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I never want to fly coach again, and here’s why that upsets me

Oct. 25, 2021
4 min read
I never want to fly coach again, and here’s why that upsets me
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I’ve had a really good streak of flying this year.

There was the trip to Las Vegas when, moments before the aircraft door closed, the gate agent at New York-JFK walked back to coach and informed me that the one empty lie-flat bed up front was now mine.

Trust me, I took that amazing luck and carried it across the country with me to the blackjack tables.

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(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Then there was a trip from New York to Miami where I chose American’s 777-200. My ticket was $116 plus tax. But because of my Executive Platinum status, I was up front both ways in a bed.

On other trips, I’ve found premium seats selling for just marginally more than economy — the type of no-brainer, incremental difference that was rarely seen before the pandemic.

I’ve also used my stash of airline miles or my Delta Air Lines regional upgrade certificates to fly in style, especially on trips to California.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Since I got vaccinated and resumed flying again at the end of May, I’ve done so comfortably. Very comfortably.

Now, before you hate me for what sounds like the most pretentious brag ever, let me explain why this is actually upsetting: Sometimes, I worry I’ve lost sight of the reason why I travel.

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Sure, a fancy seat is nice (and sometimes amazing) but we are often traveling to see new places, to reconnect with old friends and to visit with family.

It was just a few months ago that, locked away at home, I would have taken a 16-hour flight to Asia in a middle economy seat just for the opportunity to fly again.

But these days, I’ve fallen all too quickly into the habit of checking where I stand on the upgrade list.

Related: Here’s how to use airline miles for a first-class upgrade

TPG’s mission is to empower readers to travel cheaper and easier.

Sometimes, that means teaching you how to snag Lufthansa first-class award tickets and a coveted visit to the exclusive First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. For so many people, however, they’re just happy to learn how to get four free seats anywhere on the plane so they can bring their family to Walt Disney World.

Basically, we all love to travel, even if we do it a little differently.

During those long days of lockdown and isolation, many of us promised to be more thankful for our opportunities. I was so giddy the first time I stepped back on a plane in May, I didn’t even care that my upgrade didn’t clear on either leg.

Sure, the journey can (or should be) be fun, but I was surprised at just how quickly I lost sight of the real reason why we all travel.

My 6-year-old daughter is hopefully going to get the COVID-19 vaccine soon. That’s going to reopen new adventures for my family. After a nearly two-year-long pause, we can start making new travel memories together again.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

In writing this, I was reminded of my first-ever flight in the 1980s, flying from Newark, New Jersey, to Florida on Eastern Airlines. I had a window seat. It was in coach. It was probably in the non-smoking section — yes, there was a smoking section on planes back then.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

I look back fondly at the joy I had then and the joy that my daughter has today when flying. Yes, upgrades are nice. But let’s not forget how lucky we all are to embark on new adventures, no matter where we're sitting.

Featured image by (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023