Is AA Domestic First Class worth it?

Old Aug 31, 17, 5:53 am
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Is AA Domestic First Class worth it?

I'm planning on flying from MSP-CLT next Spring when I saw an AA first class seat rt in the $600s and I'm tempted to jump on it. Having never done first class on one of the major airlines (I was upgraded on AirTran once), the allure's still there for me a bit, but given it's not international/LAX-JFK, is it still worth the extra cost, or am I better off in economy given the flight length?
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Old Aug 31, 17, 6:16 am
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Depends what the difference to with the economy fare is

Keep you expectations in check if you do it
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Old Aug 31, 17, 6:21 am
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Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
Depends what the difference to with the economy fare is
Its about a $260 difference.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 6:25 am
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"Worth it" is impossible to determine without knowing your personal circumstances. Is $260 a lot or a little to you and what are the things you care about.

If $260 is the difference between your primary residence being foreclosed or not, I would recommend against flying F. If it is what you drop on drinks after work, it is likely worth it.

I don't care about silly stuff such as who boards when or whether there is a snack or a sandwich. I enjoy the comfort of a 2-2 seat with leg room. So, to me it's worth it.

If you try to calculate this as the value of your food and how much free booze you can drink, it's not worth it.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 6:33 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
"Worth it" is impossible to determine without knowing your personal circumstances. Is $260 a lot or a little to you and what are the things you care about.

If $260 is the difference between your primary residence being foreclosed or not, I would recommend against flying F. If it is what you drop on drinks after work, it is likely worth it.

I don't care about silly stuff such as who boards when or whether there is a snack or a sandwich. I enjoy the comfort of a 2-2 seat with leg room. So, to me it's worth it.

If you try to calculate this as the value of your food and how much free booze you can drink, it's not worth it.
For me it's not the value per se, it's more the experience and I feel given that Delta's $100 more there's some perception of value there. About the only downside I see is there still being an up charge for Admirals Club, but having been in a US Airways Club as a kid, I don't remember being that impressed.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 6:46 am
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AA Domestic first is a mixed bag, depends on the plane, and that by itself is another topic of discussion. MSP-CLT is flown on US aircraft airbus 320, 321 but I see there is some cross fleeting as there is a 737 (AA2734) as well. Keep in mind that most of US aircraft where gutted out of power ports, no IFE (In Flight Entertainment) way before the merging. If you really want to experience a better first class service, either JFK/MIA - LAX/SFO, or try and get a wide body aircraft, 767, 777, 330. Me personally, I wouldnt bother with your route, but if you do, keep your expectations low and you will be pleasantly surprised. As for lounge access, you wont get it because you are flying first on MSP-CLT.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
"Worth it" is impossible to determine without knowing your personal circumstances. Is $260 a lot or a little to you and what are the things you care about.

If $260 is the difference between your primary residence being foreclosed or not, I would recommend against flying F. If it is what you drop on drinks after work, it is likely worth it.

I don't care about silly stuff such as who boards when or whether there is a snack or a sandwich. I enjoy the comfort of a 2-2 seat with leg room. So, to me it's worth it.

If you try to calculate this as the value of your food and how much free booze you can drink, it's not worth it.
This should be a sticky!
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Old Aug 31, 17, 7:45 am
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I wouldn't myself, but if you've never flown AA F, you will enjoy it.

But since you're unsure about the cost, why not fly F one way and Y the other? That'll likely be available for $130 extra. Assuming the cost is the same either way, choose based on the flight times, which one is within the meal window, or when will more enjoy having a couple of drinks.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 7:48 am
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The B738 first class is pretty good overall I think. I have never been on the A321B first class, so can't comment on that. I personally think $600 R/T is good value for B738 F based on where the Y price is.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 8:02 am
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So, it's basically a 2.5 hour flight which is right around the cutoff for me when I'm considering buying F/J or just flying in Y+. This for me depends heavily on the price difference between Y+ and F, as well as the equipment.

Being that this flight is operated by basic domestic equipment (2-2 seats with marginally better legroom) and the service up front will probably not be particularly good, I would probably pass on a $260 upgrade, choose an exit row seat in Y+ and call it good.

I find basic domestic F products overall to be pretty disappointing, but will use them sometimes when better options don't exist or there is a deal to be had. I don't personally see this as much of a deal though, despite better options not existing.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 8:55 am
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Spring is still very far away. It is likely there will be more different fares (in economy) showing up later. Which means the price difference between First and Economy can become bigger. Also there can be schedule change, and even aircraft change between now and Spring.

I looked up and the fare OP is talking about, it is QVAHZBI1 shown as I fare and booked into first class as instant upgrade. This is non-refundable fare and technically economy ticket booked into first when there is availability in first on time of booking. In case of irregular operation like cancellation of a flight, AA has no obligation to get you first class seat and if you end up flying in economy then there will be no refund.

I wish AA make it little more clear about the nature of this fare during the booking. There is nothing during booking to indicate so, simply indicate First Class. Once look into fare rule and on fine print at very end of fare rule mention the condition of instant upgrade. Looks like true First Class fare on this route can be as high as $1820 round trip.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by mnflyer11 View Post
$600s[...]

it's not international/LAX-JFK[...]

is it still worth the extra cost[...]
Not for me. AA does kiosk LFBUs starting at $45. I'd pay that. If I had the time, I'd even show up 3 hours early to try to guarantee one. But, I wouldn't pay an extra few hundred dollars for overcooked meat and cheap wine, even if they do come with a more comfortable seat.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 9:11 am
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If you don't have status, it is also worth considering how much you will pay to check baggage. If you are paying for two bags in each direction, then the price difference to fly F is much less, as the luggage that you otherwise would have paid is included--i.e. if you are otherwise paying $60 each way for luggage, then the $260 price difference effectively drops to $140 roundtrip or $70 extra each way to fly F on a 2.5 hour flight.

Last edited by LAXRuss; Aug 31, 17 at 9:18 am
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Old Aug 31, 17, 9:17 am
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If you have no status that would get you free checked baggage, that's $100 saved right off the top as they would be included in the F fare (even the discount F buckets). If you're seeing a P fare (which if my memory serves correct is a full Y fare with an auto-upgrade), be sure you're getting a confirmed seat at purchase. They've been known to bump the auto-upgrades fares at boarding if they're overbooked or have irrops situations where higher bucket F fares need to get on the flight. Overall, at that price point, I think it's worth the try and definitely a reasonably priced splurge.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 9:22 am
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As has been pointed out you get:
a more comfortable flight
near certainty of being able to stow your carry-on in the rack
two checked bags at no extra charge
some catering (and the meals seem to be improving)
more priority in IRROPS (at least that is my experience)

AA value the bump up at $0.10 per mile for voucher compensation if you buy an "instant upgrade" ticket and IRROPS force you into coach. I feel that it is generally worth that much and will sometimes pay more. If you are willing to pay what it costs to give it a try then go for it!
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