Charlienoble
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Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:05 pm

Looking for a quick reality check here.

For grins I looked at the cost of a flight on American Airlines (teamed up with British Airways) for a flight from Washington DC to Johannesburg, South Africa. Figured that was about as far as I could ever imagine flying.

First Class fare (round trip) was over $18,000...booked a month and a half out. By contrast, "saver" type economy fares could get you round trip for around $1500. Either way it was about a 38-hour Odyssey via Heathrow.

I'm just wondering if they actually fill the First Class cabin with folks who can afford to pay $18K for a round-trip flight?

If so I can much better understand the importance of the premium cabins...that's where all the money is to be made.

And there are a lot more rich people than I thought LOL.
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Atlwest1
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:08 pm

Well there are several people and companies who regularly pay these fares for there staff of a certain level. remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population could afford to pay these fares. So if your good and can capture a fraction of that, then the spoils go to the victor.  
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FWAERJ
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:09 pm

A lot of those F pax are customers that normally fly J or Y redeeming frequent-flyer miles for upgrades. (At least that is the case in the US.)
"Did he really need the triple bypass? Or was it the miles?"
 
sxb
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:13 pm

Hedge Funds, oil companies...
And even if I agree with the fact that those prices are shocking, we kind of have to "thank" them for paying the full price as it allows the rest of us to fly in the back of the plane for a few hundred $.
SXB
 
cargolex
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:17 pm

Quote:
remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population could afford to pay these fares.

I think that number is WAAAAY high. $18,000 is considerably more than about half of the world's population make in a year. Even in industrialized countries, the vast majority of people do not make enough to afford an $18,000 plane ticket.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:19 pm

In addition to the very rich, you find a lot of corporate travelers from large companies upfront because their employer's travel budget is big enough to negotiate massive discounts on premium cabins, and/or get space-available upgrades to F from C as an added incentive for booking with them.

Governments around the world with less security concerns than, say the US, will use F as an alternative to a government plane as well.

Like everything else in life where the list price is high, there are people "in the know" who pay a lot less.
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LAXtoATL
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:30 pm

Quoting CharlieNoble (Thread starter):

I'm just wondering if they actually fill the First Class cabin with folks who can afford to pay $18K for a round-trip flight?

The simply answer is no. As others have mentioned F class is commonly filled with upgrades. When it is filled with paying passengers it is rarely done so at the published fare, but rather at a steep discount. Airlines have negotiated discounts with large corporations and premium travel agencies that are the ones that usually sell F class tickets. You rarely find someone go to an airline's website to purchase an international F class ticket.

[Edited 2011-01-10 08:31:31]
 
sw733
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:36 pm

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 1):
remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population

Census.gov has the current world population at 6,892,233...lets call it 6.9 billion to make it easier on me.

You're saying that between 690 million and 1.035 billion people can spend $18,000 on a plane ticket?

The average global GDP (PPP) as of 2010 is $10,500 per person...that is for an entire year. The idea of a billion people being able to spend $18,000 on one single plane ticket is a bit extreme.

You live in the USA, it's rich, but I doubt even 15% of the US population can afford that, let alone the world. There are some very, very, very, very poor people in Africa and Asia especially. For example, I am from Namibia, which is one of the more "well off" countries in Africa...in 2009, or GDP (PPP) per person was $6,614. Niger is $719...Sierra Leone is $759...
 
Charlienoble
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:39 pm

Thanks for the replies...makes sense to me.
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LondonCity
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:42 pm

Quoting CharlieNoble (Thread starter):
I'm just wondering if they actually fill the First Class cabin with folks who can afford to pay $18K for a round-trip flight?

Every market and country is different. F class fares may not be affordable on US domestic flights or some international services. But they can be more affordable for travellers who purchase wisely, eg by using an RTW ticket.

Then look at other regions of the world. For example, no airline in the Gulf area could afford not to offer F class because a good number of their citizens are very wealthy, eg there are several thousand members alone of the Saudi Royal Family.

