rhw
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How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Class?

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:14 pm

Hello everyone,

I read a few topics concerning the question what classes users fly and how often they fly.
Reading those topics/polls it seems that many users here fly business/first class on a regular bases.

I'm an average middle-class guy and almost always fly economy.
So my question is: How do you afford it?

Reading that often users fly business/first class many times a year including international routes and considering that regular prices for such tickets are in the range of 3000-5000USD ( sometimes up to 10 000USD) i wonder how they ( you ) afford it.
After all the resulting sum often is what an average person earns in a year.

I learned that often people in business/first class are people who either collected miles in various frequent-flyer programs and used them to 'upgrade' to higher classes or are related to employees of an airline and therefore get to travel in higher classes for free.
But other than that it seems to me that only high net worth individuals are able to afford this kind of lifestyle.

So is it just that most users in this forum are said frequent-flyers or family members of airline employees or are they simply rich?

I'm looking forward to hearing from you,
Regards,

rhw
 
Cush
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:21 pm

I can tell you this much. I am not a millionaire or anything close to being considered wealthy, but i fly first class once a year on US. This is due to either my leftover FF miles or family members leftover FF miles. I only actually "paid" for the First Class cabin once and that was because the fare was only $200 more, so why not?

If I had to take a guess, I would say 60% of the members here use FF miles or status, 35% are airline employees that get upgraded prior to departure, 5% actually pay for it or their company pays for it.
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carbon787
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:26 pm

Well, we buy long haul business class as we are fortunate enough to be able to do so, sometimes we upgrade to first as well. We never bother when flying within the US or even sometimes across the Atlantic, but flying to Asia/Australia via the Pacific, always.
 
citationjet
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:28 pm

My company pays for business class when I travel to India and Asia. Europe has now gone to Economy class from the US. I have never paid for Business or First Class. In the past I have traveled it with FF miles or as an airline employee non-rev.
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sw733
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:30 pm

I usually only fly Biz class when I am on company trips. It's our company policy that anything international get business class (and every once in a while my status can get me up to First). However, due to my FF status, I can often get upgrades on personal trips too, from Economy to Biz. I have never, however, paid for anything above Economy out of my own pocket.
 
Someone83
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:30 pm

Discounted business tickets. Flew LH MUC-HKG-FRA last year for about €1.700 and also using frequent flyer miles for upgrades
 
EasternSon
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:30 pm

I travel a good bit for work - roughly 50 flights or so a year - and when I sit in First it's because I've gotten upgraded based on Elite status.

However, if I were to travel on a flight that was more than 6 hours long, to Asia or the South Pacific, our company policy is to buy either a Business or First ticket.

Sadly, I haven't gotten to take advantage of this perk yet, but I hope to remedy that before year's end.
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cnz3
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:33 pm

I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but it varies from trip to trip.

I am a family member of an airline employee, but that works only for specific routes transatlantic and its on standby so I rarely use this method.

I do use miles from time to time to upgrade, or just straight out buy business class tickets using miles. Hey, if you get them from your paid flights why not use them?

For any flight for business purposes (i.e. expensed to the company) longer than 4 hours, so transcon here in North America or International flights, it is MANDATORY that I fly business class.

Lastly, my income is such that it does allow me to purchase business class occasionally as well, like an upcoming trip on Delta's 764 to LHR.

Honestly, because I am a large man - 6'4" 300 lbs - business class is really the minimum spec to travel on long haul flights, so I make myself afford it.

*Edited for spelling

[Edited 2011-04-28 06:35:37]
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sandyb123
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:44 pm

I fly with EK about twice a year and have become a gold Skywards member based on this relatively light schedule.

EK suits me as I fly east and south from GLA for business (and some pleasure) and the free chauffeur transfer service picks me up in Edinburgh, saving time and money.

With miles I am able to upgrade (Just upgraded from J to F for a forthcoming flight DXB - JNB) and the company I own pays for J flights (which is then a taxable expense). EK also gave me two free 5-star layover nights in Dubai which just sweetens the deal even more as I am eyeing the UAE as a potential market for my company.

So, good FF rewards coupled with good benefits and world-leading cabins keep my loyal... and spending  

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drerx7
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:48 pm

Yea, very few people pay out of pocket for first class. Me personally, I only fly first when its an affordable upgrade.
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brightcedars
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:00 pm

Out of 300+ in my 36-year history so far, I've flown about 10% in Business or First. Never have I paid for that privilege.

