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Hit Or Miss – Flying First Class (Domestically)

November 13th, 2009 No Comments

I’ve sat in every seat you can imagine on the plane – sandwiched in the middle of two men in coach, the Emergency Exit seat that doesn’t recline, the window where I can rest my head, the aisle without the flap headrest, business class international that feels like heaven, first class domestic that feels like hell, first class international where I’m queen.

Just to give you a little perspective….I’m writing this post sitting in first class on a flight from Houston to Los Angeles.  Honestly, it’s nothing special.  Usually this particular airline (ehem Continental) serves up decent food, but tonight’s fare was sub-par.  I should have brought my “coach salad” I prepare at home for the flight.  On the bright side, the Australian chardonnay in my bottomless real wine glass isn’t half bad.

Anyway, if you’re wondering whether or not the upgrade is worth the extra cash or miles, let me offer you these criteria to help you  decide.

  • Duration

If you’re flying for over over 3 hours, absolutely consider it.

  • Time of Day

Traveling during meal time is one of the perks. The food is improving, and they always offer a salad.

  • Baggage

The fee to check bags is waived and you can stuff up to 75 pounds per case (on some airlines).

  • Drinking

If you want to drink on board, upgrade.  Cozy seat, extra leg room, a cocktail to enjoy with possibly an interesting row-mate, it’s like you’re in a lounge.

  • Entertainment

When the plane isn’t equip with tv’s on the back of every seat, some airlines offer personal DVD players with a variety of movies (I believe American does on some flights).

  • Miles

Check reward travel before booking.  Sometimes you can sit first for coach miles.

  • Always Ask

I’ve upgraded flights for less than $100 simply because I asked the agent at check in.

In terms of which airlines are better, I can’t offer much insight because I haven’t flown them all.  I’ll tell you Virgin is my favorite, US Airways is a complete joke, and American and Continental usually keep me content.

All of that being said, I’m not a member of the mile high club.

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