Why I Kinda Hate Flying Business Class With My Dad (But Not Really)

Filed Under: Travel

This is meant mostly tongue in cheek, but also not completely. I’m curious if anyone can relate.

We Are Just Wrapping Up Our Amazing Trip

I’m sorry for the pause in the trip report for my dad’s surprise trip. We’re just wrapping up an incredible 2.5 week trip for my dad’s birthday, which has been so fun. I intended to make the report as “live” as possible, but seven hours of game drives per day while on safari really didn’t leave much time to dedicate to trip reports, given how much time they take to write.

The good news is that we’re now headed back to the US, so I hope to publish the remainder of the report quickly. I’m sad that this trip is over, but I’m also excited to never eat and drink again (forget a lion eating a whole zebra, they feed humans more than that while on safari).

With that out of the way, I wanted to talk about something I feel like I constantly deal with when planning travel for family, and I’m curious if anyone feels the same way.

I Love Planning Travel For Family

I’m obviously a huge airline and product geek. I love to try cool airline products, I love to visit great lounges, and I love to share those experiences with family members.

So in my family we have a rule that no one books a flight without talking to me first. I’m the “expert” in that regard, and I’ve learned that spending a bit of time upfront helping to plan travel for family saves me a lot of headache down the road (for example, “I didn’t want to bother you, so I redeemed 360,000 SkyMiles for an economy ticket to Frankfurt… is that a good deal?”).

The problem is that I always get super excited when I can book family members on airlines I really love, though I also need to come to terms with the fact that I’m usually more excited than they are.

Perhaps more accurately they are excited, but getting them to follow my tips for “maximizing” flights turns into a chore. I’ve learned not to expect a family member flying Lufthansa first class to walk 20 minutes to the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt just so that they can be driven to the plane in a car. 😉

My Dad Loves Premium Travel, But…

We’re currently well into a very long journey on Qatar Airways, where we’re flying 25+ hours in business class. My dad absolutely loves flying first and business class, is incredibly grateful for it, and would never complain about a flight. I know he even actively enjoys it.

The problem is he refuses to actually “maximize” the experience, at least by my standards. What do I mean? We just completed a 10 hour flight, and:

  • While he napped for about four hours, it was entirely in the upright position
  • He didn’t watch any movies or TV shows, but rather spent the other six hours just looking at the map

“Dad, do you want to recline your seat so you can sleep?”
“No Benny, I am not tired, I will just rest my eyes”

*proceeds to sleep for three hours in the upright position*

“Do you want me to help you pick out something to watch?”
“No Benny, I don’t need that.”

He has literally spent this entire flight in the upright position, and the only entertainment he has enjoyed is the moving map.

The problem is that he’s really happy and is enjoying the flight. He just does so very differently than I do, and that’s something I struggle to come to terms with.

I realize I can’t change what makes him happy, but it sure would make me happy if he would just recline his seat so that I could feel better about this.

On our outbound flight in Air France first class he slept upright from New York to Paris, and only after begging him did he agree to have his bed made on the flight from Paris to Johannesburg.

I fully recognize I just need to accept that this is how he travels, and that he’s actually enjoying himself. It’s just tough to come to terms with him preferring to not take advantage of the features offered in the cabin.

On the plus side, Ford is well trained in how best to enjoy a flight. He has spent most of the flight reclined while watching episodes one through six of the latest season of Real Housewives of Potomac — now that’s how you maximize a flight!

(Meanwhile I have literally spent the past eight hours organizing and editing photos on my laptop from our trip… FML.)

Anyone else have similar experiences when traveling with family in a premium cabin?

  1. My mom always said she’d never be lucky enough to fly in a lie flat seat. Well, I got her on a relatively short flight with lie flats. She is a tiny 5’2″ woman, 80 years old and very very active for her age. I got her settled in and then when we were flying I showed her how to recline her seat and hit the button for her. By the time she got to about 60% flat she started freaking out. At 100% she said she thought she was in a coffin. Sat up the entire rest of the flight. So, there’s that…

  2. Your dad should be ashamed 😉 letting a lie-flat bed go to waste like that. When I fly business I decline my seat the moment I board, keeping it in a reclined position for as long as possible, for the principle of the thing.