Then look at status. There's a company hieracy in some Asian countries, eg for "face" reasons you wouldn't find the president of a large Japanese company flying anything else but F class.

The fact that major global carriers like AF, BA, LH, LX, CX, SQ, JL and NH are all retaining and improving F class means there is demand, albeit a limited one.
 
GolfBravoRomeo
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:52 pm

Also look at it this way, $18,000 is bargain compared to taking the Gulfstream G550 out of the hangar for just one person.
 
yegbey01
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:53 pm

Most companies allow its employees to fly in BUsiness class, AND ONLY IF Business is not available, then you will be allowed to go to First.

Having traveled extensively to Asia and Europe while working for my previous employer (based in Toronto at the time), I never flew in First as Business was always available.
 
Charlienoble
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:25 pm

Quoting GolfBravoRomeo (Reply 10):
Also look at it this way, $18,000 is bargain compared to taking the Gulfstream G550 out of the hangar for just one person.

Good point. I would love to have that kind of a problem though. As a gov't traveler it would be "Y" all the way for me...LOL
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PacNWjet
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:29 pm

On a related note, I frequently read the Trip Reports forum at airliners.net and it appears to me that there is a sizable group of a.netters who routinely fly First or Business on trips they seemingly are taking just for the fun of it. What I am missing that I find it nearly impossible to cash in frequent flier miles for upgrades? My family members also have grown increasingly frustrated not being able to use miles for upgrades. And yet it would appear to me that many a.netters do so with ease on trips that they are taking seemingly for kicks. What are the rest of us who can't seem to use miles for upgrades missing here?
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:33 pm

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 2):
A lot of those F pax are customers that normally fly J or Y redeeming frequent-flyer miles for upgrades.

If it was mostly that, they wouldn't have F. That's probably why many airlines have gotten rid of F.

RULE #1: Airlines do not develop entire programs and products to just give stuff away. Everything they do is to make revenue.

Ergo, they do not develop and maintain an entire F product just so that they can give it away to FF pax.
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LHRFlyer
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:33 pm

Many corporate clients allow their most senior executives to fly First Class. Also, many working in the entertainment industry (on both sides of the camera/microphone) are entitled to travel in First Class. Then there are (some, not all) high net worth individuals that are prepared to pay for it.

The market for paid First Class is a small one, but it is a very influential one.
 
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:35 pm

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 13):
What I am missing that I find it nearly impossible to cash in frequent flier miles for upgrades?

Some of these a.neters are airline employees or dependants, who are flying non-revenue space available (NRSA) on their own airline, rather than using FF miles. When my wife worked for AA, we would routinely fly FC to Europe or domestic.
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flymia
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:39 pm

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 1):
remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population could afford to pay these fares

That percentage is astronamicaly high! No where near that type of number.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 5):
corporate travelers from large companies upfront because their employer's travel budget is big enough to negotiate massive discounts on premium cabins,

This is one thing that fills a lot of the F cabin.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
If it was mostly that, they wouldn't have F. That's probably why many airlines have gotten rid of F.

RULE #1: Airlines do not develop entire programs and products to just give stuff away. Everything they do is to make revenue.

Ergo, they do not develop and maintain an entire F product just so that they can give it away to FF pax.

A large amount of people flying first class do not pay full F price. They either buy upgrades or use miles to upgrade or have free upgrades. The majority of people in First Class are frequent fliers. These frequent fliers are the ones who make the airlines their money. If they did not give them F upgrades etc.. Then they would not be frequent and would just fly what airline was cheapest etc.. That is why a buisness man in New York is going to pay $200 more to fly AA on JFK-LAX then go on B6. Of course they do make money with large companies etc... But one of the biggest reasons for First Class is to keep FF fliers on their airline.
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blueflyer
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:05 pm

Quoting yegbey01 (Reply 11):

Most companies allow its employees to fly in BUsiness class, AND ONLY IF Business is not available, then you will be allowed to go to First.