I've been upgraded to Business quite a few times and the others I used miles to get straight out Business tickets or to upgrade Economy ones. Once I was upgraded from Economy to First, on CX!

My household (2 adults and 2 kids) has reasonable income in the higher bracket of middle class, and we have an annual budget for air travel in excess of 5-6K€; including our shuttle between BRU and BEY where my wife originates from. I would never consider buying Business tickets unless the difference is benign for a last minute urgent requirement as I'd rather enjoy travelling a bit more for the money!

Tips for upgrades: dress well (it's not not difficult to casually stand out nowadays) and travel alone on long haul flights or shorter flights far away from home.
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joe777
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:04 pm

I have flown Business on GF, BA, SV, and EK.. And none of them were fully paid tickets!

Some were upgrade using miles, and others were upgrades due to having a check-in supervisor as a friend, or upgrade due to overbooking in Economy.

However, living for quite some time in the Middle East, there is quite a demand for Business class, as it is the "preferred" or "standard" class for flying for middle to high class families.


Cheers,
Joe   
 
SPREE34
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:22 pm

AirTran has made it easier. Most of the time I can fly Business Class on them for 2/3 to 3/4 the cost on DL, US, CO, etc.Too bad Southwest won't carry on the service.

I have FF on BA, so can buy a coach plus type fare, and upgrade to first of first plus. (BA has 4 cabins, 2 first type products)

For others trips, I save specifically for it. A few les meals out etc. I flew to Australia recently in first, and it was around $6,000. The folks I went with all planned the trip 2 years out, and had it all payed for before we went.

I use it regularly, but will use coach on a short leg like, CLT-ATL or GSO-ATL.
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vhtje
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:24 pm

We fly to SYD (from LON) annually and we pay. The best value to SYD I think is AY - usually £1,000 cheaper per person than QF or BA and you get interesting routings and interesting aircraft. That £2,000 saving is a lot of spending money in Sydney. The extra two hours the flight takes is a small price to pay, I think.

Other holidays we look for specials. For instance, we went to Istanbul in March for a long weekend on BA in Club Europe. It was a special package deal they were running - the hotel and flight was no more expensive than a return full Economy fare.

Business trips - its a mix. Our company policy is the cheapest flexible economy fare, which these days means full whack economy. I get that quote, then get a quote for a discounted business class seat, which is usually only a few hundred pounds more expensive than the full economy fare. I then book the business class seat and pay the difference between the two quotes from my own pocket.

The risk I am taking is if my plans suddenly change and I have to change my flight, I am potentially liable for a big fare increase, or having to forfeit my existing ticket and pay for a whole new ticket. However, in practice this has not been an issue - despite what the ticket says, when I call the Frequent Flyer hotline they usually change the ticket without quibble (I think it is a status thing).

I once booked a flight from LCY to Basel on SWISS and the Business Class ticket was cheaper than the Economy ticket. I was the only person in buisness (no, it made no sense to me, either). Jolly good flight, too.

I have only every managed to get an upgrade on points once. I had to fly from LHR to CNS urgently (within 24 hours of booking) and could not get a business class seat, so I opted for Premium Economy. I suffered Premium Economy out there, but managed to get an upgrade on the return flight. I like the idea of using points to upgrade as it seems a cheap way into a business class seat but I can never get it to work for me.
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B777LRF
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:28 pm

Though they not be present here, there is a relatively large number of individuals and families who's net worth makes paying for C class travel no more financially constraining than an "average" family paying for Y class. There is a somewhat smaller group of people, but still a sizeable one, who don't really care about the costs and travel F because they can - keep in mind, I'm talking about individuals paying their own fare, not company paid travel. The last group of people have very many faces you might recognise from the entertainment world (including sports), but there is a fast growing market in the BRIC countries, China especially, as well as the middle east. China is growing more than it perhaps "should", due to the difficulties owning and operating private jets in that country. Hence, high net-worth individuals are "forced" to travel F class.
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N766UA
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:32 pm

I used to fly First and Business all the time when I worked for the airlines and could non-rev. Since I left, though, I've only been in F twice: once paying for an upgrade, and once using FF points for reward travel. I'd never even think of paying for an F/J ticket for a flight under, say, 6 or 7 hours.

