First Class Fares Get Affordable

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Newscience, May 28, 2015.  |  Print Topic

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Have You Decided to Upgrade Your Airline Seat This Year Because of an Affordable Fare?

  1. Yes

    45.0%
  2. No

    20.0%
  3. Are you kidding me? Pay for an upgrade?

    20.0%
  4. I always/often use my airline miles to upgrade my seat

    15.0%
  1. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    First Class Fares Get Affordable
    Airlines are dropping premium fares to entice shoppers to buy more first-class tickets

    Scott McCartney's weekly air travel column in today's Wall Street Journal describes how airlines are offering discounted first class seats rather than offer them to their elites, and risk getting revenue from them.

    This column is well worth reading. It shows how the price gap between economy and premium airline tickets has dropped since 2012, and also provides some guidance as to when it's worthwhile to pay the difference to upgrade on some AA, DL and UA flights. You can read this article here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/first-class-fares-get-affordable-1432741041?tesla=y

    If this link doesn't work for you (many non-Wall Street Journal subscribers), simply put the title "First Class Fares Get Affordable" in your web browser, and you should have one-time electronic access to the entire article.
     
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  2. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    I *always* upgrade on AS if there is a buy-up available at check-in. $100 is a little steep for LAX-SEA, but I've done it anyway, and the same $100 will upgrade you from any West Coast destination to Hawaii. I was doing a nasty mileage run last year - SAN-BOS-SAN in a single day, and they offered $150 upgrade BOS-SAN. 6 hour flight? Done. I know it destroys the value of the mileage run, but having a big cozy seat to curl up in is well worth it.

    Up until last year or the year before with AS it was almost always worth it to buy a first class ticket if you were booking last minute, because they didn't have "lowest" first fares - they were all flexible. I got called in to work just before Christmas in 2013 and had to make last minute travel reservations for after my work trip so I would be home in time and it was $390 for nonrefundable coach and $430 for flexible first. That's a no brainer for me with the mileage bonus and I did end up having to change my ticket - train was running 8 hours late. Granted that's not the norm, but it was nice calling 3 hours prior to departure and saying "not gonna make it, move my flight please" and having the agent happily do it without a fee.

    I've also noticed lately that AA (my "home" carrier if you will) has offered more affordable fares in first - next week traveling OAK to LAX showed buyable fares at 178 in coach and 240 in first. I ended up not having to book the trip, but it was tempting at that low price.
     
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  3. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    Stupid paywall.

     
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  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    ??? See above:
    "If this link doesn't work for you (many non-Wall Street Journal subscribers), simply put the title "First Class Fares Get Affordable" in your web browser, and you should have one-time electronic access to the entire article."
     
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  5. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Thanks, timfrost! I agree, AA has made some of their seat upgrade prices quite reasonable. AA's recent business class offerings for TATL in the $1400-1700 range are worth considering!
     
  6. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    I know :p I just copy and pasted the whole article that's all
     
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  7. dhammer53
    Original Member

    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    Nasty? You want nasty? How about the 6 hour turn on a trip JFK/SIN. :D

    I never pay for upgrades.
     
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  8. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    I once traveled from IAD to BKK for a meeting, and was in Thailand less than 36 hours. :( But you've got me beat! And I would have gladly paid for a reasonably-priced seat upgrade! :)
     
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  9. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    There would have been a plane "issue" if it was me. Forcing me to stay for at least a couple days. :p
     
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  10. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Well stated! ;) But, I had to balance a tough work schedule, and was permitted by my employer to travel to BKK if I was able to quickly return for a meeting back home. I did attend it the day after my return travel, but also had a case of world-class jet lag! :(
     
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  11. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    OUCHIES! I tip my hat to you. I'm just lazy. I know there are far worse. It was however compounded by having to drive 90 minutes to and from SAN at either end of the day, but still can't compete with a pair of trans-ocean flights.

     
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  12. dhammer53
    Original Member

    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    I was just checking fares for NYC/LAS later in the year. If I purchase a coach seat on UA from LGA, cost is ~$375 roundtrip. UA is asking ~$750 to sit upfront. Doing the math, that's about $180 extra to sit upfront one way.

