Flying Business Class

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#1
San Bernardino, California
1,058 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
We are considering booking our first river cruise in Europe. Have thought seriously about spending the extra money for business class seats on the flights. Has anyone had experience with flying business class using a cruise line's flight program?

Thank you so much,

Ray
#2
Nashville, TN
79 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
On our last river cruise (May), we decided to upgrade to business class for the trip over, but not for the trip back. When traveling to Europe, I want to sleep. When I'm coming back, I want to stay awake. For me this is the best jet-lag prevention option. So business class wasn't essential for the trip home.

I'm an American Airlines frequent flyer, so I booked American flights using Viking's custom air and made sure that I had exit row seats (MUCH more leg room). I applied to American for business class on the way over, and for some combination of dollars and miles, I got upgraded a couple of months before the trip.

The AA flight from DFW to LHR had lie flat seats. With the seats and an Ambien I slept well! Interestingly, the upgrade did not include 1st/business class on the British Air flight from London to Amsterdam.

Hope this helpful.
OkieCruiser49
#3
Largo, Florida U.S.A.
578 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
We done 5 river cruises and always fly coach. Most flights from the east coast are 5 to 6 hours. Price for business class could run at least $3,000 or more for each. For only that short of a time I would rather put that money into another trip next year. Willard
#4
New Albany, Ohio
556 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We fly either business or premium economy depending on the airline and what's available. Business class is the same whether booked by you or through the cruise line. Always price it yourself through the airline as you may get better flight times and prices booking yourself.
#5
1,790 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by OkieCruiser49
Interestingly, the upgrade did not include 1st/business class on the British Air flight from London to Amsterdam.
British Airways, or BA, or we'll start calling AA, American Air

No surprise on the lack of upgrade, even though AA and BA are part of OneWorld, an upgrade on one doesn't carry over onto the other.

You didn't miss much though, BA European flights just block out the middle seat in 'business' other than that the seats are no better and the flights generally are so short you don't miss much on the service either.
#6
Virginia
1,511 Posts
Joined May 2011
There's a United Amex card that allows you to book one business class seat and get the companion ticket "free". This is how we are going to China from the east coast (13 hours). On the companion ticket, we had to pay taxes and airport fees, so it's not quite "free" but pretty close. We got the 2 business class tickets for aboout $1K more than 2 economy plus seats through the cruise line. This was both ways, with lie-down seats.

It also gets you access to the United airport lounges. This has been great for us. However, the only downside is that when you call United, very few of their customer service people know how this works and it can take a lot of time on hold while the representative checks with their support staff, but if you're patient, it can be worthwhile. (None of this can go through the cruise line company - it only works if you go through United itself.)
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Travel Blog - www.TravelswithElizabeth.com

Prior Cruises:
2009 - A&K Alaska
2010 - Viking Treasures of the Rhine
2012 - Princess Eastern Carribean
June 2012 - Uniworld Waterways of Russia
January 2013 - Princess Southern Caribbean
October 2013 - Imperial China and the Yangtze
April 2014 - Viking Chateaux & Wine and
Viking Southern France B2B
April 2015 - Viking Oceans Star 50-day Maiden
May 2016 - Viking Passage to Eastern Europe

Future cruises:
August 2017 - Ireland & Scotland
#7
1,839 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
We had considered the river cruise company's airfare with an upgrade to Bus. Class but our TA called and said she could do SOOO much better for us…and she did! She was able to reserve the seats many months before the cruise line would do it, so we got good seat choices, too. We're going Bus. Class both ways since I have knee replacements…I come out better being able to put my legs up periodically.
So…check with your TA about this (mine actually called me after we had initially booked EconomyPlus and said she could get me Bus. Class for one leg for $175 more pp…did I want to do that? ;-) YUP! And so it began...
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Jan and Chris

http://www.quiltingjan.smugmug.com recent travel photos





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#8
California
91 Posts
Joined May 2013
BEWARE - once you fly in business you will NEVER go back

Years ago I upgraded (with my points) on a long international flight (11 hrs) with BA - I have never looked back.

Of course I don't fly with American airlines - BA, Virgin or Air NZ.

For me, completely worth it.

Have a great time!
#9
Australia
1,207 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
We always fly Business class now. We flew MEL to YYZ earlier this year - 28 hours door to door.

Next year we will be flying to London. Looking at a minimum of 22 hrs.