There are just as many companies that have a distance/time-based system. C is the company standard for road warriors expected to hit the ground running upon landing, except for flights over a certain amount of miles/hours. With my employer, the threshold between F and C is approximately 5,500 great circle miles, the exact number (in km) carefully calculated to mandate C for all trips between our US and European offices while still allowing F to Japan and Hong Kong from either the European or US offices (the greater irony is that our preferred North American carrier per company policy does not have a F cabin anyway).

Quoting flymia (Reply 17):
No where near that type of number.

According to Forbes, just in the US, a little less than 15% of the population is millionaire (and that includes the penny-shy-of-billionaire and first-million people). The percentage drops precipitously everywhere else in the world...

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 13):
What are the rest of us who can't seem to use miles for upgrades missing here?

I'm a regular joe (as in, don't work for an airline, don't get buddy passes, etc...) and I never have any problem using my miles even at the very last minute (read two hours before take-off). There are a few things to keep in mind, however:
-Some frequent flyer programs have better reward availability for their elite members;
-One has to keep one's expectations in check. I wouldn't even dream of trying to use miles to go warm up in Florida in the winter four weeks out;
-Being flexible with dates (easier to use miles Tu - Th) and routing (CDG might be out but BRU is only a two-hour car ride away and I need to rent a car anyway) makes a big difference;

It's going to sound bombastic, but with that in mind, I have a 100% redemption record since however far back I can think, be it upgrades (usually) or free seats (rarely).
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PlymSpotter
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:50 pm

Looking at some of the offerings for discounted tickets I could afford to fly F, but then I would be flying one return trip a year, maybe two or three if I sank to business class. Now I really don't see the point in that; I'm young and really don't care if I have to go out of my way to take a cheap economy routing. Maybe when I'm old and have a decent job I'll think more about the premium classes, but for now I'm happy to stretch my budget as far as possible.


Dan  
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Viscount724
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:13 pm

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 13):
On a related note, I frequently read the Trip Reports forum at airliners.net and it appears to me that there is a sizable group of a.netters who routinely fly First or Business on trips they seemingly are taking just for the fun of it. What I am missing that I find it nearly impossible to cash in frequent flier miles for upgrades?

Many are probably airline employees travelling nonrev (standby).
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:23 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 20):
Many are probably airline employees travelling nonrev (standby).

  

At least half are I would estimate.
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MD11Bob
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:10 am

Despite the general tenor in this thread seems being thatmost people do not pay the full F fare, I want to share you my experiences. I worked for a rather big German airline   in Miami, and almost every day we had people that came to the airport ticket counter, said something like "Dude, I need a seat on that flight" and threw bundles of dollars at us to pay the fare (usually between 5 to 10k) without even twitching with their eyelids. So there definiately are those people who pay it just for the comfort, and they come in masses. I was really impressed when I saw that for the first few times. But then again, maybe Miami is a special case with all those celebs living there.
 
flymia
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:22 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 18):
According to Forbes, just in the US, a little less than 15% of the population is millionaire (and that includes the penny-shy-of-billionaire and first-million people). The percentage drops precipitously everywhere else in the world...


Exactly and people who are in the lower millionaire numbers like net worth of 1-5 million cannot afford paying $10,000 or even $5,000 every time they fly unless they do not travel much.

Quoting MD11Bob (Reply 22):
I was really impressed when I saw that for the first few times. But then again, maybe Miami is a special case with all those celebs living there.

How long ago was this. 1980s? Late 90s.
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PlymSpotter
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:26 am

Quoting flymia (Reply 23):
Exactly and people who are in the lower millionaire numbers like net worth of 1-5 million cannot afford paying $10,000 or even $5,000 every time they fly unless they do not travel much.

