
  • Free access to BC lounges at airports. - For Domestic flights, you have to either join the club (around $650 annual fee or $65 for one person for one visit), or be a plus 1 for someone who is already a member.
  • More stuff on the seat TV - Lucky if you even have an in seat TV. You bring your own entertainment device.
  • More seat privacy - Nope.
  • Seats that turn into beds where you can actually sleep. - Only if your domestic flight is on one of the normal international planes.
  • Blankets an pillows, real pillows - Haven't seen a pillow on a United domestic flight this century. Blankets are military surplus quality.
Posted by
327 posts

RE: A quieter location - True unless you get the couple with the lap children who scream for the entire flight.

From personal experience, I will add one more "not always" example to the above statement:

Possibly true ... unless you are seated behind or in front of a couple whose voice levels increase with each unlimited alcoholic beverage requested over the course of five hours - even when most other passengers around them were clearly endeavoring to sleep on an overnight flight.

Posted by
1468 posts

For us it’s all about the end result. My husband is past the age when he can fold up enough to endure an overseas flight. So, we fly business and travel less. Also, British Airways partners (fingers crossed they continue) with Alaska Airlines, so he picks up enough credits to help keep MVP status for domestic travel. The only other perk that we really like is getting through immigration quickly - it usually puts up in some sort of fast-pass line.

The one thing I haven’t figured out is how to get seats on the upper deck of BA’s 747 - am I not scrolling fall enough? The only seats I seem to get offered are on the lower deck.

Posted by
8715 posts

The one thing I haven’t figured out is how to get seats on the upper deck of BA’s 747 - am I not scrolling fall enough? The only seats I seem to get offered are on the lower deck.

If you go near the top of the seating diagram, on the left side, it will ask if you want lower deck or upper deck. Click upper deck and the seating chart will show up. (Upper deck seats cost more.)

Be aware, if you are flying with miles, it won't show all available seats. They keep those for paying passengers.

Posted by
11683 posts

Patty, when are you looking for those upper deck seats? Many of the upper deck seats are held back for passengers with status, so the others go quickly. We have no status but I book with miles almost a year in advance, and reserve the seats we like (63J and K) at that time. They are more expensive than others. But 63 K is the window seat that a small person can exit by slipping between the seat and the wall of the aircraft, instead of stepping over someone’s legs. And 63J is an exit row seat, with extra space in front of it. 63 A and B have the same benefits.

Posted by
4091 posts

How do you find sales or promotions on business class seats? Any tips?

Barbara, the times I've managed it have been when someone (Stephen?) posts about it here on the Forum. Also check out a website www.thepointsguy.com. That site is, of course, mostly about deals with points, but he also will sometimes list other bargains.

If you're a member of AARP, they often feature discounts on British Airways. It's not huge, but it helps.

And get on the mailing list of your favorite (or most convenient) airlines. Special offers (and a lot of other stuff) will magically appear in your inbox.

Sometimes the sales are linked with hotels; that's the way British Air has done it the last two years. Had we been planning to spend this year's trip in Britain instead of Italy, we could have saved quite a bit on the flight. They offered combo deals to Rome, but oddly enough it was cheaper to book the flights and hotels separately. Go figure.

Posted by
2988 posts

BA 53 is on a 777, but we just received notice that we will be on one with the new Club Suite seating in August. Our original selected seats had to change since this is the configuration.

I try to save frequent flier miles for business class tickets. This time, there was a good price (still available) for Seattle -London RT in August for business class. I bought a ticket. Then, Alaska airlines has a special bonus going where I should earn around 33,000 miles for this flight (I will put Alaska's frequent flyer # in). That gets me to over 1/2 way on my next one way business class ticket to Europe from this trip alone.

Posted by
1468 posts

Lola - thanks for the response. Usually we book 6-8months out and have always paid for seat assignment. Last year we paid to pre-select seats on the way over and took our chances on the way back. As of right now, I think we’re just going to take our chances both ways. But, we’ve never had the option to be upstairs. I would love the seat that’s your favorite, but we’ve been fine. My husband takes the inside since he’s tall enough to hurdle over anyone laying down.