    I kinda think it can be argued that people like us fail to maximize our happiness by trying too hard to max out on the perks, we’re on the other extreme of your dad.

  3. I see your point, but not everyone shares the same value in ‘optimizing a flight’ as you do, and that’s okay! I would probably prod my parents as well, but if they are happy, then that is all that matters! I think it is adorable that he stares at the map for 6 hours!

  4. Lucky, if you and Ford are looking to adopt a fully grown man-child in his 30’s, I’d be happy to walk well over 20 minutes when flying LH in first just to be driven to the plane. I also promise to fully recline in my seat with a hamster bottle full of Krug. Lmk thanks.

  5. Ben
    That’s a cute article. I am also a fair bit older than you and prefer upright napping. One day, when heartburn starts being your enemy you’d understand. For me it’s either food or sleep…

  6. My mother is like that in way… but she does use the flat bed. No IFE, no alcohol, barely eats any food. Just reads her book and rests horizontally (she doesn’t sleep much on planes either). She took some CX F flights I booked for her this year and her highlight was watching the polar regions from the plane and chatting with the flight attendants 🙂 But F or J is the most comfortable way for her to travel and that’s all that matters.

  7. My folks are kinda like that. They’ll often travel in a premium cabin, then proceed to both fail to maximize the experience AND complain how they don’t see what’s so great about the experience.

    Recent exchange with my mom after she’d flown UA’s Polaris:

    Her: “The seat was really uncomfortable for sleeping.”
    Me: “Did you ask for a mattress pad like I reminded you before you left?”
    Her: “No. That’s silly.”


  8. Hello Ben,
    I have an explanation, my dad is 75 and he likes to watch TV or read in his recliner that he barely recline. I see him watching TV and next thing you know sound asleep in his recliner upright. what I’m trying to say is, that’s how old people are. lie flat is not necessarily their most comfortable position. Side note, my dad worked a couple of decades and retired from United and still have his flying benefits. He often fly business class and does not like reclining the seat to fully flat. It’s not that your dad do not want to “experience” the full business class flight, it’s just he’s old; like my dad.

  9. I often just watch the map. I also don’t watch movies too much. But I surely lay flat and sleep. I don’t ask for anyone to make the bed up and I don’t use the slippers (or the blankets often). I just sleep. On the other hand, I overeat all the food because I consider it all paid for and I gotta enjoy it!

    What I surely enjoy is the space which is mine and the usual quiet which goes with it. People are different.

  10. I can relate. I helped my parents (both in their 70’s) book BA J flights a few years ago (great sale and AARP discount) ATL-LHR-ATL. It was actually cheaper than economy on any other airline. They loved the lounge experience but when they returned my Mom told me she didn’t want to fly J ever again. She hated that they keep trying to give her food and drinks! And she kept hitting the night light button. The horrors of being offered service! Now I only book them E+ on Delta which they love.

  11. A few years ago I sprung for business class tickets to South Africa for my sister and brother in law, as it was her 60th birthday present. My brother in law spent the whole flight sitting up (both segments) from US to Europe and onwards to SA. He also had a briefcase on his lap a good deal of the time even though I don’t recall that he actually opened it. It kind of annoyed me that I spent all this money and felt he wasn’t “taking advantage” of the comfort and luxury of business class. I eventually got over it and realized that since it didn’t impact me in any way, I should stop obsessing about it. To each their own.

  12. I just got back from a 2-month European cruise/vacation with an 76-yo friend. we were very active. A 28-day Cruise, two weeks in London, etc.

    I had decided that after 2 months of sightseeing, the best way to get back to the states was on a ship. So I booked and paid for a suite for us on QM2 transatlantic. Granted, it was supposed to be a relaxing and restorative crossing, 7 days at sea. But she spent a lot of the crossing in the cabin, reading, watching some TED talks, etc. I was disappointed she did not get out more, to enjoy the plethora of experiences offered on board.

    But she had a fabulous time on QM2 … and I just need to accept that this is how she wanted to travel.

