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I used to enjoy flying international Y, now I dread it

I used to enjoy flying international Y, now I dread it

Old Jan 25, 23, 11:40 pm
  #1  
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I used to enjoy flying international Y, now I dread it

I would go to India from EWR every 4 years since I was a kid. I used to look forward to the flights and enjoy the experience. Even when I was in the middle seat between my parents, Iíd enjoy it. Even when I was in college I looked forward to and enjoyed the flight.

I didnít go to India for the last 10 years until recently.

Lately I have been traveling a lot domestically for work. I almost always fly in F between EWR and LAS. Usually pay for F, but if F is lightly booked, I take my chances on a CPU. I became Platinum on United last year.

My parents booked a flight for me from EWR-BOM. Of course they put me in the middle seat in Y between them. I was not having that. I paid to upgrade all 3 of us to premium economy for the United segments of EWR-LHR and DEL-EWR. Then used plus points and miles to upgrade myself to Polaris for EWR-LHR and DEL-EWR. The J upgrade to LHR cleared but Iím still waitlisted for DEL-EWR. I then used an additional 50000 miles to upgrade my parents to J for DEL-EWR, still pending.

On my trip to BOM, there was a segment on Air Canada from LHR-BOM that I couldnít even pay to upgrade online or at check in. So I was stuck in a middle in Y for the 9 hour flight and I thought it was miserable. I will never again fly international in Y.

Next time my parents want to take me to India, I will insist on booking my own flight myself. Iíll pay for J both ways. I make more money in a week than the cost of a J ticket EWR-BOM, and Iíd rather give up a weekís salary to not be uncomfortable for a day
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Old Jan 26, 23, 9:07 am
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I waffle on this. US to Asia...no coach for me if at all possible. US East coast to Europe...I can deal with coach if the savings is enough. Return flights from Europe in coach are tolerable, since I don't need to sleep. I have booked Business to Europe and coach back many times. Paying an extra $1.5k for business over coach on a 6-9 hour flight is hard for me to rationally justify. One view is that by sitting in coach I am paying myself $200/hour to ride in a chair. Usually I would prefer to have that money in my pocket to pay for a nice hotel or splurge on an outing once I get there. The gist I get from my time on FT is that I am in the minority, but I would much rather fly VS coach on the 815am flight to LHR for 10k points plus $150 than fly business for 47.5K points plus $875. Clearly I can take 4x as many trips.
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Last edited by xooz; Jan 26, 23 at 9:30 am
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Old Jan 26, 23, 9:19 am
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I find that paid Premium Economy with the hope of an upgrade hits the sweet spot on those carriers that offer it. After a long career with a lot of business flying, I am done with coach except for very short ( < 2 hr.) legs. Coach in current long-haul aircraft is intolerable, if I cannot afford better then I won't go.
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Old Jan 26, 23, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by nd2010
I would go to India from EWR every 4 years since I was a kid. I used to look forward to the flights and enjoy the experience. Even when I was in the middle seat between my parents, Iíd enjoy it. Even when I was in college I looked forward to and enjoyed the flight.

I didnít go to India for the last 10 years until recently.

Lately I have been traveling a lot domestically for work. I almost always fly in F between EWR and LAS. Usually pay for F, but if F is lightly booked, I take my chances on a CPU. I became Platinum on United last year.

My parents booked a flight for me from EWR-BOM. Of course they put me in the middle seat in Y between them. I was not having that. I paid to upgrade all 3 of us to premium economy for the United segments of EWR-LHR and DEL-EWR. Then used plus points and miles to upgrade myself to Polaris for EWR-LHR and DEL-EWR. The J upgrade to LHR cleared but Iím still waitlisted for DEL-EWR. I then used an additional 50000 miles to upgrade my parents to J for DEL-EWR, still pending.

On my trip to BOM, there was a segment on Air Canada from LHR-BOM that I couldnít even pay to upgrade online or at check in. So I was stuck in a middle in Y for the 9 hour flight and I thought it was miserable. I will never again fly international in Y.

