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I’ve been traveling domestically a lot lately, and thanks to being a Delta Platinum, I’ve been upgraded to first class on every flight. However, due to scheduling demands, I recently flew JetBlue to Austin, and those four hours in coach as a non-elite status passenger really made me reflect on what I love about first class.
Surprisingly, as I was thinking about what I loved, I also started to think about the things I dislike about flying domestic first class (link).
What I love:
1) Not being herded. The ability to board the plane first and get situated comfortably is something I no longer take for granted. When in coach, I feel like the flight attendants can be downright abusive towards passengers. I totally get their stress (it amazes me how clueless so many passengers are), but the stern scolding over the PA can be relentless.
2) Free food. I normally arrive at the airport 45 minutes before takeoff. Coming directly from meetings or events, I often times don’t have time to eat, especially when traffic takes its toll. The ability to get a substantial snack/wrap/salad has been lifesaving. While I will not rave about the quality of airline food (except for Delta’s transcontinental BusinessElite service, which I love), having something is better than nothing. I personally love Delta’s first class snack basket, which features classics like Sun Chips, Twix, Reeses and even bananas.
3) Being treated nicely. One of the thing that keeps me with Delta are the flight attendants. Especially in first class, they really go above and beyond to make the customer feel appreciated. Having them hang up your jacket and get you a pre-departure cocktail is nice, especially after a hectic day on the road.
4) Personal space. While JetBlue has industry leading standard legroom, I was still cramped in my aisle seat (I have no idea how people do middle seats). Granted, I’m 6’7, so my space needs are more demanding than most, a first class seat offers much needed leg room and personal space.
5) Easy lavatory access. This may sound silly, but it can be tricky going to the bathroom in coach! You face such treacheries as carts blocking your way and long lines, especially after a long taxi and everyone rushing to use go once the seat belt sign is turned off. Things are much more civilized in first class and the ratio of toilets: passengers is much saner.
Overall, I don’t like flying in first class because it makes me feel more elite than the “masses”. I like it, and appreciate it for the sting it can take out of grueling domestic travel.