  13. Laughed so hard at this.

    Dad… recline…
    No I’m good..
    But dad… you…
    No this is fine…
    Dad it can turn into a bed…


  14. Love this. My mom would do the same thing….. Potomac is really good this season, looking forward to the reunion.

  15. Like they say: you need to know the band things to really appreciate the good ones.

    Maybe if you put him in Economy in US airlines for a few flights he could change his mind 😀

  16. My dad, 80, will poke at the tv options but always ends up at the map. He’s 6’4″ and yet is just as fine in an E aisle as he is in any better seat. The only thing I force on him is water, sitting there he doesn’t think to drink anything. He’ll pick at the snacks in E but water is the problem. Now my parents almost exclusively fly E+ and love it…to the point that whenever I talk miles and award trips with them they just brush it off.

    And the older I get the more I find I’m watching the map 🙂

  17. Maybe Lucky could relate this way: Whenever I read all the hotel reports from all the great destinations, I always wonder what a waste of time and effort to stay in the hotels. How wonderful would it be to go and “maximize” the trip by eating local food, meeting local people, engaging in conversations, learning some history, gosh, even going to museums. Instead, its a trip from this conrad to this hyatt, from this marriott to that andaz.

  18. I guess your dad is traveling the way he feels like traveling. I never use the IFE on flights because I’m reading on my iPad or snoozing. I’d never do it myself but if staring into the map is interesting to him then go ahead, it’s his life.

    You do, however, get in to one of my MAJOR pet peeves, namely, saying one thing and doing another. Do not tell me you aren’t sleepy and then proceed to sleep for three hours. If you don’t want to convert the seat into the lie flat position, then don’t. All you need to say after being asked if you’d like to convert the seat is “No thanks, it’s fine like it is”.

  19. I felt horrible that i went to sleep right after dinner on Iberia HAV-MAD, woke up just 30mins to landing and missed breakfast. Didn’t watch a single movie & only had 2 glasses of wine. Ok atleast i made use of the fully flat bed & slept soundly.

  20. Older folk don’t particularly enjoy reclining fully. And there is no harm in watching the moving map instead of movies :). Just had my first lie flat bed experience on ANA and truly was a bit comfortable in that positon as now your whole view point has changed. Staring at the ceiling is no fun 🙂 Just stayed in that position to get some solid sleep of five hours. Slept like a log.

  21. I can relate. We booked SQ business and managed to snag bulkhead seats for our LAX to NRT flight about a week ago. My wife proceeds to stay upright the entire flight…

  22. Lol @mallthus. My mom never requests the mattress pad either, it’s like she is embarrassed to ask for it and doesn’t want to inconvenience the FAs.

  23. Lucky!! You nailed this one!!! I literally feel exactly the same being the family “travel-keeper” and also when I flew with my mom, and she refused to recline the seat in Jetblue Mint class 🙁

  24. Forget old people, my under-50 husband is just as bad. We settle into our seats on a long-haul flight, he pulls out his Kindle, and he’s happy for the next 8, 10, 12 hours. Rarely reclines, never watches a movie (upside, I always put the airmap on his monitor so I can look at it while I watch the 3, 4, 5 ridiculous movies that I would never watch at home). “Why haven’t you put your pajamas on?” “I’m fine.”

    He generally listens to his own music, though I was massively embarrassed last weekend when he summoned the FA to inform him his B&O headphones weren’t working and the FA pointed out that he had plugged them into the RGB ports rather than the headphone port. OMG, is it your first time on a plane?!

    Bottom line, I learned a long time ago to just let him do his thing while I make maximum use of all features and benefits!

  25. I love reading your travel tips and points of view, but have never commented.
    I’m 61 and my daughter and son (late 20s) still go on vacation with us. My wife is our (/her!) extended family’s travel maven/seer. She loves to help, but, oddly, not everyone likes to be “helped” the “same way” (smile).
    It’s hard for many parents to accept help, but deep inside we’re so proud of our sons and daughters. We beam at parties when we talk about how smart, happy and successful our [grown] children are. If you haven’t seen it already, you *must* watch Netflix’s “Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father.”
    Sure, it’s a reality TV show of sorts and sure it’s a tad ‘staged,’ but the underlying themes are funny.

  26. My mom is in her 80’s and a few years ago we took a flight on AA from MIA to JFK in first. It was a 767 with angle flats. I looked over after we took off and she had found the duvet and pillow reclined to seat all the way and had went to sleep! I was stunned! That was her first time in an angled flat seat and it was like 230 in the afternoon! She tells all her friends her seat was a bed and she slept all the way (2+hours) to NY ROFLOL!