I use UA's Economy Plus and JetBlue as often as possible, though. I need my legroom!
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pdxtriple7
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:37 pm

I've only paid for First once on a multi-leg domestic trip (PDX-LAX on AS continuing in Coach on DL LAX-ATL-RDU). Domestically, I had Silver and Gold Status on DL that helped me secure ocassional upgrades. I've also booked domestic trips with miles in First Class.

Internationally, I flew First/Business standby when I worked for an airline. With my current company, it's stardard policy to purchase Business for a flight over 6 hours.

For the foreseeable future, I'll only fly First/Business using miles, upgrades, or when my company foots the bill. I'll now use my miles only for transoceanic upgrades. It's hard to go back to Coach for transoceanic flights once you've experienced First/Business. Domestically, it's a waste unless the mileage difference is very little.
 
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:44 pm

First thing i would say is that there are an awful lot of 13-16 year old kids on here who are gold or platinum level million miler frequent flyers, all of whom have very strong opinions on whose business and first class seats are better etc.   Generally these people are very easy to spot.

Generally, i'd say half the people who say they fly C and F a lot on here are lying. Of the half that arent, all but a small fraction do so on airline non-rev tickets or FF miles.

There are very few people indeed on here who fly C and F off their own money out of their own pockets. Some do, but most do not pay for it. There are a lot of very wealthy people who do around the world, but not many of them are members of airliners.net.
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sandyb123
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:04 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 17):
There are very few people indeed on here who fly C and F off their own money out of their own pockets. Some do, but most do not pay for it. There are a lot of very wealthy people who do around the world, but not many of them are members of airliners.net.
Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 17):
Generally, i'd say half the people who say they fly C and F a lot on here are lying. Of the half that arent, all but a small fraction do so on airline non-rev tickets or FF miles.

Do you have some sort of insight as to the demographic of the average a.netter? Quite a critical, unsubstantiated statement IMO.

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ozglobal
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:33 pm

Quoting Drerx7 (Reply 9):
Yea, very few people pay out of pocket for first class. Me personally, I only fly first when its an affordable upgrade.

I assume you mean on domestic US flights, where 'business' is referred to as "First Class". On long haul, I can assure you a lot of people do pay or there would be no interest for airlines to have an F cabin.

For me, it a question of priorities vs my means. The vacation enjoyment is SO much greater, and the useful time at both ends of the journey, in J or F on long haul that I pay for it and allocate more of my disposible income to travel by far than most people probably do. I still make sure I get the very best deals on my alliance and also save for the my 'golden years'   I use my points to fly my dad out to Europe from Oz in J once a year....
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747m8te
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:34 pm

When I have flown international in business class, it is my employer who has provided that for me   But for my own travel, I pay for economy on international flights, and I apply for upgrade on my economy ticket, on my trip BNE-LAX last month I got put into Premium Economy atleast which was nice, and no points needed to be used yey!   My next trip to LAX I should have enough points for business class  

Domestically for my own travel i'm usually happy with economy, though if I can manage an upgrade I do enjoy business lol

But personally, my number one seat of choice on the plane is not in the F J or Y cabins...rather the jumpseat!  
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blueflyer
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:18 pm

If you're very flexible, plan well ahead, and don't mind restrictions akin to a coach class ticket, you can get TATL premium tickets for closer to $2,000 than $3,000. Obviously, as the economy improves, these tickets will be harder and harder to come by, but they still do exist.

Beyond that, I fly a lot for work, most of it in C as it's seen as being more productive by my employer (and why would I disagree), so on personal trips, I can get status upgrades or mileage upgrades. Two airlines that my employer has contracts with will also give employees on personal trips space-available upgrades provided we book a specific coach class fare through our corporate travel agent.

Two weeks ago, I did fly a sector in C on my personal dime because it was a last-minute booking, Y was full and the cost of C was not much more than a Y seat at a far less convenient time, but other than that, you'd have to go back pretty far to find me in C at my expense.
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HELyes
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Flying in Business Class is a rare treat for me, never been in First. Just counted I have flown totally nine legs in Business Class, mostly on Asia-Europe or in Asia. In most times I have used Finnair Plus miles for upgrades, goes very smoothly with them.

