questionswhen flying on your own dime, do you pay to…

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The one time I upgraded it was on the Air Line's dime since they overbooked the plane. They bumped me up to business class and it was quite impressive. I checked out the price difference afterwards and it was ridiculous. I can't see paying that much for a few inches like you said. And I'm still upset they took out the meal on domestic flights. Coast to coast, 5 hours and a rumbling belly...

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I'm so annoyed at airlines in general that if a trip is under 600 miles, I'd rather drive.
between the time driving to the airport, extra time for security, delays, actual flight time, time waiting to pick up checked bags, and time getting from airport to destination, I can drive about 350-400 miles in the same amount of time. And the cost of gas and wear & tear on my vehicle is less than the price of the airline ticket. AND I don't have to rent a vehicle or rely on public transit at my destination city.

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My husband & I have found that often the upgrade not only covers baggage fees, but the in flight meal ensures us that we don't have to worry about finding a place to eat at the airport. Not to mention the free liquor.
We've also discovered that our baggage is usually the first off the airplane.

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Ah, travel. The bane of my existence, since the silly season has been extended to cover the last decade and more. When I still traveled for work, and used American Airlines as often as possible, my favorite perk was the guaranteed empty seat next to me (due to the large amount of miles I flew). If I chose either window or aisle on a flight that had a three across seat, the center seat was the LAST seat on the airplane to be filled. I'm sure there were some other travelers for whom this was true, but most of those tended to go for upgrades instead.

I'm not very large, in any direction, and First Class/Business Class leg room and other amenities are simply lost on me. The extra attention from the stewardess doesn't make me happy; it annoys me. Having two seats? Wonderful. Sadly, one of the things I gave up by moving to the middle of nowhere was AA, but I loathe travel in any case.

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With all the foolishness that goes on at airports nowadays, I will do almost anything to keep from flying. I expect to make a two day drive to attend Defcon in Vegas. The upside is that I can take weapons if I decide I want to participate in the shoot (unlikely, since they get up too early), alcohol (very likely; I have friends, and buying their affection with alcohol is very effective), multiple computers, and other things I might want to take on a one way trip.

Yes, I could do it in one day. Two days is more pleasant. I'm not trying to replicate the stress and exhaustion of flying, after all.

When I do fly, I almost always take the window seat, and often take some sort of hard backed folder, for self-defense against those people whose butt flows under the arm (I place it next to the arm, between me and them). I'm a fan of the airlines making people buy two seats. They charge me if my luggage is over; why not charge if you don't fit in the seat?

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I have used miles to upgrade under certain situations, however. If I see that the flight will have an excess of children, or other rowdy groups, or if it seems that there will be a child or two that are destined to make a three hour flight seem like thirty hours, I will upgrade to first class without a moment's hesitation.

I also upgrade if I think that I need the sleep, and then tell the stewardess (or whatever they're called nowadays) that I'm going to sleep, and to please not wake me up until we are landing. I put the seatbelt on in such a way that the clasp is visible, curl up, and sleep. Yes, it's true. I can sleep anywhere.

Would I pay to upgrade? I think so. It took more than five years to use up my extra miles (flying my daughter hither and yon, since she could use AA miles), and that included two upgrades to first class for her (because I thought it would be fun, and it was). I've never paid anything but miles, but escaping screaming children can be worth a lot.

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I would never pay full fare for first class, but when an upgrade is offered at a lower price, assuming it is low enough, absolutely. The leg room alone justifies the cost, as I almost always have someone in front of me that leans all the way back. Or at least attempts to, except my knees are in the way, and there's nowhere for them to go.

Everything else is just a bonus, I'd upgrade without them. The food is nice, the "free" alcohol is nice, the "Free" in-flight television (I think it was DirecTV last time) is nice. Without the leg room, those just don't matter. If my legs fit better in coach, I wouldn't think to upgrade unless it were a long (8+ hour) flight.

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@apfrehm: Most everyone I know that's a road warrior changes into the exit rows on planes where that gives more leg room. The exit rows actually have more leg room than first class, which is important if you are over six feet (or so). I'm just a bit over five feet, and of a more petite size, so I am comfortable in most of the seats.

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@shrdlu: Oh I'm definitely a fan of the exit row, but small kids has caused that to no longer be an option. Oddly enough, the flight attendants didn't even flinch the one time we flew with the kids in first class. I don't think we could pull it off now, the youngest is now in the terrible twos, so he wouldn't be satisfied with sleeping / DirecTV for five hours.

Until they are both old enough, I'm stuck (literally) in a regular seat for any family trips.

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Being 5'10" I will if forced to fly coach- choose an exit row where I can get one - and always an aisle seat. Even in first class, the aisle seat is the one I choose. I never purchase first class,but I often do upgrade with miles whenever it is a lomg haul. On occasion at the airport, an upgrade to first is offered for $50 - I would take that in a heartbeat. Most of the flying I do is over 8 hours, and I go for comfort over anything-but do not like to spend a lot of money on it. I love making my own reservations and figuring out where, what the best seats are on what aircraft. Problem is, of course, today with the carriers parking planes out in the dessert, it is rare to find a light load.