I’m interested to check and see what planes we have for our reservation.My husband booked the flights this time, so I’m not as in the loop as I usually am. Our outbound British Airways is from Seattle, but we fly BA back to Las Vegas. It will be interesting to see how that compares.

Posted by
4012 posts

I fly business class. I'm not ashamed to admit it

Why would there be any shame in admitting it? You haven't comitted a crime, it's not a sin to fly business class!

If you can afford it and are happy to pay the price for the benefits over economy what's the problem?

Some people prefer to spend their money on other things, that's their choice and I wouldn't belittle them for it. If people sneer at me for flying business of first, so what? It's none of their business what I spend my money on or how I choose to fly.

Posted by
11683 posts

Patty, when is your trip? Is your outbound flight from Seattle on BA 48, the evening flight? That will be changing from a 747 to a 787-10 in July, so if you are going after that, there will be no upper deck, but the plane will have the new sky suites or whatever they are called.

Posted by
1468 posts

Lola - not sure we’ll be lucky enough to get the new plane. We leave in mid-August and I think it’s BA #52. That’s the one we usually take. Currently, they’re showing it as a 777-200. However, the flight back to Las Vegas is showing as a 747, so who knows what we’ll get there.

Posted by
728 posts

I'm always curious what OP's consider to be a good BC fare. I was happy with $2700 RT from the West Coast to Europe, which we've gotten twice in the last year, [British Air for one trip, and United code share with Swiss Air & Lufthansa for the other.]
A few years back we got a British Air RT fare for BC for $1600, [included AARP & VISA discount] but I don't think I'll see that again.
Safe [and discounted] travels!

Posted by
4012 posts

A few years back we got a British Air RT fare for BC for $1600, [included AARP & VISA discount] but I don't think I'll see that again.

We pretty much always buy our flights around a year in advance and take advantage of the British Airways or Virgin Atlantic sales. Most of the fares to the US (not much difference in location) that we've paid tend to be around the £1200 mark ($1500).

Posted by
93 posts

If you live near a United hub, another option to consider (that I use) is UnitedVacations.com. The reason for doing is that they sell bulk fare business class tickets with a nice discount if you include a hotel for even just one night. Coming home I usually position myself nearby the return airport in Europe for the final night stay, so I choose such a hotel from their offerings. One time I even chose the very cheapest hotel in the area and never used the stay--I never showed. I just did so to secure a great fare.

As a point of reference, I will be traveling to Italy late this summer and have booked DEN-MUC-FCO flying on Lufthansa flights and returning FCO-IAD-DEN on United flights. Including the hotel (Hilton connected to FCO) my cost is $2250. FWIW, I chose the outbound Lufthansa flights in order to have a loner, uninterrupted flight (DEN-MUC) with time to enjoy the meal before getting a decent night sleep.

Posted by
4091 posts

Pat, a few years ago we paid $1700 each for RT business class, Tulsa to London. That probably included the AARP discount. This year we couldn't find anything near that price. We're flying business class to Rome, and started looking for sales last August. The only ones that showed up had enough other requirements that they didn't fit our itinerary. And they weren't enticing enough to tempt us to change our itinerary.

We finally gave up about a month ago and booked. And no, I'm not looking at schedules and prices again this year. ;-)

Posted by
32 posts

In April, I flew home on a direct flight from Rome to LAX. I was able to score a First Class seat on Alitalia for less than I would have if I had booked it when I bought my original tickets (I flew over on a Redeye in Coach in the middle seat...it was HELL). I will do everything in my power now to avoid flying Coach internationally. The flight back was so much nicer and I was so much more relaxed when I landed--even after and exhausting 19-day trip.

I was save money elsewhere....First or Business class overseas from now on!