When AY MD-11 flew BKK-HKG route their Business tickets were often very cheap. They are several similar short hops in Asia, like Emirates A380 on BKK-HKG and Qatar A330 on HKT-KUL, affordable ways to taste Business Class on some top carriers.

My last Business cabin experience was a special one. Last winter AY used their new A333 on some long charter routes and I got a chance to taste their new full flat Business seat on a 6h flight HEL-LPA. The Business seat cost only EUR 50 extra o/w.

Trip report: Full Flat Comfort On Holiday Charter: Finnair A333 (by HELyes Apr 20 2011 in Trip Reports)

Quoting vhtje (Reply 13):
We fly to SYD (from LON) annually and we pay. The best value to SYD I think is AY - usually £1,000 cheaper per person than QF or BA and you get interesting routings and interesting aircraft. That £2,000 saving is a lot of spending money in Sydney. The extra two hours the flight takes is a small price to pay, I think.

AY is returning to SIN in the end of May, daily non stop this time. That will provide more Europe-Australia connections, it looks AY have got their own slice of that market, especially with their lower Business fares.
 
carbon787
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:25 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 17):
Generally, i'd say half the people who say they fly C and F a lot on here are lying. Of the half that arent, all but a small fraction do so on airline non-rev tickets or FF miles.

There are very few people indeed on here who fly C and F off their own money out of their own pockets. Some do, but most do not pay for it. There are a lot of very wealthy people who do around the world, but not many of them are members of airliners.net.

Quite an opinionated statement isn't it?
Just because you may not be able to pay for C or F out of your own pocket, does not mean that others are in the same position.
You'd be surprised the kind of deals you can get for C if you just spend a bit of time researching!
We have never paid full fares for C and never will!
 
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legacyins
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:45 pm

Quoting carbon787 (Reply 23):
You'd be surprised the kind of deals you can get for C if you just spend a bit of time researching!
We have never paid full fares for C and never will!



  

I have been flying to China for the past 10 years on average ~3 times per year. I have been using the same travel agent all this time and she finds me the best deals in C class. I have never paid full price or even close for a C class ticket. On average, it is 3 x Y class fares.
 
citationjet
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:24 pm

Quoting legacyins (Reply 24):
I have been using the same travel agent all this time and she finds me the best deals in C class

I agree, knowing a good travel agent is a benefit. My wife owns a corporate incentive travel company...
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:01 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 17):
First thing i would say is that there are an awful lot of 13-16 year old kids on here who are gold or platinum level million miler frequent flyers, all of whom have very strong opinions on whose business and first class seats are better etc.

That is one of the wonders of the internet. Spot, pity, ignore. My own opinion of course, but sometimes it sticks out like a sore thumb.

I personally have only paid for premium classes a few times - I generally don't see the point considering my circumstances. I can either take one or two trips a year in C, or I can take fifteen or twenty trips by really economising and being creative with my routings. I'm 24 and want to see as much of the world as possible, as soon as possible, because I find it an enriching and creative multiplier for my studies. When I'm older and have a job I'll be limited in my travel by time off, so then I will consider paying more for a premium experience.


Dan  
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Viscount724
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:54 pm

When I worked for an airline I travelled a lot on business, usually about 6 or 7 Canada-Europe trips a year, and less frequently to other parts of the world (Asia, South Pacific, South America). The airline I worked for (CP Air/Canadian Airlines) was originally very restrictive on employees travelling in F (and later J when it was introduced and eventually replaced F). That was especially true of CP Air which had very high inflight service standards (even Y class meals were better than what you get on most J class flights today). They felt that revenue passengers should receive the benefit of an empty seat next to them, and I actually agreed with that policy. Only senior executives were entitled to premium class seats even on a standby basis. Originally, when travelling for pleasure, that even applied if Y class was full. You could be left behind if Y was full but there were empty seats in F. Later the policy was liberalized to permit upgrades to lower-level staff but only when Y was full.

When flying on business I usually requested several backup non-rev tickets on other carriers that I knew were much more liberal with upgrades, normally on a standby basis but premium cabins were rarely full in those days. I must have flown Pan Am about 50 times in the '70s and '80s (mostly SEA-LHR-SEA) and at least 90% were in F (a few in J after it was introduced and only a couple in Y when F/J were full). Most other carriers were also generous with upgrades to other carrier's staff when flying on business. On some carriers (especially US carriers) it often seemed like most passengers in F class were non-rev employees. It was always a big letdown on the relatively few occasions when I did wind up in Y class on a longhaul flight. You can become very demanding when you're flying free.  