Next time my parents want to take me to India, I will insist on booking my own flight myself. Iíll pay for J both ways. I make more money in a week than the cost of a J ticket EWR-BOM, and Iíd rather give up a weekís salary to not be uncomfortable for a day
Are you planning on giving your upgraded seat to one of your parents in the event their upgrades don't clear?
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Old Jan 26, 23, 12:39 pm
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Concur with the assessment that Premium Economy is the sweet spot in air travel today.
Today's Premium Economy cabins are what Economy used to be in the good old times where 3-4-3 seating was only found on 747s. I think Seat width and legroom in regular Economy have been densified to an extent that I find it intolerable. And the price premium for Premium Economy usually is tolerable, even more so if one considers that PE fares earn well in FFPs whereas Economy fares increasingly do not anymore.
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Old Jan 26, 23, 1:49 pm
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Itís not just the economy seat. I stopped flying international economy after one too many times sitting next to belligerent drunks, people who had clearly been traveling a long time without bathing, or complaining about reclining my seat. A miserable flight thanks to your fellow travelers can ruin your trip for days. Paying for or upgrading to business class can make the difference between a good trip and a bad one.
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Old Jan 29, 23, 3:30 am
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When I was young (20s) I always flew Y on long haul international routes (mostly TPAC from Japan). Back in those days (1990s and early 2000s) all the TPAC flights were 747s (10 abreast) or early build 777s with 9 abreast seating. Y seats were tolerable for a long flight. Nowadays I am fortunate to fly either J or premium economy on all my lomg hauls, but I've seen Y in 10 abreast 777s and 9 abreast 787s, and the seats look horrifically small. The only times I've flown Y in those configurations have been on short domestic flights in Japan, where most passengers are thin. There was one time I flew with my son (then 9 years old) and put him in the middle seat. The stranger next to him was average size by Western standards and was spilling into my son's seat.

These days I avoid Y and just pay for PE or J on every flight.
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Old Jan 29, 23, 6:50 am
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I really hope we figure out consumer supersonic travel sooner than later. Imagine these flights being cut roughly in half. That's a game-changer.
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Old Jan 29, 23, 1:40 pm
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I don't know how old you are, but no, I would not fly in economy at all now. For me, it's PE for domestic or J for international flights.
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Old Jan 29, 23, 9:15 pm
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Originally Posted by nd2010
I make more money in a week than the cost of a J ticket EWR-BOM
Post or pre-tax?
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Old Jan 29, 23, 9:20 pm
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Originally Posted by xooz
I am paying myself $200/hour to ride in a chair. Usually I would prefer to have that money in my pocket to pay for a nice hotel or splurge on an outing once I get there.
I have the similar formula if we are talking about revenue flights - take the cost of the flight, divide it by hours - that's what is flight hour costing me. If my post-tax/deductions income per hour is higher then that amount, I will buy revenue flight, otherwise - won't.
Originally Posted by xooz
The gist I get from my time on FT is that I am in the minority
We are more here - it is a silent majority does not write too much...

P.S. And I book award seats in Y as well. For 18h non-stop from SFO to SIN I book PE.
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Old Jan 30, 23, 4:15 pm
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I find economy is fine as long as it's a day flight and my group has the entire row to itself. Otherwise, it's PE minimum for me.
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Old Jan 30, 23, 5:53 pm
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TPAC - gotta be J for me.

TATL - if I'm flying solo or with my wife, PE will do. But we also do family trips with kids, so those are in Y. It sucks but for 8-10 hours we just deal with it.

Plotting a full family trip to Africa in 2024-2025. Will probably plan for revenue PE on that one...
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Old Jan 31, 23, 5:39 pm
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Itís a shame all the Asian airlines are so much nicer than the Western Airlines. If I lived 6-7 hours away from Asia then Iíd have no problem flying JAL or Asiana in economy due to leg room and space. Those flights to Europe on Western commercial companies are brutal but East to Europe is short.
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Old Jan 31, 23, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Cthunder86
Itís a shame all the Asian airlines are so much nicer than the Western Airlines. If I lived 6-7 hours away from Asia then Iíd have no problem flying JAL or Asiana in economy due to leg room and space. Those flights to Europe on Western commercial companies are brutal but East to Europe is short.
There are bad Asian airlines.
There are also good western airlines.
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