My "is it worth it?" flight in F

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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:29 pm
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My "is it worth it?" flight in F

Since I semi-retired 5 years ago and started funding all of my own travel, I have been a committed back-of-the-bus flyer.

I have flown international business class quite a few times, either on op-ups or OPM (I miss OPM!) and never been impressed enough to fork out 4-figure sums of my own cash for it.

You still have the climb-over factor, quite a lot of cabin noise and very little privacy. For this reason, I have generally preferred to sit down the back and either spend the extra cash at the destination or save it for another trip.

However, when I spotted a fare of 2371GBP for MAN-LHR-ORD//MIA-LHR-MAN in F, I began to wonder whether the extra step up in comfort, privacy and service in First would convince me that it really is worth stumping up the cash.

Consequently, I am taking off next Thursday, November 1 for my first flight in F.

I thought about posting this either in the Trip Reports or Travel Buzz sections, as it is intended more as an evaluation of premium class travel in general, but since I am flying with BA, I figured this would be the place to get the best pre-flight advice on maximising the experience, as well as finding out whether whatever experience I have is typical for these flights

I am flying out on a 777 in 2A and back on an A380 in 2K (travelling solo). I chose these seats after reading various threads on this forum (I have no status so row 1 seems to be out of bounds).

I have deliberately booked 4-hour connections at LHR in both directions to try out everything I can in the lounges, although as a 40yo single male I might skip the spa treatment in favour of another kind of liquid indulgence!

I'm not quite sure what the future holds for my travels after this experiment. Will I be scraping together mountains of Avios from every conceivable source, scouring ex-EU deals and selling my body (not sure who would buy it, but anyway...) to keep myself quaffing the Kir Royales up front? Or will I be back in the cheap seats with my can of lager and a slightly fatter wallet digging into my backside?
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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
Since I semi-retired 5 years ago

Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
although as a 40yo
Good effort!
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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
although as a 40yo single male I might skip the spa treatment in favour of another kind of liquid indulgence!
Well I'm a thirty-something male and very much enjoy a relaxing facial at the spa. You can even take your liquid indulgence in with you to ensure immediate resumption of consumption, should you so need.
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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:45 pm
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Well done !
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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
Well I'm a thirty-something male and very much enjoy a relaxing facial at the spa. You can even take your liquid indulgence in with you to ensure immediate resumption of consumption, should you so need.
Now there's an idea!
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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by mattyw View Post



Good effort!
Thanks! The budget still needs to be managed though and there will be opportunity costs if I make the upgrades a regular thing. Otherwise I might have to go back to [4-letter expletive deleted] full-time.
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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:52 pm
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I think for personal travels I would not spend more than 1.5k for a biz class seat. It's when I travel for biz and I need to go straight to the office, busy schedule, boring dinners, etc, that biz class becomes a must have for me. F in my view adds privacy to the biz class experience, food is still plane food and as per the wines, I have better bubbles in my cellar to quench my daily thirst.

That said, I am afraid it will be hard to go back to kettle class. Lie flat is what makes a world of difference IMO, the rest is just smoke and mirrors that you end up enjoying or not enjoying only if you fly a lot. Good news is that with credit cards, various promos, etc. it is not that hard to bank loads of Avios. So if you only fly once or twice a year and plan properly you could fly mostly in premium cabins.
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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by frandrake View Post
I think for personal travels I would not spend more than 1.5k for a biz class seat. It's when I travel for biz and I need to go straight to the office, busy schedule, boring dinners, etc, that biz class becomes a must have for me. F in my view adds privacy to the biz class experience, food is still plane food and as per the wines, I have better bubbles in my cellar to quench my daily thirst.

That said, I am afraid it will be hard to go back to kettle class. Lie flat is what makes a world of difference IMO, the rest is just smoke and mirrors that you end up enjoying or not enjoying only if you fly a lot. Good news is that with credit cards, various promos, etc. it is not that hard to bank loads of Avios. So if you only fly once or twice a year and plan properly you could fly mostly in premium cabins.
That's the difficulty. I typically fly 3-4 round-trip long-hauls over a winter season. With more careful planning, I could probably cut this to 2 and do longer trips.

Unfortunately I live in a country (Austria) where credit card opportunities are very thin on the ground.
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Old Oct 25, 18, 1:13 am
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Enjoy your first flight in F and the accompanying LPGS!

There is endless advice from veteran flyers on here to maximise the experience (seats, lounges, F&B etc) which I found very helpful indeed. Re seats row 1 should open up T-72 if they haven't been taken, so may not necessarily be out of bounds. Expertflyer.com will let you know if they're blocked or occupied in the meantime which you can use for free for a few searches.

The only thing I would add would be to let the cabin crew know it's your first F - I've seen this happen a few times and the crew are more than happy to indulge! I'm sure others have better stories but I have witnessed a wine tasting from each of the champagne, white and red wine menus.. I did wonder if he would manage to remember the flight afterwards


Originally Posted by frandrake View Post
I think for personal travels I would not spend more than 1.5k for a biz class seat. It's when I travel for biz and I need to go straight to the office, busy schedule, boring dinners, etc, that biz class becomes a must have for me. F in my view adds privacy to the biz class experience, food is still plane food and as per the wines, I have better bubbles in my cellar to quench my daily thirst.

That said, I am afraid it will be hard to go back to kettle class. Lie flat is what makes a world of difference IMO, the rest is just smoke and mirrors that you end up enjoying or not enjoying only if you fly a lot. Good news is that with credit cards, various promos, etc. it is not that hard to bank loads of Avios. So if you only fly once or twice a year and plan properly you could fly mostly in premium cabins.
This a hundred times. I used to be in the staunch camp of viewing travel as a means to get from A to B and to save the cash for the other end, but the premium travel bug well and truly bit a couple of years and ago after going for a POUG.

