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Business/First Class passengers' personalities, characteristics & networking

Business/First Class passengers' personalities, characteristics & networking

Old Oct 8, 2012, 5:28 pm
  #1  
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Business/First Class passengers' personalities, characteristics & networking

I am considering traveling via one of the upper classes for the first time in my life in the next 6 months. I might go on a world trip or to several continents (special mention to Chris Guillebeau, whose amazing blog has made me finally act on this dream that I have postponed before).

I am curious if people in first and business class are in general more talkative than people in economy class? Or can you not make such a stereotype?

I am hoping to meet people like Chris while traveling and in the process further my learning of this "underground" world of freelancers, bloggers, FF geeks, and of course, the rich who just buy the tickets with cash.

Does anyone have any experiences of interesting people they met traveling in the upper classes, any knowledge they garnered from passengers that they would probably never have garnered in the lower classes, any networking success, any globetrotting miles-accumulating friends they made etc...

I met Aubrey de Grey once at the airport and he was quite friendly (surprisingly, I was the only one in that flight to recognize him despite his resemblance to Rasputin)! Unfortunately Mr. de Grey was in the front rows traveling in style, while I was in the back and we had to cut short our conversation once he boarded the plane.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 5:55 pm
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I've never talked to anyone or seen anyone talking in C/F unless they were family.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 6:24 pm
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Originally Posted by zanzibar
I am curious if people in first and business class are in general more talkative than people in economy class? Or can you not make such a stereotype?
I'm curious at to why you think that people in F/C are more talkative? and yes, it is a stereotype, in my experience.

Other factors would come more into play, such as culture, age, gender, background, tiredness, etc etc etc.

I can recall two significant conversations I have had with other passengers in F/C this year (other than the basics). One interrupted me in the queue whilst I was checking email and insisted on playing 20 questions; he was an elderly clergyman so I engaged even though I only had a short time to check my mail. I believe that I was pleasant and helpful to him, even if I wasn't really interested in conversation.

The other was a seatmate on the third leg of a very long trip; he asked me a short question in the galley and somehow the conversation really evolved from there into a long conversation, with both of us apparently interested in the topics.

Most of the time when I fly I am trying to catch up on sleep. I don't enjoy conversation with my seatmate when I am trying to relax or to sleep. Nor is it in my cultural background to engage in chit chat with random strangers.

And on many aircraft, such as the pod configuration on AC, there is almost no opportunity to engage in conversation with others.

any knowledge they garnered from passengers that they would probably never have garnered in the lower classes
Are you suggesting that the passengers of the 'lower classes' are not as intelligent as those flying in F/C?! One of the most well-travelled FTers is a young Canadian who I believe has never sat in F/C during any of his visits to 100+ countries, but who contributes to many conversations here. I don't consider him to be less intelligent because of the way he chooses to use his miles.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 6:48 pm
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any knowledge they garnered from passengers that they would probably never have garnered in the lower classes

Are you suggesting that the passengers of the 'lower classes' are not as intelligent as those flying in F/C?! One of the most well-travelled FTers is a young Canadian who I believe has never sat in F/C during any of his visits to 100+ countries, but who contributes to many conversations here. I don't consider him to be less intelligent because of the way he chooses to use his miles.

Well knowledge is not equivalent to intelligence so not sure how you made that conclusion. e.g., a person in business class might recommend a resort or an amenity that a person in economy never knew about.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 6:51 pm
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Again, I believe that you are leaping to conclusions. Many people who rarely fly choose C, while many people who fly very often choose Y.

Being in Y doesn't necessarily equate to a less broad experience.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 6:53 pm
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Interesting topic...

If youre talking about international business and First class, Id say pax are much less talkative and approachable than Y pax. ve had plenty of conversations with fellow Y pax, but rarely any contact with other pax when travelling in C or F.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 6:55 pm
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One thing I noticed for people sitting in F/C, is the occasional "excitement". That being said, those are probably the ones that are experiencing F/C for the first time in their lives. Nothing wrong with that. Otherwise, F/C passengers are just like the Y passengers, some are nice, some are a-holes. I think the only thing that stands out, especially F, due to the relatively sparse numbers on board, is that everything you do will attract more attention (especially if there's only 3-5 of you in that cabin) and get more noticed.

Personally, I always keep things to myself when flying F/C, not that I wasn't when flying in Y anyways. Of course, I strike up conversations with the FAs, regardless of where I sit. But one thing I must say, despite flying in F/C plenty of times, I still get the jitters whenever I do, except that I can control my excitements better now.