  27. My husband is exactly the same. perhaps it is a “guy” thing. He sits bolt upright for the entire trip alternating between sleeping and reading the print copy of a book…no Kindle or Tablet for him.
    He never turns on the entertainment system probably because he does not know how to operate it. For the entire journey, I keeping reciting to myself 98,000 miles, 98,000 miles, 98,000 miles. I keep threatening to book him in coach and save the miles but, as of yet, I have not had the heart to do it.

  28. Lucky, the more you describe your father, the more I swear you’re talking about mine. I remember the first time I booked him in F to come visit me when I was living in Australia – when I picked him up, I excitedly asked how well he slept, only to find out he never. reclined. the. seat. let alone allowed it to be made into a full bed. He just didn’t feel the need, not once over the course of 14+ hours, apparently. And here I am, 46 years younger than him, moaning if I can’t get a lie flat on a transcon haha!

  29. A UA flight attendant once told me that more people watch the map (or at least leave it on) than any other option.

  30. Not sure its an older person thing I’m 66 my partner 33 I sleep a large percentage of the flight …. arrive fresh and ready, the other half though stays up all 10-12 hours wasting the value of the J or F seat only to play video games… thus arriving tired, cranky and a PITA… so back to E+ for him

  31. Put my father in law in business class a couple of times – he watched the flight status map and sat up the whole time. Told him he could do that in coach, and he agreed! Now he does that in coach. sits up and stares at the map for 8 hours or more! Meanwhile, I take every delight in biz class.

  32. I’ve flown twice RTW in F with a friend (all on points), not once has he ever reclined his seat, he’s quite proud of it too! Whatever floats your flight I guess. I’m more of the ‘put the PJ’s on and get the bed made’ persuasion.

  33. I cherish that my 84y/o mum enjoys spending my inheritance by only flying J or F. She has strong views on QR over BA and is as astute a consumer as a 20y/o avgeek. I don’t care if she sleeps upright, drinks only water and rarely watches a film.

    I suggest everyone just savours sharing such a flight while they can. I only managed one with my dad.

  34. That’s a question of age and discipline. Look at your fathers clothes. He is well dressed and represents sophistication. Sleeping in public is not what life taught them.

  35. It’s funny how ‘value’ is defined so differently by each of us. I personally cannot imagine flying business class because for the cost of the flight, I can stay in great hotels or if using points, take multiple trips for the same price. This also reminds me of a friends episode where Ross refuses to leave his hotel room till the absolute last minute for fear of not getting what he paid for.

  36. I’m not nearly as old as Lucky’s Dad but I also like the flight maps, only occasionally watching a movie if it’s something I haven’t seen and looks interesting. Otherwise, I read or stream stuff on my iPad or work on my laptop. I always sleep several hours fully reclined on night flights, never upright. On daytime flights it’s enough to have my legs and feet elevated and just recline while working, streaming video or reading. I will not force sleep if I’m not tired. The part I never do is change into jammies.

  37. OMG can I relate! I have traveled with my dad several times in Business Class now, He at least will watch movies or TV, but rarely reclines his seat and then arrives tired at our destination. It is so annoying, but I am just glad to be able to be traveling with him.

  38. At some point, you’ll learn that life would be much richer if you were more like you dad, rather than wishing he was more like you.

  39. I rarely ever watch movies on a long haul. When I get on an airplane, the first thing I do is switch on map. I prefer to play games on my iPad than play games/watch movies on IFE. I don’t like the taste of alcohol so I never drink any. But I do enjoy a good toiletry bag (hello rimowa from EVA and La Premiere toiletry box) as well as good food. Comfortable bed is a must as well (BA F is good enough although I prefer Emirates F or La Premiere) and stylish pj is much appreciated (La Premiere, JAL, and Cathay are my favs). My point is everyone enjoys their J or F experience differently just be glad that you have the ability to provide them with such luxury. Most people want to but don’t have the means/ miles to do it for their love ones.

  40. Very interesting post Ben. When I was your age I also did some amazing trips with my dad. Including a life time memory Concorde return trip from London to New York.

    What I didn’t realise then was a lot of older folks suffer from acid reflux, particularly after consumption of copious amounts of first class food and beverages, that prevents them from laying flat.