Posted by
4012 posts

British Airways has started their "Luxury Sale" today however it would appear that it's only advertised on the British site and is only relevant for flights departing from the UK.

They're also starting flights direct from Portland in the summer.

Posted by
4091 posts

JC, we ran into that same scenario last year. And we understood that if we got the BA credit card we would get a 10% discount on flights, but as it turned out the flights had to be BA all the way, and go through London. Unfortunately, our local airport uses American to get us to the BA part of the journey, and that meant we weren't eligible for the discount. We did play with a cheapo flight to DFW, and then back from DFW to our local (Tulsa) airport, but it was too fraught. It would have meant changing airports in Dallas and/or spending the night in a hotel there. Coming and going. Not worth it.

Posted by
122 posts

Like Jane and Pat above, I took advantage of that amazing British Airways sale in 2015 (trip was 2016) where the tickets were $1600 per ticket (ST. Louis to London). I haven't seen flights that cheap anywhere again! After that trip, my 6-5 husband said he could never travel to Europe in coach again - i spoiled it for him!

Since that trip, we've flown to Europe 3 more times and flew business every trip with this exception - we flew business from Chicago to Barcelona after Christmas this past year. On the way home, we changed planes and flew on a 787 Dreamliner in Premium Economy from London to Chicago. The price for that leg was $430 - which was a better prices than regular economy or business! our tickets for that trip was $1400ish per ticket (business over, PE back). It was quite a pleasant experience flying in the daytime in a 787 Premium Economy.

I see above someone asked how to find sales and promotions on business class flights. Everyone has their own process. For me, I look at flight prices quite often even when not planning a trip. I know generally the best deals that I've seen out of my home airport (St Louis) on United and British Airways (always seems cheaper than American PLUS the AARP discount). I often run all sorts of scenarios through my searches as well - dates and locations - to see where I can find deals or the best prices. Takes some time to play around with this but I have the time and I enjoy the search. I also check flights out of Chicago since it's an easy 5 hour drive and have family 20 minutes from o'hare so we don't have to do longterm parking. I have also checked flights out of Nashville but haven't ever done a trip from there.

As a side note. I've been seeing flights for a possible trip after Christmas range about $2000 to fly in business from St. Louis to a handful of European locations. However, since we just bought tickets 10 days ago for a June trip to Europe that includes a stop in Madrid to see your daughter who's studying there this summer, I'm reluctant to book yet another big trip for 2020!

Posted by
35 posts

It is my absolute dream to flying business class overseas before I die. Was there any rhyme or reason to how you got a bump?

Posted by
18 posts

It is my absolute dream to flying business class overseas before I
die.

Aye! Mine as well. Saved enough points over 2 years and have roundtrip tickets in hand for my wife and I in business class (Polaris) on the Dreamliner 8 series, and 10 series coming back. It is breaking my heart to cancel them today because of COVID-19.

Posted by
4012 posts

Was there any rhyme or reason to how you got a bump?

Upgrades these days are pretty much the sole preserve of high status loyalty programme members, many of whom will have reached that status by flying business class anyway.

Posted by
728 posts

Brad, we are waiting for British air to announce their extended dates for change, and will be doing so also for our BC seats to Italy April 13. I'd call now and ask what they could do, but I'm afraid it's too early to predict where else the virus could appear. Will consider ourselves very lucky to go anywhere in April.

Posted by
613 posts

Was there any rhyme or reason to how you got a bump?

I think so. We had to change planes in FRA, booked in coach. Had to do a check in at FRA. The guy ahead of us at the check in counter took forever. He wanted change three international frights and pay for the difference using cash, credit card, and miles. This took a long time. When we finally got to the desk, I think the ticket agent was expecting a screaming assault form irritated customers, but it wasn't her fault. We were pleasant. We made jokes. She said, "there are 3 empty business class seats on this flight. Would like two of them? The third went to a soldier returning from Afghanistan.

Be nice to flack catchers.