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How much would you pay to upgrade?

Out of curiosity...

Checking in online prior to an international flight and you're offered an upgrade to business for X dollars— what's a price that gets you to pony up?

For me, on overnight flights, it's a no-brainer at $500. But for that price, I'd have to consider it more for a daytime flight.

Posted by
942 posts

Honestly, probably nothing. Back in the day I regularly did 15 hour flights in coach (middle seat, no less). It was endless and excruciating, but I was poor and didn't care. I was just so happy to be going somewhere. I'm not so poor now but I just focus on the destination and would rather the $ in my travel fund go towards the actual trip (nicer hotel, better restaurants, etc.), not the few hours on the plane.

I have found that no matter how torturous a flight was I instantly forgot about it the second the plane landed. That hotel with the great view, that perfect restaurant, all those things I saw and did, I remember those though. :)

Posted by
4663 posts

I don't bother upgrading on intra-europe flights below three hours because I can manage that duration in economy if I can get an exit seat. Long haul I don't even bother looking at economy, I just can't do it especially knowing the likelihood of the person in front reclining. At 6'3" that simply traps me in my seat.

I've upgraded to First on occasions when the price has been below £500. Out of curiosity I checked what the price of an upgrade to First on my forthcoming flight to Barbados with BA, it was £21,000 for four people! I chose to stick with business.

Posted by
2318 posts

I'm 6'2" and things can get cramped, but I'd rather spend my money once my feet are on the ground at my destination.

Posted by
233 posts

I do alright and am comfortable in economy, and sleep pretty well. I look at the cost to upgrade as a fleeting minor comfort, and that the money spent on the few hours in business class could be better spent somewhere else where the money goes further for a greater enjoyment.

Posted by
5262 posts

With age, at 6'1", I've been investing in premium economy. I'd love to lie flat and perhaps actually sleep meaningfully on an overnight flight, but it costs so much more that I can't justify it to myself, especially on a per-hour basis. As someone else wrote, once the flight is over you're no longer suffering. I'd hate to replace the temporary in-flight suffering with longer-lasting regret about the big bucks I could have spent more meaningfully, or saved for the future.

Posted by
3186 posts

For me, yes to Premium Economy. No to Business-those lie-flat beds are so narrow they feel like sleeping in a coffin. Best sleep I ever had was on US Air when I was in the middle section with five seats and had the entire row to myself.

EDITED: Another vote for Virgin Atlantic's premium economy. On the Airbus 320, the people in the inside seats can get out without the person on the aisle having to get out of his or her seat.

Posted by
21718 posts

At 6-2 and 80, business class certainly has an appeal. Our price point is in that 500 to 1000 range for long flights depending on airline and schedule. Our attitude these days is that if we don't spend it, our dils will.

Posted by
5157 posts

I upgraded once at $250 and once at $400. The $400 was pushing it but I had just come off a transcontinental red-eye flight and had 9+ hours to go. I wanted to be in a position to feel decent when I arrived. Was it pure indulgence? Absolutely. Is travel itself an indulgence? Yes.

I often go back to the proposition that travel is about value. If the personal value to you is enough, you will pay a higher amount. If there isn't any perceived value, then one doesn't pay and spends the money elsewhere.

Side note: My son and his wife were flying home for Christmas and were offered a $20 upgrade each for first class on a domestic flight. That was a no brainer....

Posted by
740 posts

I have to admit that I used to fly international business class on my employer's dime, which might change my perspective. Change it to one of an addict jonesing for more.

The lay-flat seat is only part of the value for me, but the significantly improved airport experience as well. And somehow that matters more to me on the outbound leg, which is likely to be overnight, than it does on the homeward return.

Posted by
3657 posts

For those also in the 6'-2" range, what is the lie flat actually like? Where do the feet end up, against something or hanging in the air? Is it possible to lie on one's back or is it side only with knees bent? Is it like hide-and-seek in a chest?

Posted by
12886 posts

Nothing, if possible.. No doubt Business class is much more comfortable than sitting 11 hours in Economy. I've been upgraded twice surprisingly, both times on Lufthansa, both times SFO to FRA, both times on a whim at check-in when the staff member said she was moving me to Business, nothing extra charged. A very pleasant surprise indeed.

Since flying out of SFO to Paris or Frankfurt is overnight anyway because I want to arrive in the morning, I am used to flying 11 hrs in basic Economy. However, being 6 feet I have experienced some seats less comfortable in Economy than others.

Bottom line, no extra paying to upgrade.

Posted by
740 posts

Tom_MN - Different seats on different planes, but I'm 6'1", broad and thick, and the lay-flats do kind of max out for me. The foot spaces can feel cramped for my size 11.5 feet. Still a marked improvement over anything else.

Posted by
14 posts

Mine is $200.

Upgraded on flight from Christchurch, NZ to Bangkok on Emirates. Would not go higher as the flight to NZ in economy was very good.

I always sign up for the airlines miles program and to receive emails. I received offer 2 days before return flight and upgraded.

Posted by
3265 posts

At our age and physical condition, I won't even get on a short flight unless it's premium economy. Anything 5 or more hours, it's BC. When we were young and had to count pennies we suffered long hours in economy, just so we could get to where we wanted to go. But I never enjoyed the experience that some of you apparently do, of having no fatigue or stiffness after arrival. But we did rebound in a day or so. Now, not so much. It can take several days to get over the effects of a very long flight.

