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opinions on first class legacy airlines vs. 3rd seat SWA

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by Ace-n-Lucille, Feb 29, 2016.

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  1. Ace-n-Lucille

    Ace-n-Lucille Tourist

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    We haven't flown anywhere since 2006, so I'm out of the loop. And we've never had the wherewithal to fly first class, so are unable to compare it to anything.

    But we've decided on a Vegas trip, and DH will only fly if I can assure him of his comfort: he's larger-than-the-average (okay, he's obese, but I love him and don't think of him that way - we're talking 310 lbs. or so.....), and I've committed a budget to accommodate his flying comfort whatever it takes.

    (Possibility 1): first class on American, United or such. More expensive.
    (Possibility 2): purchasing a 3rd seat on Southwest. Less expensive.

    Any of y'all have personal experiences with one vs. the other? And might have some opinions and/or guidance to offer me?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I do 80 percent of my travel on Alaska now, but have a lot of seat time on SWA over the years. So this will be a generic reply as to we people of size.

    I'm 6'1", 280 or so. To me the standard-class issue is more legroom than seat width ... hell, I fly a lot of little jets, let's talk Embraer if you want to talk fun. I don't need a seat-belt extender. I always take the window. The advantage of an open third seat is that it is just you guys, no worries about crowding out an "innocent" or more likely you, and he can angle a bit for leg relief. But first-class just really makes it all better, and what a way to start and finish a vacay?! Some folks travel for the least coin possible. Some spend more for "luxuries," however that is defined. No one here can really answer this for you. I guess it comes down to HOW much more and what that all means to you two, the $$$ and the comfort. Good luck.
     
  3. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    I am a bargain hunter but have gotten a little hooked on 1st Class. My favorite airline so far for flying First Class is Virgin America. Not sure from what city you are flying but multiple times I have lucked out timing wise and gotten fares for $599 one way, non-stop, from JFK to Las Vegas. Just booked round trip in August, flying out to Vegas the morning of my 52nd birthday. VA doesn't fly from as many U.S. cities as American or United but if it flies from your home town, I would definitely check out VA as I find a good deal on VA is a lot less than First Class on some other U.S. airlines and the service is as good if not better.
     
  4. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Usually, FC seats provide more legroom in addition to the extra width. Plus there's the better service, dedicated restroom, guaranteed access to overhead stowage, free booze, checked luggage and sometimes a meal and free entertainment.

    If the "extras" matter to you - or if you or your husband would benefit from the extra legroom (and unless you're very short, who wouldn't?) - FC might be well worth it. If you just want a bit more width and couldn't care less about the rest of the perks, don't bother with the extra expense.

    Also, all FC cabins are not created equally! Do a bit of research on the airline/plane/configuration you'd be on. Some are more worthy of your money than others.
     
  5. hotreds

    hotreds VIP Whale

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    I am 6"3" 320lbs. I used the third seat option on SW and it was wonderful. I also was refunded for the cost of that third seat. I am getting the third seat option on my March trip out, but will be taking American FC on way back. It's gonna end up costing me a bit less than double, but I decided it was worth it to see how the other half lives. SW rates are a gamble, but I've learned to grab the rates when they are good, I waited too long on the return trip and that is why I ended up going with FC AA. FC does indeed have many more perks, so that fits into the equation as well. I'll be happy to report back in early April if you haven't decided by then!
     
    Will give them a try!
  6. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Spirit offers the "Big Seat" option, but its limited to 4-10 seats per aircraft depending on model and cabin configuration.
     
  7. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    That's correct... buy the third seat and then call SWA after the flight and they will refund the cost back to you under their Customer of Size policy... make sure to request the refund directly back to your credit-card, or else it may end up in your travel funds account, which isn't a big deal if you travel a lot, but if not that's not where you want the money to go. Not sure how far your trip is, but there's nothing like first class!
     
  8. grosx2

    grosx2 VIP Whale

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    How does one qualify for this customer of size policy? I would assume one has to be a certain size....I'm 6'5", 250 lbs, would I be able to purchase an extra seat then get a refund?
     
  9. bignig135

    bignig135 Low-Roller

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    As a large man, I would choose the 3rd. seat option, but if you choose to go FC please do a lot of homework as the facilities vary enormously from airline to airline! In 2015, we flew with United and as always I was jealous of those flying FC, but when I saw the so- called first class cabin, it was a huge disappointment! To pay several times the cost of a normal seat for minimal upgrade would annoy and frustrate you both.
     
  10. wigwam_salesman

    wigwam_salesman VIP Whale

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    In most cases, people in domestic first are flying on free upgrades. Most being 75% plus.
     
  11. Its Only Money

    Its Only Money Low-Roller

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    We always fly FC to Vegas. It is a great way to start and end the trip. If I am going Eastern time zone to Pacific time zone I usually opt for the upgrade whether it is paid or free.
     
    I need one more trip to up my frequent flier level
  12. notfromconcentrate

    notfromconcentrate Low-Roller

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    My argument against going FC is that I've heard many stories of FC passengers being "bumped" into coach - though typically with a refund. While the refund is immaterial in this situation - if this were to happen, it would literally be physically impossible to sit in whatever seat you become assigned to - whereas by taking a third physical seat, the "downgrading" thing can't exactly happen the same way.
     
  13. hotreds

    hotreds VIP Whale

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    yes

    - - - Updated - - -

    yes
     
    Will give them a try!
  14. spdandpwr

    spdandpwr Low-Roller

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    I'm flying first class back from Vegas. I feel like the flight home is the most important because well, your body should recover in peace lol
     
  15. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    You didn't say what the price difference is or where you are flying from. If it's more than 2 hours I'd go with first class (but that depends on what kind of price difference we're talking).
     
  16. Basil

    Basil Low-Roller

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    I do the opposite. First class going there since the flight to Vegas is the longest flight in the world. The flight back, however, is the shortest since I pass out about 5 minutes into it.
     
  17. Ace-n-Lucille

    Ace-n-Lucille Tourist

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    I thank you all for the input. Yeah, it'll probably just come down to how big a price difference there is between the two choices. We don't care about any of the other perks or frills with first class, just DH's comfort for our 2 1/2 - 3 hr. flight.

    Oh yes please do report back for me. You are DH's size and would be a perfect "test case". :)
     
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