How Much Would You Pay for a North American First Class Airline Upgrade if.....

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Explore, Jun 23, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Explore
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    Explore Silver Member

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    If you couldn't recoup the cost, directly OR indirectly, from company or clients? For me, the maximum might be around $75 to $90 per direction for premium transcon including VX; $50 for other mainline over 1500 miles, $35 for shorter mainline with a meal; and $20 for non-meal or regional aircraft upgrades.

    Anyone else?
     
  2. Halothane
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    Halothane Silver Member

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    Transcon on VX probably $50. $0 on any other airline. I'd happily take my exit row seat.
     
  3. FrequentlyFlying
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    I thought $135 was worth it for my recent DFW-LAX run flying American without status. It was worth it for me at that moment. I'd probably do $50 for premium economy on VX on a transcon, too.
     
  4. ctporter
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    If I have no status, and I am tired, I too would pay between $75 - $90 for a anything over 3 hrs. If I can be in an exit row though, I would not pay the upgrade
     
  5. NYBanker
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    It doesn't seem likely that you will be buying any upgrades if these are your price thresholds.
     
  6. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Most upgrade "at the gate" or check in usually runs $300-500 and higher per segment. This usually on UA / CO. I don't think your going to find the prices that you're quoting in your post.
     
  7. Explore
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    Explore Silver Member

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    Well as a 1K I don't need to pay for upgrades on UA/CO at least - even my CR1s go begging because the automatic upgrade rate is so high (except ps, where the certs are needed).

    Therefore, my question is a little hypothetical. It appears that many FFs share my valuations, or may even find them high, if they have to pay out of their own pocket for the current product.
     
  8. TRAVELSIG
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    The most I have paid was 15000 HKD (1500 EUR) to go C to F on CX HKG/FCO- I didn't expense my company or client- and it was worth it.
     
  9. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    If I'm flying AA where I'm just a Platinum, I'd generally pay for 500 mile certs, so I'd say those are priced about right. I hate coach.
     
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  10. TRAVELSIG
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    Strange- everyone else seems to like it so much :)
     
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  11. eponymous_coward
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    VX sells their F product day-of-flight for $70 on short haul (SFO-SEA/LAS/SAN, less than 850 miles), $110 on midhaul (LAX-SEA, SFO/LAX-DFW, SFO-SJD, 850 to 1499 miles), $270 for longhaul (everything else).

    Either they are really bad at setting prices, going on four years of running their airline, or you might be off a bit in your estimation of what people are willing to pay. FWIW, VX has increased prices: SEA-LAX used to be $50. (It also was a lot more popular when it was $50, not surprisingly. I've seen totally empty VX F cabins on SEA-LAX.)
     
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  12. Jenny & Curt
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    Since those of us without status have to pay more than that on UA for E+, the OP's prices for First Cabin seem pretty low.
     
  13. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    I used to pay 15k miles + the $50 copay for the upgrade to C on UA's p.s. flights. With the new 20k miles + $75 copays I probably won't anymore.
     
  14. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    $10-20/hour domestic. My comfort isn't worth more than that, but I put up with a lot. For international travel, I would pay $20-30/hour since it really is a superior product.
     
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  15. eponymous_coward
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    For a 12 hour flight, that's only $250-350 or so. That's enough to get you Economy Comfort on Delta, but I suspect not Premium Economy on TG/BA/VS/AF/KL, nor E+ without UA elite status.
     
  16. MSPeconomist
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    I'd certainly pay more if paying for the upgrade also yields more status miles that matter to me. For example, on DL, the purchase of A and P (-UP) fares means that one gets 150% MQMs, the same as full Y. With rollover, those MQMs always have some small value to me. If I were doing a CO/UA status challenge, any additional MQMs would presumably mean more, whether or not they count for the challenge, because they would probably matter at the end of the year. OTOH, if the carrier is one that I don't envision flying again for a while, then the additional status miles wouldn't matter and I'd just be interested in the cheapest upgrade.

    On NW/DL, I've already paid over $500 each way for TATL/TPAC tickets that I could upgrade with miles/SWUs and that give me the 150% rather than 100% MQMs. I think I've paid about $100 one way for about 1000 miles to get a P or A (-UP) fare and 150% MQMs on very elite heavy routes and times when I suspected that I wouldn't otherwise be upgraded even on a quite expensive coach fare--i.e., for those familiar with DL fare codes, I've purchased A rather than H/Q/K strategically at times and when I'm looking at such fares for the flights I need, I check on A/P fares as well as looking at FC loads before purchasing.
     
  17. ramolnar
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    ramolnar Silver Member

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    Inside North America (excluding United ps and similar products)? The real advantage of US first class is seat width, as I don't imbibe alcohol and the meal is worth $10 at most. Even though I'm not obese - 73 inches, 210 pounds (185 cm / 96 kg) - 17 inches of seat width is uncomfortable. Sitting with shoulders back, my shoulder-to-shoulder is 20 inches. Unless the middle seat is open, I have to lean out into the aisle (and I book aisles 95% of the time) or roll my shoulders into an uncomfortable position. I would much rather have an open middle and 31 inches of seat pitch than an occupied middle and more leg room.