Now we don't have to count pennies. Airfare is part of our vacation budget. I like not standing in an endless line at check in. I like relaxing with a meal and beverages in a quiet lounge before boarding. I like priority boarding and a comfortable seat with lots of room. I LOVE being able to sleep lying down on a night flight, and reclining with my feet up on day flights. The back massage function is nice too, on some flights. And I also like priority disembarkation and priority security and immigration lines. So it's totally worthwhile for us. But the emphasis, is for us. Everyone has their own benchmark on value.

Posted by
1817 posts

In al my years of travel, I've never been offered an upgrade at check-in in Canada.
Once while connecting in Chicago from here to London, I was offered an upgrade for US$100 to Premium Economy, and that's it.
I paid, and had a seat with one empty next to me.
However, the IFE didn't work at my seat, but the flight attendant took my details, and a few weeks later I received quite a few points, so that was nice.

Maybe we don't routinely offer in Canada?
I don't know.

Posted by
419 posts

If the flight was an overnight to Europe, I'd probably cap it at $250-$300. I've never flown business class, so would love to try it. I usually get premium economy seats on at least the overnight flights. I don't sleep well on planes no matter what, but can definitely get stiff and achy on long flights in regular economy.
I keep thinking I'll try business/first class sometime, but then I'm afraid I would never want to go back to premium economy again!

Posted by
4462 posts

It depends on what I was planning to do the first night I’m in Europe, and whether I’m heading to Europe or returning home. For the return flight, not more than $200. For the flight to Europe, maybe $300-400. I agree with others that I look at it as what else I could do with that money when I’m actually there.

I have been upgraded for free on a few trips overseas, and it is wonderful! Since I normally sleep on my stomach, sitting in the seat in Economy Plus is more just light napping where the flat beds is a good night’s sleep.

Posted by
1071 posts

We don't ever consider business as it is just too expensive for us which means we won't pay it, not that we can't. We'd rather put the money towards experiences during travel or toward a future trip.

Posted by
310 posts

SO says she won't fly in coach, so I have no choice. However, I'm considering PE for myself on return trip this Sep and let her spend time in BC. This happened once on TWA (Looong time ago) the year of triple miles. Reserved 2 seats in FC using miles, but only one FC seat was available at airport. (TWA did this occasionally.) So I sat 2 rows behind her in BC and got the same food and beverage service...

Posted by
8618 posts

I keep thinking I'll try business/first class sometime, but then I'm afraid I would never want to go back to premium economy again!

That is a real possibility.

I can still tolerate econ for 5ish hrs ( gets me to Hawaii) , but intercontinental is just too grim to contemplate

Posted by
5547 posts

I have never flown anything other than cattle class. I am only 5ft 4. I can’t sleep on planes, boats or trains.

My main concern is getting there on time. If the flight is delayed or cancelled, you are still affected no matter what class you travel.

Posted by
174 posts

My cap is $5000 for a lay flat business seat RT. Much happier when I score deals in the $3500-4000 range. Upgrade- not a penny as I would have to buy a coach seat in the first place which will never happen. If a super deal can be had I will go Business going over (night flights) and Prem Economy (Virgin Atlantic which seats are 21 in wide) on the return day flight as I won't be sleeping.

Posted by
419 posts

I keep thinking I'll try business/first class sometime, but then I'm afraid I would never want to go back to premium economy again!


I received a free upgrade into Delta One from economy at check-in for my ATL-LHR flight a few years ago. Winter weather disruptions forced other pax connecting through JFK and BOS to go through ATL instead and I’m guessing Delta had too many economy pax for the available seats so they upgraded me because I had (some) Medallion status.
My first reaction: There must be some mistake.
My second reaction: Joy! A lie-flat bed!!
My third reaction: Uh-oh, I’m going to know what I’m missing from now on.
Oh well.

Posted by
218 posts

I'll go 4x standard economy for proper business. Not interested in faux-business like Iceland Air, Condor, or United's 767-400s and some of their 787-9s. BA's alternate front/back-facing seats are also a non-starter.

I'll go 2x standard economy for Premium Economy.

I'm 6'1" and soon 71. I've made enough TATL flights in economy, including some 12 hour legs. Time to level up.

Posted by
2258 posts

I’m 5’5” and don’t really need extra legroom. My husband is 6’2” and it really makes a difference for him. So for a long time we’ve been paying a little extra for more leg room.

Recently we’ve been reserving premium economy seats for around $200 more. For two people and two flights that adds up to a significant sum. However, I think it's worth it. I like the extra width along with the legroom, priority boarding (so we can be assured of room in the overhead bins), and not having to wait in the long lines at the counter. We are 68 and 70 now, so it seems like the time to do it.

I’d leap on business class for $500 more if we could have lay flat seats on the outbound flight since they’re always at night. I’ve never had an opportunity to try them, but I gaze at them with longing as I pass by on each flight.

For flying back home in the daytime, I might consider an upgrade for $100.

Posted by
110 posts

Nothing....because I'm already in Business. It all started when we picked up a Volvo in Sweden. Volvo pays for PE & we paid up for Business (except our son flew PE). was so nice. The lie flat seats were awesome. And the service. And the lounge & priority boarding. I can't go back. Damn you Volvo

I look for 2 BC for $5k from the West Coast. CPH, CDG, LHR, DUB, etc I have a bunch of alerts now for flights. The lowest fare now is about $6.5k. (SAS) And I will pull the trigger for that if it comes down to it. And nonstop only

edit to add: Fly business class or your kids will
or: I'm spending my kids inheritance

Posted by
873 posts

To business class? $100 per person max. And I'm pretty sure that is never going to happen. I normally sedate myself on a flight anyway so I don't really care enough to spend any more money that I could spend during my vacation.