Enjoy your flight.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by exbayern
Are you suggesting that the passengers of the 'lower classes' are not as intelligent as those flying in F/C?! One of the most well-travelled FTers is a young Canadian who I believe has never sat in F/C during any of his visits to 100+ countries, but who contributes to many conversations here. I don't consider him to be less intelligent because of the way he chooses to use his miles.
Just curious: Which FTer are you talking about?
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 6:59 pm
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I feel that it is common courtesy to at least say "hi" to those who I am forced to sit next to for 12+ hours, but I also respect the fact that most have better things to do than talk to me.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009
Just curious: Which FTer are you talking about?
I was referring to rankourabu; every time I find myself going somewhere off the beaten path, it turns out that he has been there before. And he is an advocate of using miles for Y for his own travels, and I believe doesn't earn many of them (if any) through work.

There is a very diverse membership here, just as on an airplane there is a very diverse type of passenger. One really can't assume that flying in a 'lower class' means a lesser experience when it comes to interacting with others.

Going back to the makeup of higher cabins, I flew awhile back to India on a LH 747, near the very front. (Fairly common route for me) I had some rather 'interesting' fellow travellers who seemed to have been following all the rules of how not to behave in public. An Austrian gentleman kept catching my eye and laughing as if we were the only two sane people in the cabin.

Later when I was checking in to my hotel, he arrived just after me, and we ended up having a great conversation and shared some camaraderie. But that wasn't because we were in a 'higher class' with passengers of a 'higher class', it was because those around us were just so bizarre on that particular flight.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 7:03 pm
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Originally Posted by exbayern

Are you suggesting that the passengers of the 'lower classes' are not as intelligent as those flying in F/C?! One of the most well-travelled FTers is a young Canadian who I believe has never sat in F/C during any of his visits to 100+ countries, but who contributes to many conversations here. I don't consider him to be less intelligent because of the way he chooses to use his miles.
Not me is it??? Cant be... I m not young anymore.. way over 30 now

I have certainly sat in first/business - about 35% of my flights are up front - mainly thanks to 11 years on this site since I fell in love with travelling the world in the middle of my university years.
What I have not done - is paid - for seats up front (fare mistakes excepted of course)

My philosophy us I'd rather do 5 trips in Y than 1 trip in J spending the same money - or instead of spending money for J, and spend two weeks on the ground, use that money to spend 8 weeks on the ground.

As to the original question of talking to people in J/F - you gotta realize - people up front are mostly flying for work. Last thing they wanna do is talk to someone who is heading on holiday, and last thing I wanna do on my holiday is talk to someone who is unfortunate enough to be flying for work on a Sunday afternoon.

The rest of the people who are not flying for work - tend to be ummm... older.

I have met some interesting people up front.

This year when I was flying to MLE from AUH in EY J - I was sitting next to a young Polish girl, also going alone to MLE. Odds of that happening are like NONE. But we made friends drinking the bar dry

On Kenya one time, I sat next to a Nigerian ex-general who only told me he flies around Africa doing "business"... I did not enquire further..

so there are some interesting times in J too

also, if my Y neighbour is nice - I have often invited them to the lounge if they have a layover after.



edit:

For the record, I am an advocate of NOT using your miles for Y - miles are for J/F. My miles are hard earned, not given by my employer - they go directly towards creative awards in J/F.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 7:06 pm
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For the most part, the folks in business or first are the same people you would find in coach much of the time. They just chose to sit up front for that flight or perhaps an upgrade cleared or failed to clear. We are all the same people, just sitting in a different seat this time. Hate to burst your illusion bubble.

When I am on an airplane, be it in coach, or especially business/first, I just want the other passengers to leave me alone. Take from that what you will. My desire to sleep or read outweighs any thoughts of "networking."
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by exbayern
And he is an advocate of using miles for Y for his own travels, and I believe doesn't earn many of them (if any) through work..
Originally Posted by rankourabu
For the record, I am an advocate of NOT using your miles for Y - miles are for J/F. My miles are hard earned, not given by my employer - they go directly towards creative awards in J/F.
Well, that didn't take you long to show up, young man!

Apologies for misquoting your philosophy; I did recall however that you are very good at maximizing miles whilst minimizing costs associated with use of those miles.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by rankourabu
... The rest of the people who are not flying for work - tend to be ummm... older...
Ok, that one is definitely pointed at me - or my demographic at least.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 7:11 pm
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Originally Posted by exbayern

Apologies for misquoting your philosophy; I did recall however that you are very good at maximizing miles whilst minimizing costs associated with use of those miles.
11 years here teaches one a thing or two
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