    Within the past year, I paid $39 for United Economy Plus for just under 3 hours ($15/hour) because it got me an open middle. But I did not take a $70 first class offer from AA for just over 2 hours ($30/hour). Based on that, I'd pay $15-20 per hour on US/Canada flights.
    Overnight international travel is a different story, because of the need for sleep. Looking at "miles equivalent pricing", I paid $270 for SFO-PEK on United upper deck 747, and $410 for Cathay Pacific ORD-HKG. So I would say $200 (for the bed, like a nice city hotel) plus the $15-20 per hour.
     
  18. TRAVELSIG
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    Not to be harsh- however no wonder the carriers from the USA have such a crappy business and first offering- no one is paying for it!
     
  19. Kezax

    Kezax Active Member

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    Yea or its because they're not subsidized by the government...well for the most part.
     
  20. eponymous_coward
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    You mean like the luxurious C offering you get on a European airline on intra-European routes, what with the coach seats with blocked middle? ;)

    USA airlines regularly beat THAT.

    I am also curious to see how regional C evolves in Asia, now that airlines like AK are expanding like WN did in the 1970's-1990's. SQ is talking about having an LCC arm. They should talk to UA/CO about how TED and Continental Express worked out for them. ;)
     
  21. TRAVELSIG
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    Point well taken on the European offering in general which is dismal. Longhaul European business has very good service in general- however hard product has huge variation from great to poor. On the topic of First, It is not possible to find anything in North America to rival Lufthansa lounges nor the BA Concorde Club at LHR- also inflight the US airlines fare quite poorly in First (although some people do like AA). At the moment Asian carriers are still ahead by a long shot in all classes.

    Good comment on UA and TED- Air Canada also had "Zip" which lasted for a very short time frame.
     
  22. eponymous_coward
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    I wouldn't argue much of that on intercontinental F. My sample size on this is very small, but my opinion meshes well with what general consensus is: UA F has an OK if not stellar hard product, but it's basically a C/J soft product with occasional F flourishes thrown in, and not a really outstanding one at that. I would say, though, that on my recent RTW, that the UA IFL in SFO was serving sufficiently snobtastic lounge champers: Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. It's not a bad lounge, either, if not in FCT/FCL class. I'd hope that now that UA management has decided to keep longhaul F around, and realizing that there's a decent amount of consensus that CO longhaul C soft product is better than UA C, that they will invest in improving their F product.

    That being said, lounges are a very different beast in the US than elsewhere (case in point: with some notable exceptions, first class/business class on a non-international flight won't get you lounge access, no matter how much you dropped on that ticket).
     
  23. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I think it depends on the airline, classes of service and distance. Virgin America sounds like it has a nice product, so I would prob opt to pay for a cross country flight (I think my max would be $150). I would also do that for UAs PS service or similar JFK-LAX/SFO flights.

    I would be more inclined to pay to upgrade on the bigger planes that get utilized for intercontinental flights like CXs JFK-YVR, UAs LAX-IAD, ACs YVR-YYZ, since its a quantum leap from domestic first. Along that lines, EWR/IAH-HNL on CO would be worthy of a $250-300 upgrade.
     
  24. eponymous_coward
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    As for what I would pay...

    I could have flown SEA-SFO-NRT-HKG-ZRH-FRA-SEA in Y for 60,000 US miles. I elected to to do it in F for 120,000 miles. If we give US miles a cash value of 1-1.5 cents per mile (given that you can easily buy miles or participate in promos that offer that kind of return), that's $600-900. (This included several segments on a North American carrier, so it is a valid case for the question. ;))

    My take is that I've flown coach on transcon, and I'd likely do it again unless the prices were under $100-150. Which doesn't really happen. Thus I mostly stay in the back unless I am upgraded for free.

    The more interesting question to me for longhaul travel is the US C redemption at 90,000 miles. Is going from C->F worth $300-450 to me when I do these sorts of trips in the future (which I definitely want to do)? I didn't particularly sleep well on one of the daytime flights I took (SFO-NRT), and I rather liked the SQ Spacebed for the daytime flight I took on SQ (which I'd get flying SQ and, sort of, LH). And OZ has loads of availability from my home airport, SEA- but they don't fly an F cabin on SEA-ICN, so using an F award means either UA to NRT or connecting flight to SFO/LAX. So that's what I am pondering right now...
     
  25. Exiled in Express
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    Two real world data points for me were multiple AA MSP-ORD, 1 hour, upgrade offered at check in for $45. I declined as I knew the back was empty and I rarely drink while the sun is up. Had I been checking a bag it would have been different.

    Other experience was Delta's website "for only $X you can fly first instead" where X has exceeded the cost of my T fare. That was good for a laugh and nothing more.

    I have opted for UA E+ on a 1 hour Express flight, $20. Enjoyed the novelty but have not opted in since. Empty middle seats are more valuable than leg room to me.
     
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