We really need a couple of pre cruise or tour days to recover.
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#10
Albany, NY
4,173 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by coolerchick
BEWARE - once you fly in business you will NEVER go back

...

For me, completely worth it.
That pretty much sums it up. Pretty much sold on Business for international travel, since flying to Oz/NZ 5 years ago and upgrading as a special treat to ourselves. We find that we can hit the ground running upon arrival rather than spending 2 or 3 days recovering from a red-eye in Economy, where we can't rest very well. That allows us to justify the upcharge, in our minds, at least...

Plus, the absolute worst part of a long trip is coming home. At least in Business, you can look forward to some part of the journey...
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JP and Chris

Last: Ganges Voyager II (Uniworld) - India's Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges - Feb 2017 (review)

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MS Sun Boat III - Nile River - November 2012 (pics1) (pics2)
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#11
San Bernardino, California
1,058 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this subject. The response has been terrific. I suspect our decision will be to go with the Busines Class......Again, thanks to all that have taken the time to respond.

Ray
#12
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have got a free companion certificate on British Airways, so Business Class takes the same miles as 2 coach seats.
We love BA, not only for the lie flat beds, but for the Business Class lounges.
Neither of us will see 60 again, and those 10 hour coach flights are really brutal on us.

Ray, if you are going out of LAX, the BA lounge in the Bradley terminal is great!
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#13
Mississauga, Canada
472 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
So agree coolerchick!

We flew first class to and from Portugal for our recent Douro River cruise and it will be hard going back to the "cattle" section. We got an upgrade from the airline - we would not have paid for such a luxury as we would prefer to save our pennies for another trip.

I am picky about our seats, so I alway reserve in advance even if it means an additional cost.
#14
Long Island, New York
4,577 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
It's true: once you fly business class you won't fly anything else to Europe or Asia. Our first time was EgyptAir to Cairo and we were hooked! We fly Lufthansa from NY and you could have to add 4 hours to our 7 from west coast. One thing that hasn't been mentioned, well two actually, is use of the business class lounge with it's free food and comfy seating while waiting to board and the separate line through security with little or no waiting and the lie flat seats, and the free wine.....ok that's more than two but you get the idea!
#15
California
91 Posts
Joined May 2013
My OH says a monster was created when I started flying business class.

OMG TraveBugM - THAT'S what I call it too - "cattle"

The lounges are lovely. And you get to stay there right up to boarding time.

And yes, the lovely drinks - even once on board and they wait until the last minute before taking your glass away. Very worth it for long flights.
#16
Mackay Australia
786 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
As it takes us over 30+ hours to get from Australia to Europe we saved an extra year to fly Business Class for the first time in 2011 and it was worth it. We got to sleep for the first time ever on an international flight and our jet lag was not as pronounced. With that in mind we again saved for an extra year and we'll be off to Europe again in 2014.

If we lived on the East Coast of the U.S. with only a 5-6 hour flight we would probably fly economy.
#17
Manalapan, N.J. USA
1,710 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
We live in the NYC area and the shortest flight is to Heathrow at 6 hrs 40 minutes. Wondering which cities will get you over the Atlantic in 5 to 6 hrs?
#18
Long Island, New York
4,577 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by Ozjohnno
As it takes us over 30+ hours to get from Australia to Europe we saved an extra year to fly Business Class for the first time in 2011 and it was worth it. We got to sleep for the first time ever on an international flight and our jet lag was not as pronounced. With that in mind we again saved for an extra year and we'll be off to Europe again in 2014.

If we lived on the East Coast of the U.S. with only a 5-6 hour flight we would probably fly economy.
No, you wouldn't...it's too late for you, you've already flown business class
#19
Long Island, New York
4,577 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by stipmom
We live in the NYC area and the shortest flight is to Heathrow at 6 hrs 40 minutes. Wondering which cities will get you over the Atlantic in 5 to 6 hrs?
Iceland is about 5.5 hours from JFK and well worth the trip! If you've never been, I recommend it, it's gorgeous. Of course, that's assuming that you like fantastic scenery, waterfalls, geysers and night-life! Not to mention the absolutely mind-blowing though man-made Blue Lagoon.
#20
824 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
We returned from our river cruise about 10 days ago. We flew business class on Delta both ways. We booked our own flights. While the economy fares with Vantage were competitive with what we could book on our own, the business fares were not. Vantage wanted $1100 pp more for business class than what we got on our own. For us, business class was worth the price since we fly from Seattle.