I have to say they probably could. If you are a millionaire then it's pretty likely that you have enough yearly income to maintain a fairly lavish lifestyle and not be eroding your net worth. Unless you are one of those people who doesn't spend or enjoy what they've got and just keeps looking at the growing figure in their bank account. They need to be reminded that you can't take it with you.


Dan  
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jetblue777
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:47 am

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 1):
10-15%

I heard somewhere that if you have $15.00 on your pockets right now, you are among the Top 8% richest person in the world! A bit off topic, but something worth mentioning it.


My family can't afford First Class tickets such as $18K but we can afford Business Class, but it's not practical for us. We'd rather buy a discounted economy class ticket and spend the rest of our vacation money in a decent hotel, souvenirs, food and those stuff.

We use our miles to upgrade to F or J, but we wouldnt buy a full fare J or F ticket because it's not practical. Even if I get my own job and get a decent living, I wouldnt fly on J or F unless it's a discount (employee discount) or free.
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FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:07 am

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 1):
Well there are several people and companies who regularly pay these fares for there staff of a certain level. remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population could afford to pay these fares. So if your good and can capture a fraction of that, then the spoils go to the victor.

I doubt 10-15% of the US population can "afford" that First Class ticket, never mind the world population.


Quoting jetblue777 (Reply 25):
We use our miles to upgrade to F or J, but we wouldnt buy a full fare J or F ticket because it's not practical. Even if I get my own job and get a decent living, I wouldnt fly on J or F unless it's a discount (employee discount) or free.

That's the way to do it. Buy a qualifying fare and then use miles to upgrade to a premium cabin. I haven't done this yet since I haven't flown a route recently where I've had enough Skymiles and it's been worth it, but if I take a long trip in the new future, I will certainly consider it.

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 24):
I have to say they probably could. If you are a millionaire then it's pretty likely that you have enough yearly income to maintain a fairly lavish lifestyle and not be eroding your net worth. Unless you are one of those people who doesn't spend or enjoy what they've got and just keeps looking at the growing figure in their bank account. They need to be reminded that you can't take it with you.

Doesn't mean that premium cabin tickets are where they want to spend it. And when you start multiplying $18,000 times three, four, or more tickets if you're taking your family, it adds up quick. To us A.netters, flying to our destination is often our favorite and most anticipated part of a trip (in my case it usually is), so we'll put more of our resources into making the flight there and back enjoyable. We truly view flying to our destination as part of the trip. On the other hand, most people going on trips just view their flight there as getting them from A to B and would rather spend their money on luxuries at the destination.
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fbgdavidson
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:12 am

Quoting CharlieNoble (Thread starter):
'm just wondering if they actually fill the First Class cabin with folks who can afford to pay $18K for a round-trip flight?

The simple answer is yes, otherwise BA wouldn't operate an F cabin on that route and wouldn't offer that fare, even though not all passengers will pay top whack. Back in the early 2000s BA stripped F on a lot of routes that didn't have sufficient F demand.

I've flown the IAD route with BA quite a bit in F and they do make a pretty decent effort for F passengers even ; separate lounge, separate dining room etc. Demand is variable depending on what days and times of year I'm flying, as I'm flying for leisure it's usually off peak so the cabin isn't full but on other times it has been, even a couple of weeks out.

Quoting LAXtoATL (Reply 6):
The simply answer is no. As others have mentioned F class is commonly filled with upgrades. When it is filled with paying passengers it is rarely done so at the published fare, but rather at a steep discount.

A distinction needs to be made between different shorthaul and longhaul F here.

Whilst in the US you may find on many routes a small percentage of travelers pay for F that certainly isn't the case across the world. A few years ago I was doing a RTW trip with my wife and even three months out we were waitlisted for First on several flights, and we were paying passengers, not using miles or anything! I did manage to move some flights around and we got confirmed F on all flights.

On many longhaul routings there is still enough demand to warrant F fares of $15k+, particularly on routes involving oil, entertainment, financial services, premium leisure etc.