    Being ‘older’ myself now I finally realise this. People of my parents age would never even mention this. It would be very impolite.

  41. I love this post. While the story here is a cute one, it reminded me of a post I read long ago where a traveller on an international business class flight paid for by her workplace was complaining about the elaborateness of the meals. She didn’t wish to be “la la’d” after but wanted simple hearty stuff. I almost wrote back saying how she would be doing her workplace a favour if she insisted on a economy seat next time, where she belonged.

  42. Haha you dad is just like me. I flew to Japan on Ana in First and was the only one who didn’t get my bed made in both directions. They must of asked 10 plus times if I wanted my bed made. I’m sure they were thinking “What a waste of an F seat” lol….

  43. My parents do the exact same thing!! They like the food in economy better :-/ I’m trying economy plus now . Might be a better fit for them than business..

  44. Man my parents are kinda like that too! It drove me crazy the first time for sure. But I’ve slowly grown to accept it. If they’re truly comfortable that’s all that matters

  45. I’m with Mike. Heartburn, snoring, sleep apnea, there are more. If you are not 100% read in on your dad’s health, then you can’t make the call or make disparaging comments. Some folks want as many flight amenities as they can get but can’t fully recline.

  46. As long as you have pointed out to him the options, let him choose what makes him happy. Everyone has their own preferences.

  47. To be honest, I totally agree with your dad. Imagine if we are one who can PAY for premium cabins that we fly every time like spending our pocket changes? You won’t have the urge to maximize any benefits. It’s life. Just having the thought of maximizing the benefits show that we are more like those people buying counterfeit items to enjoy the glamourous life.

  48. I’m sorry, I can only read “Mimimimi my dad is not appreciating my miles enough”. The quality of this blog has lots of ups and downs lately

  49. To each his or her own. If he is happy, why stress about it? My 90-year-old mother for many years has slept in a Laz-Z-Boy recliner. She doesn’t like being flat – can’t sleep. Even in the hospital they brought in a Laz-Z-Boy for her so she could sleep after surgery. And my partner only watches the map – he has not interest in TVs or movies. If he is happy, you should be happy too. It certainly shouldn’t bother you.

  50. Just leave your Dad alone and don’t try to run his life! What makes you even think that you are entitled to tell your Dad how to spend his time?

  51. Economy class syndrome????
    Not really such a thing. 🙂


    You are missing the whole point of flying premium. You paid extra for the luxury of choice and privacy. To do as I wish when I wish.
    Being able to do things my way, now that is maximizing life.

    In coach:
    You don’t get to ‘choose’ if you want to walk or take a Porsche.
    You don’t get to ‘choose’ a right sitting position to rest your eyes.
    You don’t get to ‘choose’ if you want a single solo seat or sit in a pair.
    You don’t get to ‘choose’ when you want to eat or drink.
    You don’t get to ‘choose’ if you want to take shower.

    And the list goes on.
    If you ask me, your dad maximized his life just fine.

    Maybe your dad is also not sleeping or watching movie just to wait for some one on one personal time with his Benny, you just didn’t get the message.

  52. Not quite a maximizing plane story, but I just spent a week at lux north male atoll in June and we sprung for the all inclusive so all alcohol was included. Every day at lunch the waiter would ask me if I wanted a cocktail and I’d always say no. The last day we were there he asked again and I said no. He then paused and said “if I was all inclusive I’d have the waiter throwing bottles at me every single day. Why are you wasting this?” The interesting part is he was Maldivian so legally he can’t drink but he told me when they go to Sri Lanka everyone drinks.

  53. Some people don’t like to lie flat and are perfectly happy in premium economy. I was upgraded from premium economy to business on BA from DEN to LHR last month, through no act of my own, and would have been happier if I had stayed in premium. Let you Dad do what he wants.

  54. Haha so relatable!!! Got my parents moved up front to Business on a recent CX A330 (it was so empty ) and all the EXACT same things happened. The damn map LMAO

  55. You mentioned he´s a million miler on Delta, so give him the benefit of doubt that he knows what he´s doing. I do the same. I just sit there, eat, drink, stare at the moving map and be alone with my thoughts while I stare out of the window. I´m happy that way and I´d be fairly annoyed if someone would ask me to recline or do this or that or whatever.