I also liked trying other carriers even if it meant some roundabout routings. I remember flying YVR-LAX-DFW-LGW-GVA once to try AA's then new US-Europe service, soon after Braniff went bust and AA replaced BN on the DFW-LGW route. The same AA DC-10-30 then operated LAX-DFW-LGW. And, yes, I was upgraded to F. And some years later I flew YVR-ORD-EWR on UA with a connection on LH EWR-FRA-GVA on LH, just to try the A340 for the first time. That was very soon after LH put their original A340-200s (long retired) into service. I think EWR-FRA was one of the first LH A340 routes. That flight was in J but I'm sure the YVR-ORD-EWR flights on UA were in F.

After 25 years with CP I moved to another job in GVA (in the aviation industry), and my employer's policy was to permit business class travel, originally on all routes but later only on flights over 4 hours.

It should also be noted that many companies have corporate travel deals with major carriers based on their volume of business. Fares under those arrangements are usually much lower, possibly by 50% or so, compared to the full published fares. I remember when it was common for US carriers, whose premium class products were often considered uncompetitive with many of their non-US competitors, to offer corporate deals where you would pay the full Y fare but be booked in J, or pay the J fare and be booked in F. I expect those types of deals are still fairly common on many highly competitive routes.

Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 8):
So, good FF rewards coupled with good benefits and world-leading cabins keep my loyal... and spending

Do you consider EK's 7-abreast A330-200 and A340-300 J class cabins "world class"? I can't think of any other major airline with a 2-3-2 J configuration on the A330/340. And their (or any other carriers' ) 10-abreast 777s certainly aren't world class. I consider EK the world's most over-rated airline.
 
BD338
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:49 am

I've flown business class on a few occassions out of my 50 or so trips across the atlantic but only when:

1) A good fare sale and snagged for under $2500
2) A miles and cash promotion on NW.
3) A free upgrade on BA when Y+ which I booked was oversold. (probably my best flight ever)
4) Took the $500 upgrade at the airport on US a couple of times.

I looked at C class for a LAX-SYD trip last year and the discount price was $9000! So I sat in Y for 14 hours  

I'm glad more airlines are offering Y+, C is usually out of my range but I am fortunate to able to splurge a little extra on Y+.

USA domestic first class only with a FF upgrade.
 
initious
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:05 am

Quoting rhw (Thread starter):
I'm an average middle-class guy and almost always fly economy.

Like you, I am also an average middle class guy. My very first Business Class flight was last June on TG from SIN-BKK-PVG and return. The reason for choosing TG's Business is that I have been wanting to fly in Business for a while and SQ is way too expensive (like usual) so I turned to TG which charges me only S$1500 compared to SQ's S$3400. Yes, compare the difference. Moreover, SQ is using their old ultimo recliner seats on this sector.

My second time was just last month SIN-BKK-DXB-BKK-SIN on TG again. The price was justifiable. SIN-DXB/AUH on SQ was at least S$1200 for flex tickets that lets you accumulate mileage but TG sells their full fare Business Class tickets at just S$1800 so that was a sure-go for me.

I also flown in First Class last month, on EK's A380 from BKK-HKG. Prices for BKK-HKG and HKG-BKK was S$922 for First outbound and Business inbound. As I had bonus miles from my first flight, I upgraded myself to First Class on my HKG-BKK flight.

That pretty much sums up how I get to fly First and Business. I have an SQ flight CAN-SIN booked on their A330 Business Class next month, taking advantage of their 50% mileage redemption offer. I got all those mileage from flying on TG..  
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joffie
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:19 am

The thing people dont realise is, you can get cheap fares from different cities. For example, Istanbul is dirt cheap compared to Frankfurt or anywhere else. You can also get TK/MH J class for $1300 from JFK-IST-KUL

KL is cheaper to fly from than Singapore. It was mentioned that it was around half the price to fly KUL-SIN-LAX then from SIN-LAX, so you need to look around.

Also, pays to shop. A couple of years ago China Airlines was offering Australia to Europe return for $2500 in J class. QF did have some cheap $3000 one way from MEL-LAX last year, compared to their usual $5000 for one way.
 
rhw
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:29 am

As i am a student ( intern currently ) and don't work with a big company yet, i probably forgot to mention the third 'category'; business travelers.
However it seems to me that more and more companies try to save money by only paying for economy.
I wonder if it is only the big 'global players' who pay for the higher classes for their employees?