    Back in the late '80's, UA sold 500 mile upgrade certs for under $20 a coupon. Here we are 25 years later, and the cost is about $35 a coupon (if they were available). I remember all the complaining back in 2000 on Flyertalk as the cert cost kept going up.

    < Insert walk down memory lane comments. >
     
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  13. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    Remember that a bunch of years ago we were bombarded with
    surveys and questionnaires focusing on how much we were
    willing to pay to sit up front. I thought, well, double, but I
    won't tell the barstids. They apparently found out anyway.
    Loose lips take away upgrade opportunities.

    But look on the bright side - you buy F and get twice the
    PQDs and 1.5x the PQMs and PQSs. They're virtually begging
    people to buy 1K the way some of us wanted to do in the
    olden days.
     
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  14. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    I doubt it was so much a case of "loose lips" as the airlines playing with pricing until they actually found out what sold. Unfortunately they realized at some point in the last 10 years that they are in fact for-profit businesses and decided to conduct themselves as such.
     
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  15. I love how everyone wants something for nothing its beyond silly. Would you do something for nothing?
     
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  16. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    An upgrade isn't something for "nothing" per se. The airline tempts us with the potential of such an upgrade in order to get us to spend money exclusively with them. Unfortunately since the airlines have become more clever with selling upgrades and bonafide first class tickets these free upgrades are less common.

    I do things for "nothing" all the time at work because I believe it may make the passenger experience better or be a good long term investment for the company - sometimes a free cup of coffee given to someone can make a huge impact on their day and the cost to my company is about 30 cents. It's something for nothing the way they see it, but could make a huge difference to us in the long run.
     
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  17. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Please explain what you mean in more detail. Is the "something for nothing" you refer to a seat upgrade for no money? Isn't this what many airlines used to do for their elite travelers? FWIW, I've been upgraded on airlines on which I've had no status. I've mentioned this on Milepoint strings (more than once), and have been told that could not have happened to me! :rolleyes:


    timfrost's response reminds me of the time many years back I gave the porter on a British train an Eisenhower dollar coin as a tip after I boarded the train, after he showed me to my sleeper berth and told me how to get to the dining car. I asked him if he could provide a wake-up call for me, as I didn't want to oversleep my 6:00 am departure. He surprised me by providing me with tea an crumpets along with my wake-up call! It never hurts to be kind to people - aka "something for nothing"!
     
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  18. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    I'm surprised he didn't intentionally let you oversleep after you tipped him in foreign currency... I wanted to throttle a waiter who tipped me out in CAD a few years ago on SEA-CHI (I was the chef). :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    O.K., this deserves more explanation. Have you seen an "Ike" dollar? They are large coins, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenhower_dollar and were in general circulation in the US in the 1970's but never much used, due to their size.

    I use them to give to folks as souvenirs, and also when I've taught courses overseas. It's a great way to "coin" someone with a souvenir. I buy them for a couple of dollars or so a piece at a coin shop. FWIW, I had read a long time ago in a Fodor's that it's good idea to present something like this as a souvenir to folks who are tip-worthy during overseas travel. It's worked well for me for some time.
     
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  20. Dublin_rfk

    Dublin_rfk Gold Member

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    I was looking for flight info for a colleague when I came across this one.
    Sometimes you just have to scratch your head and wonder.
    Untitled.jpg
    Posted earlier as "1st world problem".
     
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  21. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I would highly recommend asking your bank for them at face value. I accumulated over 5000 of them until I finally decided that they were not earning any money sitting in bags and I cashed them in at the bank. I often found 5 or 10 at a time at bank branches and they were happy to get rid of them.
     
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  22. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    While I feel bad for elites who are finding upgrades harder to get, I'm delighted that the airlines are FINALLY figuring out that many people are actually willing to pay for more room and better service as long as the price isn't exorbitant. It's a nice counterpoint to the "pack 'em in like sardines, cheapness uber all!" mentality that has dominated the industry for the past three decades or so.
     
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  23. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Absolutely! AA and DL appear to have gotten the message, UA not so much. Having the ability to plan in advance greatly helps. Earlier this year, I scored a r/t TATL flight on AA in business class for $1700 (Gary Leff later described a method to reduce this to $1400), that is now priced at $5400. Let's have more such "fare sales" and fill those business/first seats! :)
     

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