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 13):
On a related note, I frequently read the Trip Reports forum at airliners.net and it appears to me that there is a sizable group of a.netters who routinely fly First or Business on trips they seemingly are taking just for the fun of it. What I am missing that I find it nearly impossible to cash in frequent flier miles for upgrades? My family members also have grown increasingly frustrated not being able to use miles for upgrades. And yet it would appear to me that many a.netters do so with ease on trips that they are taking seemingly for kicks. What are the rest of us who can't seem to use miles for upgrades missing here?

Airliners.net is a micrcosm of the flying population as a whole. Whilst there are some employees here some reports come from those who upgrade, fly for work and others who do indeed pay the actual fare themselves.

Remember not all FFPs are born equal, some allow upgrades more easily than others.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
If it was mostly that, they wouldn't have F. That's probably why many airlines have gotten rid of F.

RULE #1: Airlines do not develop entire programs and products to just give stuff away. Everything they do is to make revenue.

Ergo, they do not develop and maintain an entire F product just so that they can give it away to FF pax.

But they could be losing money by gaining money. For some airlines, or more likely on some routes, F could be a loss leader in its own right because it attracts more people to business class who can then upgrade. As someone who pays for F and J fares myself I like the fact there's a higher cabin I can upgrade myself into if I'm flying J on a particular trip, I'm sure many FFs feel the same way. Having something a bit higher to aim for that doesn't involve the word Gulfstream  
Quoting blueflyer (Reply 18):
According to Forbes, just in the US, a little less than 15% of the population is millionaire (and that includes the penny-shy-of-billionaire and first-million people). The percentage drops precipitously everywhere else in the world...

But frankly a millionaire doesn't mean a whole lot anymore, it's not like in the 1960s when it was actually quite unusual, the title hasn't changed despite inflation catching up with it somewhat   Also don't forget that millionaire title probably includes assets like a home and I don't expect many people would be willing or looking to sell their homes to take a trip in F!
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blueflyer
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:16 am

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 27):
I've flown the IAD route with BA quite a bit in F

And if past experience is still true (and I suspect it is), the IAD route has to be one of the routes with the highest percentage of F pax being C pax on upgrade incentive corporate contracts. Back when it was still an option (of course), BA was offering a one-way Concorde upgrade to C pax of certain DC-based organizations.

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 27):
Having something a bit higher to aim for that doesn't involve the word Gulfstream

Not everyone looks forward to a trip on a Gulfstream. Our field engineers are among that group, 'cause it means you're leaving at an ungodly hour or for some ungodly destination where commercial flight isn't an option. Trust me, I've been there. Once the novelty effect had worn off, I would have traded a Gulfstream (or more often a Lear) at 3 am for a 737 at 9 am anytime.
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Aesma
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:32 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 18):
According to Forbes, just in the US, a little less than 15% of the population is millionaire (and that includes the penny-shy-of-billionaire and first-million people). The percentage drops precipitously everywhere else in the world...

Does that includes assets, like value of a business and house ? Because if it does, I have several millionaires in my family (and in €) and none of them fly first class. They don't fly much, mind you, they work ! One of them fly a decent amount to French territories around the world and some former colonies and the occasional vacation (recently to Ecuador) and it's all in Y, usually paid for by the client (he makes and sells heavy washing machines for hospitals and such).

One of them I would really call a millionaire (5-8 millions € AFAIK), and he might have flown first once in a while in the past, I will ask him. He flew Concorde once, but that was the prize of a contest ! For his business flying (and pleasure flying), he had bought his own plane, a Beech Bonanza. If you fly in Europe there isn't any first class anyway...

If you're a lawyer or salesperson for a big international company, things are different, but it doesn't actually mean you would buy the ticket out of your own pocket. Fact is, even when you'll be going on vacation, you'll probably use your miles paid for by the company.
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Superfly
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:50 am

To answer your question, yes.
$18,000?
No way!
I doubt anyone is paying that either.