Thank you for many interesting answers so far.

-rhw
 
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Coal
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:24 am

80% of the time I travel business class is on company business. Our travel policy is that flights over 3 hours gets you in business class (this also applies to two or more legs shorter than 3 hours but that combined add up to 3 hours or above). Funny enough in China most of the flights we take are under two hours but 99% of the time we get upgraded for free to first class (equivalent of first class in the US). This is not due to status as I do not even participate in the FF program of said airline (MU).

19% of time I would upgrade with miles. I used to fly back home (Florida) 2x per year and my company paid for one return Y ticket, so I would use my miles to upgrade to business class. Then I realized I prefer to use my miles to book flights rather than upgrade. This is easy once you get used to 25 - 30 hours in Y (easier if done on SQ).

1% (or less) I bought a business class ticket. I once booked LX SIN - BKK - SIN and the business class fare was the same as the economy fare (???), so I of course booked business. I was then going on to CNX and I saw TG had very cheap business class fares (about $100 more than Y) so I pampered myself and booked business class.

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN
 
signol
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:33 am

I haven't. One day maybe, but now, it's not worth it to me. I'd rather take my family on 2 or 3 trips in a year rather than 1 in business. Slowly saving up my Flying Blue miles, about 1/2 way to a C class transatlantic...
Our company is the same as many - no business travel. Flights to be on LCC (Easyjet and Ryanair - we are based near to Stansted) if possible, legacy Y if not.
I've taken 1st class on trains before, usually when the upgrade is on special, and sometimes when, thanks to yield management algorithms, the 1st class is actually cheaper than standard class for pre-booked tickets!

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
Quokka
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:35 am

I have booked in Y and when I had enough used miles to upgrade to J, and I have also received complimentary upgrades without asking. Most of my earlier travel was in Y, but I arrived at a point where I can afford to buy a premium seat when I travel.

I prefer to try and upgrade as the original fare purchased remains a revenue flight and continues to attract miles, while reward flights don't. My last flight to MAD and back was booked in J but I was able to upgrade to F using miles .

As others have pointed out, it is sometimes possible to obtain really cheap business class fares by shopping around. I have been amazed at some of the prices that come up, especially when some are cheaper that the fares quoted for economy. I am sure the airlines make up the pricing by chucking a dart at wall chart.  
 
srbmod
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:52 pm

Quoting Drerx7 (Reply 9):
Yea, very few people pay out of pocket for first class.

Several years ago, I actually bought a First Class ticket on DL because I had decided to splurge on one. I managed to get a RT ATL-LAS-ATL on Delta for under $900. I keep saying I'm going to do it again, but I'm having trouble making the justification to spend $1100 RT on a Domestic First Class ticket.

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 12):
AirTran has made it easier. Most of the time I can fly Business Class on them for 2/3 to 3/4 the cost on DL, US, CO, etc.Too bad Southwest won't carry on the service.

AirTran's Business Class price is what steered me over to Delta. For the above trip, I was originally going to fly AirTran up in Business Class (at the time, they were my airline of choice) and decided after checking the fare on FL, to see what DL was charging. The fares were the same exact fare, and since I had previously experienced the front cabin on both airlines from my days in the industry, I went with DL since I got more for my money. This was back in 2007, and I've stayed with DL ever since.

One of these days I'll have enough SkyMiles saved up to get an award ticket up front. That's probably the only I way I'll be sitting up front anytime soon......
 
jetblue777
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:33 pm

Quoting joffie (Reply 30):
The thing people dont realise is, you can get cheap fares from different cities. For example, Istanbul is dirt cheap compared to Frankfurt or anywhere else. You can also get TK/MH J class for $1300 from JFK-IST-KUL

Back in 2007 when QR was still in EWR, they offered a $1100 fare from MNL-DOH-EWR, only a couple of hundred higher than economy class.
It's a cultural thing.
 
AirCanada787
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:55 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 26):
I'm 24 and want to see as much of the world as possible, as soon as possible, because I find it an enriching and creative multiplier for my studies. When I'm older and have a job I'll be limited in my travel by time off, so then I will consider paying more for a premium experience.

