When and why do you pay for domestic F?

Old Jan 7, 20, 3:32 pm
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When and why do you pay for domestic F?

A321 from LAX to DFW and I'm in paid first which I do on occasion depending on price. I'm just wondering if it's worth paying double the price or thereabouts which it typically is:

- No lounge access
- Slimline seats are hard and there's no lower back padding
- F was maybe 2/3 full when I boarded and there was one space remaining for my overhead bag
- Legroom like MCE. I had to shuffle around my neighbor to go to the restroom
- Food was poor. I got a kosher meal as the cheese option looked really unhealthy and the hot kosher meal was OK, the rest was a bunch of cheap kosher snacks from US Foods, worse than an international economy kosher meal.
- No TV
- No power

The times when I fly F (on all the major carriers) with a flight leaving after 8pm there's no food also. I never understood this as usually I have a connecting flight to the hub with a tight connection and then I'm on the final leg to LAX departing after 8pm so when am I supposed to eat dinner?

I love the occasional domestic flights where you get a widebody and obviously this doesn't apply on premium domestic routes (e.g. LAX-NYC) but for your typical domestic F I'm failing to see why it's worth typically double the cost.

This isn't a complaint as obviously I can choose to fly economy and typically do MCE if available. But am I missing something here? I know you get increased miles and free checked bags but what else is there? When and why do you pay for domestic F?
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Old Jan 7, 20, 3:37 pm
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1) Because it's better than Y
2) Because it's better than Y
3) Because it's better than Y
4) Because it earns me BA Emerald status at a hugely increased rate over Y.
5) Because my company pays for it on business travel
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Old Jan 7, 20, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
1) Because it's better than Y
2) Because it's better than Y
3) Because it's better than Y
4) Because it earns me BA Emerald status at a hugely increased rate over Y.
5) Because my company pays for it on business travel
If your company gave you the option to fly economy or MCE and pocket the difference would you take it?
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Old Jan 7, 20, 3:54 pm
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Originally Posted by HGPilot View Post
If your company gave you the option to fly economy or MCE and pocket the difference would you take it?
No, I pay for F (or on 3 cabin aircraft perhaps J) on 99% of my personal domestic travel, so for me I find the value in F.

I get free MCE through being an Emerald.

Last edited by Fraser; Jan 7, 20 at 3:59 pm
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Old Jan 7, 20, 4:00 pm
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When a First Class Fare is cheaper than Economy and it happens often on certain routes.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 4:03 pm
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A fair number of my domestic flights are on A332's and B763's, but priced like "regular" F. The A332's are kind of worth it, I would say "definitely" except that if I don't get F (Envoy suites) I get MCE (which is really PE). So "MCE" isn't really that miserable.

I had an A332 go MX recently and I was shuffled off to a non-bulkhead F seat on a regular A321. I was very unpleasantly surprised to find that when the pax in front of me fully reclined, I couldn't comfortably open my 15" laptop. That was the one thing I thought at least I'd get in F. When I have a choice I always book bulkhead but in this case it was a last-minute change.

But mostly, in my case, I'm mostly-retired, financially comfortable, have no spouse or children, and travel is presently my indulgence. I'm fairly friendly with a woman who was a friend of my mother, she's 93, has way more money than she can spend, but she can't even spend it. The town we live in has nothing special in the way of culture, restaurants, etc. and she's not mobile or healthy enough to really do stuff. I took her to New York to the Metropolitan Opera last fall, it was a big treat for her, but also a rather major exertion. I don't want to get to be 93 and have a big bank balance and wish I'd had more fun in my 60's and 70's.

If I were younger and still working and saving for retirement, I would have neither the money nor the time to indulge myself this way.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by HGPilot View Post
If your company gave you the option to fly economy or MCE and pocket the difference would you take it?
Massive tax headache, so probably a toss-up as to whether I would accept such a deal. At a minimum, that difference is taxable for federal and state purposes so its value is largely reduced.

But, bottom line is, no.

I fly F for the seat. 2-2 vs. 3-3 and some better room. Most domestic F meals are poor so rarely eat the stuff.

But, the comfort really helps.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 4:14 pm
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I'll buy F sometimes if I know F will sell out and there's no chance I'll actually be upgraded. For me that's trips to/from Miami for Art Basel and on the 767-300 or the 777-200. I'll also buy F going to Hawaii which is technically domestic and I *could* be eligible for a free upgrade. This route yields a lot of EQMs from NYC.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 4:20 pm
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We fly domestic F because we just want a bit more comfort and pampering. We either pay or use AAdvantage miles. We are grateful to be able to do it. We travel DFW to Hawaii round trip 2 times a year. So, that longer domestic flight is certainly worth the F ticket for us. But, we book F on shorter flights too. Has the domestic F experience on AA and other carriers become less special over the years, imo, yes. But it's still a lot better than a LCC or economy.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 4:56 pm
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All the time, but only rarely on AA. When flying paid F, it's not necessary to put up with AA's typically mediocre soft and hard product.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 5:03 pm
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Old Jan 7, 20, 5:15 pm
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Boarding first and having pretty much guaranteed overhead space is almost worth the price of admission, just for the stress reduction.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 5:24 pm
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When the LAA 737 and 321 had 40 inch pitch, personal TVs and decent under seat storage, I would pay for domestic F on many longer routes (MIA-LAS, FLL-DFW-LAS, etc) when the premium was reasonable. Now that more and more narrow bodies have been “Oasised”, I move that spend to Delta where available. Now I only purchase F domestically on the 757 or widebodies.

My mental calculus is I will pay $40-50/hr for F over economy for flights after noon (rarely pay for F on breakfast flights). So if MIA-LAS is $200 in economy, I’m willing to go to $450 or so for F. The lowest F fare is often in this range. Sometimes cheaper from FLL depending on time/season/routing.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 5:27 pm
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Q: When do I buy domestic F?

A: I don't.

Outside of premium transcons (which being based in DEN I never fly), there's no domestic F - on any airline - worth paying for. MCE is fine.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 5:33 pm
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I pay for F when an upgrade looks unlikely, the F fare is not outlandish compared to Y, the flight is sufficiently long that comfort is a major benefit, and/or I want to pad my elite qualifying statistics.
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