Quoting LAXtoATL (Reply 6):
You rarely find someone go to an airline's website to purchase an international F class ticket.


True.
The only time I bought a first-class ticket via website was for Virgin America and it was for a short SFO-LAX flight. It was also a pro-fare.
All the other first-class and business class tickets I've purchased on Singapore, Thai Airways, United and Cathay Pacific were through travel agencies or standby/upgrades.
Some prices were surprisingly low.
Bring back the Concorde
 
blueflyer
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:49 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 29):
Does that includes assets, like value of a business and house ? Because if it does, I have several millionaires in my family (and in €) and none of them fly first class.

Yes, it does include assets. That is why, as others have pointed out already, being a millionaire isn't all that it's cracked up to be anymore, especially for people at the low-end, single-digit range of millionaires.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
TravelR
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:25 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 5):
In addition to the very rich, you find a lot of corporate travelers from large companies upfront because their employer's travel budget is big enough to negotiate massive discounts on premium cabins, and/or get space-available upgrades to F from C as an added incentive for booking with them.

I would totally agree with this statement. There are a lot of corporate travellers out there who spend the company money like there's no tomorrow and can travel in first (or choose a extremely high priced fare because they want their frequent flyer points) because thy earn the company a lot more money than the ticket. Others may be high level management who get to travel first because the policy allows them to. Most time first class is purchased at a discount as most largish companies have corporate deals with the big airlines all trying to get a piece of their business.
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Charlienoble
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:16 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 23):
Quoting MD11Bob (Reply 22):
I was really impressed when I saw that for the first few times. But then again, maybe Miami is a special case with all those celebs living there.

How long ago was this. 1980s? Late 90s.

Cocaine.


Seriously though I have a new appreciation for "F"...I recall bristling at the thought of F pax being mad about steerage rats (like me) using their lavatory, having special lounges etc.; but if I'd paid even half of 18K to fly somewhere I'd expect them to carrry me through the airport on one of those Cleopatra beds...
"When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True Story."- Barney Stinson
 
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fxramper
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:47 pm

I'm a lifetime Platinum at AA, so how it's done for myself and other business travelers is our company pays for a full fare coach ticket and we get upgraded. The percentage of someone off the street with zero history of award travel buying a full fare F class ticket is less than 5%.   
 
Quokka
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:02 pm

Quoting CharlieNoble (Reply 33):
I'd expect them to carry me through the airport on one of those Cleopatra beds...


I wish. They don't even do that on middle east airlines although you might get a private limo to take you to the aircraft at a remote stand. They also let you have some dates and coffee prior to take off. Oh , and the Hennessy Paradis is very nice, but at $600 a bottle (including taxes) it's not something I'd drink every day.

I expect some routes will see more F pax than others, but on some flights between PER and DXB I have felt pretty lonely as no-one else was in the first class cabin. Maybe it was just the times that I was flying because crew have assured me that there are usually more people present.

Can I afford to fly F on a regular basis? Maybe once, at a stretch, twice a year, but I have been able to book in J and upgrade using miles and have even been lucky to have received a free upgrade.
 
DesertAir
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:22 pm

I fly WN every month between SAN and SMF. I fly from Tijuana to Hermosillo, MX and to Guadalajara, MX usually on Volaris-all coach seating. Once a year, I fly F for vacation. It adds to my vacation experience. I don't have to worry about overhead bin space; I enjoy the food and drinks on the flights. I have flown on AA to Quito, Ecuador and this coming year to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I flew CO to Managua, Nicaragua last summer. I save my money and buy early. It is a pleasure I look forward to each summer.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:10 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 17):

A large amount of people flying first class do not pay full F price. They either buy upgrades or use miles to upgrade or have free upgrades. The majority of people in First Class are frequent fliers. These frequent fliers are the ones who make the airlines their money. If they did not give them F upgrades etc..