I full agree with that statement, I am 24 as well and all of the trips I have paid for have been in economy. I look at it this way, why would I spend so much more money for an experience that is really only a few hours long? Currently I would rather take the money and use it for experiences at my destination. Last year I was seriously temped to upgrade when I was flying back from NYC because the price wasn't much difference but I didn't. I do however realize that travelling in business or in first is an experience in itself and would love to be upgraded but for my current time in life (as a student) its not worth paying more for business to get to the same destination.
The mind, like a parachute, functions only when open.
 
rhw
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:13 am

PlymSpotter, AirCanada787, I agree.
Also 24 and - as mentioned - student with limited budget.
I recently planned a 2 week trip to the states.
2 weeks on the westcoast, a roadtrip from los angeles up to vancouver and back.

I could have spent around 5000USD for a business/first class ticket. However i rather decided to save the money and use it for a rental car, hotels, tours and other expenses to get the most out of my trip.

I suppose it is what ( most ) younger people do.
However i dream about flying in the higher classes one day of course  .

Regards,
- rhw
 
canoecarrier
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:09 am

Quoting rhw (Reply 31):
I wonder if it is only the big 'global players' who pay for the higher classes for their employees?

I can't speak for all of them, because I don't work for a "global player" but in consulting if you're on a long flight sometimes it's worth it to the client to have you well rested and alert when you arrive because you flew in Business Class or F instead of tired and cranky because you got stuck in a middle seat in economy for 10 hours.

I've paid for Y once. I bought a ticket in late November to fly over Christmas with my wife to see her family. One little known fact is that sometimes Travelocity and Expedia will pick F if the fair is better than a full fare coach seat. She purchased her seats first and got 5 out of the 6 segments F for around $800 RT from Seattle to ALB, so I bought right away and got the same fare, same seats. At the time that was the going full fare coach price and we didn't mind flying ALB-DTW-MSP-SEA on the return. Plus, you don't (or didn't) have to pay baggage fees for the first 2 bags if you flew F so it was a wash. That was great, except DL lost three of our bags with all of our Christmas presents and most of my clothes for 5 days on the way out.

Only other times I've flown first, were the occasional upgrades on Alaska when I was MVP and a few times when I was a NR all domestic flights.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
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shamrock604
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sun May 01, 2011 1:36 am

One doesnt normally pay for Business class out of one's own pocket - mostly, it is companies paying for their staff. Many companies insist on J for journeys over a certain length, and it is vital for people on short business trips to long haul destinations. (Hence its called Business Class and not simply "its really nice class"!)  

It really can make all the difference between suffering for days with jetlag or being able to get on with life relatively quickly.

Many airlines also forbid their staff from travelling J on non-rev tickets (although some do slip through the net!) , so the argument that everyone in J class are airline staff is incorrect. (Aer Lingus, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific are examples of such airlines)

Of course, you also have people who can genuinly afford it - and do so. But that's why the J cabin has just a small fraction of the number of seats the Y cabin has - because these people are few and far between!  
 
RamblinMan
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sun May 01, 2011 5:05 am

Quoting rhw (Thread starter):
After all the resulting sum often is what an average person earns in a year.

If your annual income amounts to the price of an business class ticket then you're probably not going anywhere in coach either. And yes, the reality of it is that most of the world simply could not afford it.

Quoting carbon787 (Reply 23):
You'd be surprised the kind of deals you can get for C if you just spend a bit of time researching!
We have never paid full fares for C and never will!

I think there's your answer. Either it's business travel...or deal-savvy a.nutters find a way to do it for cheap. Couple strategies I know of: 1.) Save those miles! While a J-class cash fare might be 5x the coach rate, it often only requires 2x the miles for an award ticket, making it quite a bargain. Many people burn their miles going to MCO, LAS, etc without even considering that just buying a ticket would have been dirt-cheap. Save them up and eventually you can take an international J-class trip with them. 2.) If you can be somewhat flexible with times, I often get emailed good deals from both DL and UA for biz class to Europe. 3.) Look for "off-beat" stuff like Pakistan International's ORD-BCN service. It's only twice weekly but you can often snag biz class for only $1600 r/t. I keep meaning to take that one but the times/connections never work.
 