I have very few longhaul business trips, but in terms of personal travel with the OH, our trips now start before leaving home rather than having recovered from a delightful Y/W seat and jet lag. It's also a delight delaying that thud back to reality on the way to the airport when returning home. With a bit of careful planning (and lurking on FT) we've managed to fly premium on revenue, avios and AUP fares ever since and reached that elusive gold status as well!
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Old Oct 25, 18, 1:46 am
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I’m having the opposite issue to the OP. Having indulged this year and enjoyed a number of LH F flights, I am coming back to earth with a bump next year. I’ve booked 4 LH return flights in Y. I am hoping that this will reiterate once again of how pleasurable the front of the plane is. Admittedly I also have my first taste of QR in J, a return flight from DOH on a BA 789 in F and a return to MIA in F just to soften the blow. Oh, and CCR access will make those Y flights slightly less painful.
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Old Oct 25, 18, 2:17 am
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Oh don't quaff Kir Royale's in F! Stick to the LPGS
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Old Oct 25, 18, 3:17 am
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We were early retirees, some 20 years or more ago, and in 2000 started fairly regular l/h holidays. Initially in Y, then W, and finally from 2006 in J. We discovered the wonders of flying 'cheaply', with careful planning and the use of UuA (it was easier back then). And FlyerTalk has made a lot of difference too! We tried F once, in 2015, using a 2-4-1 voucher and decided the difference over J was insufficient to make us feel a need to do it again.

However, and this is pertinent to your future thinking, The_Bouncer, we rarely pay more than £1,500 each regardless of destination - and that includes the ex-JER element. We're in the same camp as frandrake - £1500 is our target price. Our 3 trips to Hawaii ranged from £1150-£1600, and even PHX/ANC was only £1850. Our next PHX is just £1299, via LHR. So, there is a middle road to follow which will perhaps leave you with a slightly thinner wallet to sit on but will at least let you escape from the back of the bus! And the research into good fares and pleasant destinations is enjoyable in its own way!

Have a good flight in F!
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Old Oct 25, 18, 3:20 am
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Originally Posted by abc193 View Post
Enjoy your first flight in F and the accompanying LPGS!

There is endless advice from veteran flyers on here to maximise the experience (seats, lounges, F&B etc) which I found very helpful indeed. Re seats row 1 should open up T-72 if they haven't been taken, so may not necessarily be out of bounds. Expertflyer.com will let you know if they're blocked or occupied in the meantime which you can use for free for a few searches.
I have had a look through these threads. The only other seats left are the pair in the middle at the back, I'm not sure whether it's worth gambling on row 1 and risking getting booted for a Premier, etc.

Originally Posted by abc193 View Post
​​​​​​The only thing I would add would be to let the cabin crew know it's your first F - I've seen this happen a few times and the crew are more than happy to indulge! I'm sure others have better stories but I have witnessed a wine tasting from each of the champagne, white and red wine menus.. I did wonder if he would manage to remember the flight afterwards
I'm really glad now that I've booked an airport hotel at ORD instead of driving straight up to my mate's place in Wisconsin!

Originally Posted by abc193 View Post

This a hundred times. I used to be in the staunch camp of viewing travel as a means to get from A to B and to save the cash for the other end, but the premium travel bug well and truly bit a couple of years and ago after going for a POUG.

I have very few longhaul business trips, but in terms of personal travel with the OH, our trips now start before leaving home rather than having recovered from a delightful Y/W seat and jet lag. It's also a delight delaying that thud back to reality on the way to the airport when returning home. With a bit of careful planning (and lurking on FT) we've managed to fly premium on revenue, avios and AUP fares ever since and reached that elusive gold status as well!

Originally Posted by madfish View Post
Iím having the opposite issue to the OP. Having indulged this year and enjoyed a number of LH F flights, I am coming back to earth with a bump next year. Iíve booked 4 LH return flights in Y. I am hoping that this will reiterate once again of how pleasurable the front of the plane is. Admittedly I also have my first taste of QR in J, a return flight from DOH on a BA 789 in F and a return to MIA in F just to soften the blow. Oh, and CCR access will make those Y flights slightly less painful.
Well, I'm back to earth with a bump in December - CPT in Y on Edelweiss, then MEX/LAX on UA Y in January!
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Old Oct 25, 18, 3:24 am
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
I have had a look through these threads. The only other seats left are the pair in the middle at the back, I'm not sure whether it's worth gambling on row 1 and risking getting booted for a Premier, etc.
Once you have chosen your seat, you will not be evicted from row 1 unless the chair is malfunctioning.
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Old Oct 25, 18, 3:27 am
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Originally Posted by T8191 View Post

However, and this is pertinent to your future thinking, The_Bouncer, we rarely pay more than £1,500 each regardless of destination - and that includes the ex-JER element. We're in the same camp as frandrake - £1500 is our target price. Our 3 trips to Hawaii ranged from £1150-£1600, and even PHX/ANC was only £1850. Our next PHX is just £1299, via LHR. So, there is a middle road to follow which will perhaps leave you with a slightly thinner wallet to sit on but will at least let you escape from the back of the bus! And the research into good fares and pleasant destinations is enjoyable in its own way!

Have a good flight in F!
Thanks. This middle road is possibly the way forward for me in the future. On the occasions when I have flown in J, it has taken the edge off the long haul flying, but I've never considered it worth paying out 2k+ per ticket.

If I can get it for the kind of rates you and frandrake are talking about, I might consider it if the prices are tempered by 250% credit to AS. Part of my rationalisation for spending the cash on this F flight was the 450% credit giving me ca. 40k AS miles, very conservatively worth at least £400.
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