If F-class did not pay for itself, they would not have it. It would not pay for itself if all or even the vast majority of the passengers were upgrades.

Now, I can't imagine that it costs 18x as much to transport an F pax as it does an economy pax. So obviously those prices are to subsidize the "give-aways." But they must be able to sell enough tickets to make money or it would not be there.

This is why F is only available on some routes and many airlines have done away with it completely. But there are certain areas of the world with outrageously wealthy people who would *never* dream of traveling anything less than F. To do so would be an affront. The Mid-East, SE Asia, and Indian subcontinent are all loaded with such customers.
-Doc Lightning-

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blueflyer
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:07 pm

Quoting Quokka (Reply 35):
They don't even do that on middle east airlines although you might get a private limo to take you to the aircraft at a remote stand.

You don't need the Middle East, there are other airlines that will drive passengers to the gate even, not just a remote stand. Of course, there are also several airlines that will also pick you up at your home/hotel and drive you to the airport if you fly F.

Quoting fxramper (Reply 34):
how it's done for myself and other business travelers is our company pays for a full fare coach ticket and we get upgraded.

Is it an exclusive contract or can other airlines be used? I'm only curious because I'm on the employee corporate travel committee (we don't negotiate contracts, we supposedly express the opinion of employees on the existing contracts and their wishes) and I'm always trying to see what other companies get, but usually it falls under an NDA, as ours do.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
MD11Bob
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:27 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 23):
How long ago was this. 1980s? Late 90s.

Two years ago  
 
Viscount724
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:05 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
If F-class did not pay for itself, they would not have it.

There are quite a few government-owned carriers for which profitability is a low priority (or not at all) and F class is no doubt maintained because their government officials want it.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:08 am

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 27):
I've flown the IAD route with BA quite a bit in F

Just curious how you justify the several thousand additional $$ for F class on a flight that often isn't even 7 hours long? With today's J class standards I can't see the value for money. I would much rather have those several thousand $$ to spend at my destination.
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Who Can Afford To Fly F?

Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:08 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 28):
And if past experience is still true (and I suspect it is), the IAD route has to be one of the routes with the highest percentage of F pax being C pax on upgrade incentive corporate contracts.

Perhaps, but I doubt whether that is different for many routes and most likely only applies to a handful of passengers, otherwise F would be rammed full on every flight and it isn't.

The other factor with IAD is the diplomatic traffic. I've lost count of the number of West African, Middle Eastern and Indian subcontinent ministers and the like I've flown with on this route that have been met with cars at the gates, either at LHR or IAD.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 28):
Not everyone looks forward to a trip on a Gulfstream. Our field engineers are among that group, 'cause it means you're leaving at an ungodly hour or for some ungodly destination where commercial flight isn't an option. Trust me, I've been there. Once the novelty effect had worn off, I would have traded a Gulfstream (or more often a Lear) at 3 am for a 737 at 9 am anytime.

Well, if you're in control of your own budget you can make the G-V depart whenever you like  
Quoting fxramper (Reply 34):
The percentage of someone off the street with zero history of award travel buying a full fare F class ticket is less than 5%.   

Route and airline dependent of course.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 38):
Of course, there are also several airlines that will also pick you up at your home/hotel and drive you to the airport if you fly F.

...and even in J (VS and EK spring to mind here)

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 41):
Just curious how you justify the several thousand additional $$ for F class on a flight that often isn't even 7 hours long? With today's J class standards I can't see the value for money. I would much rather have those several thousand $$ to spend at my destination.

Eh, well although I've done the IAD route many times in F I've actually only paid outright cash for F the once. It was a short notice trip and the Club World fare was into the five figure range and the cheapest First fare only a couple of thousand dollars more and based on several factors I could justify the difference. I don't usually pay into the five figure range for Club World....the rest of the time in F it's either been using miles to upgrade from J, beneficiary of op-upgrade, or using miles outright.
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