Sunday, November 13, 2011

When did first class stop being first class?

Since Julie and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and both our birthdays, we decided to do our vacation in style.  We used the very last of my Continental frequent flyer miles to book first class tickets to and from Kauai.  Even though they were Continental miles, our flights are through two other airlines, US Air and United.  United and Continental have actually merged into one company, but it isn't complete yet.

On our flights from Salt Lake to Phoenix to Kauai, we got to experience US Air's version of first class, at least on a domestic flight.  What a huge disappointment.  The seats were bigger and roomier, but that is about it.
  • The meal served on a 7 hour flight was crap.  It was what you used to get for a coach ticket on a flight from Raleigh to Dallas.
  • My favorite thing on first class is the warm nuts they serve as an appetizer.  Here we got a small bag of some salted mixed food product.
  • The seats barely reclined.
  • The movie was shown on an old 15" TV, about 10 feet in front of us. An eagle couldn't have followed the visuals.

  • No wi-fi on board.  Other airlines have this on all their flights.
As a contrast, we flew business class to France earlier this year.  Delta's 10 hour flight from Salt Lake to Paris was about as nice as you could ask.  Roomy chairs that reclined way back for a nap.  Individual monitors to watch your own choice of movie or TV show.  Decent food from start to finish.

So, for the $1300+ premium US Air wants to bump you to first class, I would suggest:
  • Book coach early so you get a decent seat assignment
  • Buy a $7 sub at the airport
  • Bring a $20 pillow, knowing you can leave it at the airport when your flight is over.
  • Buy a $5 of Exedrin PM and take one for a nap
  • Pocket the remaining $1268 and have a most wonderful vacation.
On the way back we get to see if United is any better.

At least the house we booked on Kauai is everything we expected and more.  That and lots of pictures in the near future.  Today we are off to the Na Pali coast for some hiking.
Post a Comment