DrStrange
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sun May 01, 2011 8:50 am

The only businessclass ticket I ever paid for out of my own pocket was for my honeymoon.
I thought to myself, if I am ever going to pay for a J-ticket, it should be for my honeymoon  
Even with this ticket I only paid for one way in J and the other for an upgradeable Y-class....
I'm trying my luck.

Apart from that, I cannot really afford any J-tickets out of Germany.
Air travel (non-charter) from Germany is pretty expensive imho. I try to get a relatively cheap upgradeable Y fare and use my miles. Which is getting harder by the day, esp because my "blue chip" employer not only restricts air travel Y, but also to the lowest possible Y fare. So it is much harder for me to earn miles.

I think I should go and buy a lottery ticket  
 
sandyb123
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sun May 01, 2011 9:37 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 27):
Do you consider EK's 7-abreast A330-200 and A340-300 J class cabins "world class"? I can't think of any other major airline with a 2-3-2 J configuration on the A330/340. And their (or any other carriers' ) 10-abreast 777s certainly aren't world class. I consider EK the world's most over-rated airline.

I was referring more to their F cabin. I agree that other Y and J cabins are more spacious, but for a bit less space I have found I get a much better J fare, that I can then upgrade to F with miles.

To quote a comparison, BA wanted over £1200 for their Club World cabin on a EDI - JNB itinerary. Ok, so I have to go via Dubai but it didnt actually work out any longer time.

Sndyb123
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InnocuousFox
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Sun May 01, 2011 5:17 pm

UA Premier Elite free First Class upgrades baybee!
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rhw
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Mon May 02, 2011 11:02 am

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 41):
Quoting rhw (Thread starter):
After all the resulting sum often is what an average person earns in a year.

If your annual income amounts to the price of an business class ticket then you're probably not going anywhere in coach either. And yes, the reality of it is that most of the world simply could not afford it.

ramblinman, here is what i wrote:

Quoting rhw (Thread starter):

Reading that often users fly business/first class many times a year including international routes and considering that regular prices for such tickets are in the range of 3000-5000USD ( sometimes up to 10 000USD) i wonder how they ( you ) afford it.
After all the resulting sum often is what an average person earns in a year.

By many times i mean at least 10 times a year which results in approximately 80 000 - 100 000 USD cost min.
The median household income in the united states ( 2009 ) is around 50 000 USD.

I think you should understand now.
 
brad330
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Mon May 02, 2011 12:32 pm

my father earns 3-4million Qantas Frequent Flyer points a year so I use them for him.
 
robso2
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Mon May 02, 2011 6:42 pm

LX offer some European fares at a 'Business Saver' rate - this is relatively affordable - for instance I have flown MAN-GVA return for £200 via ZRH. These are only offered on certain routes, but if you enjoy the benefits then why not! These fares are always cheaper than Economy Flex (which gives you less miles and no lounge access/business seat on the plane).
733/4/5/6/7/8/9, 319/20/21, 752, 744, 772/W, 332/3, 343/6, E70/90, AT43, AR85/1, D38, D10, M82
 
genybustrvlr
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Tue May 03, 2011 6:18 am

Business/First is an addiction. It starts when you reach a level where you're permitted to travel business on the company $. Then it spreads over to personal travel. Millage and elite status upgrades at first, then purchases for only the longest flights, and in the final stages, you just suck it up and pay.

Keep in mind that us corporate travels can use our company's contract rates which are generally much less than a published 1st or business fare. As an example, our contract business rate on SFO to JFK is just over $700 r/t. That's about $400 - $500 less than the published rates and a bargain nowadays consider coach is $500+ for peak times.
 
blueflyer
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RE: How Do You Afford Flying Business / First Clas

Tue May 03, 2011 10:14 am

Quoting rhw (Reply 31):
I wonder if it is only the big 'global players' who pay for the higher classes for their employees?

Actually there are smaller companies that will attract talent at wages lower than the "global players" by, among many others, giving perks such as guaranteed first or business class travels. I'm not saying that potential employees are convinced to come onboard just because they'll fly upfront, but it can be part of an overall package that can definitively influence their decision.

Quoting rhw (Reply 31):
However it seems to me that more and more companies try to save money by only paying for economy.

That is definitively true, but at the same time, there are plenty of large companies that were already flying their employees in coach before the recession, sometimes for shorter flights, or for more junior employees. Off the top of my head, I can think of Cisco and JP Morgan in that group.
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