  56. It’s like giving a non connoisseur a shot from a $5000 bottle… It’s a bit better than Jack Daniels to them, but not much. It’s wasted on them, but real joke is on you for developing an expensive taste for such a thing, which now precludes you from enjoying Jack Daniels.

  57. He probably knew you’d choose some God-awful crap ( Real/Desperate Housewives of Somewhere/ Adele concerts/Drag Races), so preferred to stare at a map. Good choice.

  58. I don’t agree with sitting upright but one can have hours of fun with the moving map.

    1. You can imagine new routes for the airline or for one aircraft.
    2. You can plan military conquests with the map.
    3. You can imagine what it’s like in the cities you overfly.

  59. I don’t find it unusual. My request in a flight is to be left alone to relax. I never dine on board nor use the entertainment on a flight. As a frequent flyer in premium classes, the products are about the space and comfort. For me, the remaining perks are immaterial. Therefore, I completely understand your father.

  60. I prefer sitting and sleeping at a slight incline as well. I’m also not interested in the IFE. Anything worth watching I already have. I can totally relate to your dad – I am much more interested in getting to my destination rested. To each their own.

  61. I don’t know about everyone else, but I prefer to sleep at a slightly reclined position like your dad. I’m typically piss drunk, but in a polite old man kind of way, about 1.5hrs into a flight (doesn’t matter the length). I’m always frightened at the fact that after I go unconscious, I may start convulsing and vomiting all the liquor up. If I’m laying down, that’s going to be one heck of a mess. Whereas sitting up reclined and slightly reclined, there’s a good chance it will just end up in the area between the business class seat frame and the window. Always need to plan ahead and think things through. After I land, I’ll spend about 10 writing my trip reports for the blog before heading to bed.

  62. Ben, enjoy the times with your Dad, upright, map viewing and all. I would upgrade my deceased Mom every chance I got. She was so shy to “bother” the flight attendants for anything but loved the attention. Once she flew solo from EWR to our home airport PBI. Upon picking her up she’s as giddy as a teenager. She immediately boasts, “I got upgraded to First Class without you!” I of course asked how. She said “I asked”.

  63. On the other hand, my mom put the seat in bed mode and laid down before takeoff. I helped the nicely hesitant FA explain the proper etiquette.

  64. In due time you won’t have memories of how your Dad was sleeping, nor will he; but rather the experience of where you took him and the memories made.

    It’s something he’ll always remember and while it may bother you that he isn’t getting the full experience ( ie sleep positions), he fully is experiencing what the point of this trip was.

    He is a lucky Dad indeed and to be able to do this type of trip will have a lifetime impact for you both.

    You won’t be looking back in 20 years wishing things were different with the seat, although I do fully understand your thought process.

    Thanks for sharing such an incredible journey!

  65. This is soo funny. Sometimes people can fall asleep easier without trying. I can fall asleep anywhere, but I cannot go to bed to sleep without everything being just so. I then spend an hour flopping around in a fit cause I can’t sleep. All you can do is make sure his stuff is functioning, he knows how to do it and then let it go.

  66. “He has literally spent this entire flight in the upright position, and the only entertainment he has enjoyed is the moving map.”

    I guess it s like inviting someone to a 3 stars’Michelin restaurant but that person would only eat the bread and be very happy and grateful about it.

    Ben,just give your dad this article to read and then never take him again on 1st Class or Business class.
    After reading your article and the comments ,he won’t ask for “high maintenance” anymore as,he is not stupid.

  67. I am too selfish to spend what little miles I collect (only flying 75k a year now – down from 150k) on family, s Ii can not relate to that, but the booking thing…I TOTALLY get.
    like you (and most people here) I am an aviation geek and nerd. I love it and after years of struggles I finally have the family understanding the “check with me before you buy” rule. What gets my goat is when they do that, and I find a better deal or routing (which as you know can take some time and out of the box thinking? They book something else anyway! Why did you even ask my advice if you were going to ignore it because you don’t like spicy food or their neighbour who flys once in a lifetime had a bad experience with an airline in the 90s….

  68. In my business class flights I never watch anything other than the map as well. There still is nothing cooler travel related than lying down in a bed on an airplane. I recline flat or near flat and take in my surroundings, listen to music on my iPad and go on the internet. There isn’t a need for entertainment when you can lie in bed and go to sleep or close your eyes and think about how cool it still is. The question in business becomes not how long do I have left on the flight but how much time do I have to sleep or relax before the plane lands. I can watch those crappy movies anytime.

