For most airline passengers, flying economy class is understood as a given, as the price of flying first class is simply not manageable.
Those that can afford to fly first class, however, enjoy a far more comfortable experience before and during the flight.
First class passengers often have access to shorter security lines. They get their bags checked for free. They aren’t required to wait in the long economy class lines for boarding.
During the flight, first class travelers have more room in their seats to get comfortable. They also have more options for food and free beverage service that includes alcoholic drinks, including champagne.
Southwest Airlines (LUV) – Get Free Report does not offer a true first class experience, but its Business Select fares include priority boarding, security and check-in. These passengers are also issued a free drink coupon.
Some Spouses Fly in Different Classes On the Same Plane
While wealthier travelers enjoy flying in first-class luxury, most passengers in economy class are comparatively cramped and upright.
But another experience has been getting attention lately: spouses who travel separately, one in first class and one in coach.
As travel writer and influencer Ben Schlappig wrote on Aug. 7, it’s often husbands in first class as their wives, and maybe even children, travel in economy class.
“I recently took a domestic American Airlines first class flight,” Schlappig wrote in One Mile At a Time. “About 15 minutes after takeoff, while the seatbelt sign was still on, a woman came up from economy and sat on her husband’s armrest, and started kissing him, rubbing his back, etc. She then returned to her economy seat a short while later.”
“About 15 minutes later, a separate wife and son came up to say hi to another dad in first class,” he added.
This had Schlappig exploring his thoughts about what he had just seen.
“The whole thing left me scratching my head a bit, especially the woman who came up and was super affectionate to her husband while she was back in economy,” he wrote. “Goodness, I’d be in the doghouse if I did that regularly. Of course let me state that I’m not judging any of those people — I just noticed the pattern, and find the overall topic to be interesting.”
Schlappig suggests a couple “legitimate reasons” spouses might fly separately in this fashion.
Maybe you’re traveling for work and your business pays for a premium cabin seat, and then your spouse tags along, so you book them an economy seat.
Maybe you have elite status with an airline, and get an upgrade to a premium cabin, while the upgrade doesn’t clear for your spouse.
If one of the spouses is too large to be comfortable in economy class, this might be another reason to do it, Schlapper concedes.
But he suggests alternative methods to handling situations where a couple or family is traveling and there is only one first class seat available.
If the airline allows you to change cabins mid-flight (some airlines allow it one time), you could always each have half of the flight in first or business class, and half of the flight in economy.
Otherwise there’s nothing wrong with trading off, where you get the premium seat on one flight, and your spouse gets the premium seat on the next flight.
Or you can just spend some time with your spouse and sit next to them in economy, and make someone else happy, by allowing them to have the upgrade.
Or if you really want to score bonus points, just give away your premium seat to your spouse more often than not; odds are that if you’re the one getting a seat in a premium cabin (for whatever reason), then your spouse will also appreciate it more; maybe they’ll make it up to you in other ways!
One user of X, formerly known as Twitter, said he recently did exactly this. The writer of the post, @Lally36, insisted he offered to give the first class seat up.
I just did it last Wed 😂. I did ask her over and over if she wanted the seat but she said no.
— D L (@Lally36) August 7, 2023
Another, @BeaumontB65, posted a suggestion an a different approach.
Both fly eco. Inflatable neck pillow, blanket with seat belt secure over blanket, half a sleeping tab, seat in recline = no idea what class you’re in. Don’t care, limit expectations. Survivable. Wake to a hot cup of coffee and gratitude for a safe flight.
— GB (@BeaumontB65) August 7, 2023
User @PeterMcDermott kept it simple.
You’d have to be very very brave 😂
— Peter McDermott💙 (@PeterMc_Dermott) August 7, 2023
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