Flying first class

I really don’t like flying, but I do enjoy first class. First class is great, but often ridiculously expensive, which is why I just put in upgrade requests for certain flights and hope that there’s availability and they go through. I’m really excited because I just found out that my upgrade request for my Colorado trip went through. A lot of the time, you won’t find out until you’re at the gate, but sometimes you get lucky.

This is one of the many benefits to committing to the same airline – your status with the airline improves, which accumulates in more miles (which means free tickets) and also results in free, first class upgrades. Free is good.

Business Class Sale!

I am just blown away by the price tag of these first class tickets. I mean, if you’re insanely rich and roll around in dollar bills, then terrific. Go for it! But otherwise, I just can’t see why anyone would pay three or four times the amount of an economy ticket for just a few hours of a slightly improved experience. And those super fancy, international first class 14+ hour flights? They often range anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 a ticket. Yeah, seriously! Since I’d rather use that money towards multiple international trips instead of just one, I’ll try to see what I can do as far as upgrading for free, because flying international in first (or business) class sure is nice.

The other thing that bothers me is when people spend all that money on a first class ticket and it’s not even that good of a first class experience. This is especially true on domestic flights, and not often a problem with international flights, which is why I mentioned the “slightly improved” experience above. Usually, the people that do this don’t travel much as it is, which is why they justify the high cost of a plane ticket, so they don’t think of these things. They just think, “ooh yeah, first class, it’s going to be amazing.”  if you’re going to spend all that money, research the plane that you’re going to be on and what the first class section looks like/will offer – make sure it actually will be amazing. Smaller planes often have a less-than-impressive first class; seats that aren’t leather, only just a touch bigger than economy, with a mediocre meal service. I can’t understand why that ticket would be worth $1,000 when you could’ve flown economy for $300. I won’t even waste my upgrades/miles on certain plane models, let alone shell out all that money.

Flying economy vs. first class: the difference between just closing your eyes and actually sleeping.
Flying economy vs. first class: the difference between just closing your eyes and actually sleeping.

Larger planes (777, etc.) will often have a terrific first class experience. Think lay-flat seats, pillows and comforters, personal televisions with a large movie selection, gourmet ice cream sundaes, delicious dinner, a constant flow of top-notch wine (which is great for the nervous flyer) and so on. You get the idea. I was on a first class flight from Dallas to Hawaii in November on a 777. It was a long, nine-hour flight, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t want it to end!

Booking Your First Class Flight

You’ve got a lot of options for booking your first class flight experience. If you aren’t redeeming points with a specific airline, the options can be daunting. We recommend:

  • Booking directly with airlines that you know you want to fly on and that are known for having superb first class experiences, such as Etihad Airways, Swiss International Air Lines, or Virgin Atlantic Airways. The advantage of booking with the same airline consistently is that you’ll eventually rack up enough points for free flights and upgrades. You’ll also know exactly what you’re getting, so if you had a positive first class experience with a particular airline before, you may not want to risk a poor experience with another.
  • Use airline booking engines such as CheapOAir, OneTravel, or Sky Scanner, which compare airfare from just about any airline and can help you find the lowest first class ticket available.

How do you prefer to book your first class airline tickets?