  69. My family and I just finished a trip in business from HKG-KIX-TPE-HKG, my mom is 78 years old and she had never been on a business class, she was over the moon. I showed her how to recline the seat into a flat bed but it was just a 4 hour flight from HKG to KIX so she said she just need the leg rest. She wanted to listen to Elvis or BeeGees, she got her wishes. No alcohol for her and no TV/movie, she read the newspaper and hardcover books. She was happy. The whole point to take your folks to fly in more premier class is to make them happy, if your dad is happy with upright position seat and watching on a moving map, then let it be. As long as he is happy then you are happy.

  70. You & Dad are mirror images me and my other half, LOL. I’m perfectly happy sitting upright drinking champagne and reading my economist the entire flight with the map on…. while BF puts seat up and down 40x and keeps asking me “are you gonna nap? you should put your seat down….”… “arent you gonna watch a movie?!”…..

  71. My father in law is like that. He flew all the way to Australia upright in a suit with the Jacket on, because that’s how you are supposed to dress in premium cabins. He also refused to visit any lounges out of fear of missing the flight. We tried to educate him before the flight…
    My father on the other hand did as he was told by us and used the Etihad onboard shower on his return flight 🙂

  72. My experience tends to be the opposite. I have family that is so un-accustomed to business/first class travel that when they do, they act like rotten brats. They run the flight attendants ragged with their incessant requests: more drinks, more snacks, more this, more that. There’s nothing that says “I don’t belong here” more than someone utilizing every perk and amenity as if they know that they likely will never be back!

  73. I fly a lot for both business and pleasure in Business and First Class around. Sometimes I am so tired that I just fall a sleep in upright possition and skip the meals. Other times after the meal I just recline a seat (like 150 deg) and watch moving map till I fall a sleep. Some other times I just eat the meal, spend time in bar and watch movies. For me is most important that I enjoy the flight no metter if I have 5 course meal, working time or just sit back and watch the clouds pass.

  74. Lol that’s too funny thanks for sharing. I can relate I was fortunate to be able to fly business class with my children many times and I’d constantly insist to have them put the seat down as much as possible even though they didn’t want to or didn’t care. But with your dad that’s a whole other level!

  75. I often simply put my father in another cabin. One of the most enjoyable flights in my life was on SQ when I delivered my dad to the lovely FA’s in F and my husband and I enjoyed a peaceful and quiet trip in C.

  76. Ben, the map is a hit with older people. Flew with my Frankfurt – Doha – Maldives in QSuites, and she entertained herself by looking at the map. She did recline to the fully flat position – surprised me big time as the Finnair business class flight Chicago to Helsinki was almost exclusively upright.

    The article made me smile as many people are into their ways, and often nothing can change that.

  77. The hardest part for me about quitting drinking was feeling like I wasn’t taking enough advantage of the lounges and biz class experiences on my long hauls. Ironic, since the lounges and the long hauls are one of the biggest reasons I quit drinking. 🙂

  78. I can definitely understand your feelings — I’ve had similar reactions to treating family members to other things I’m passionate about.

    I’ll get a test of this specific reaction next spring — I’m taking my mom to Dubai, Tuscany, and Venice for her 75th birthday, flying Emirates A380 F from SFO-DXB-FCO, and she’s already refusing to take a shower!!

    Ah, parents! 🙂


  79. I say to each their own. I hear people lamenting the disappearance of IFE in seatbacks switching to BYOD. For me, this is a non-issue since I travel with my i-Pad and Pixel 3XL for my entertainment. IFE is usually off or the Flight Map is displaying.

    It does sound like a role reversal… the child parenting the parent helicopter style on a plane lol

  80. Ben, about your Dad not being able to enjoy first class to the fullest:

    You might not realize it, but all children complain about their old folks idiosyncrasies…a generational thing that has been going on for millenniums…but you WILL become your father when you’re about his age, you know that, right?
    So – look at him lovingly and say to yourself: I will become you. In the meantime I have to quickly enjoy not being there yet, knowing it’s just a matter of time.

  81. Lol Ben – I just finished a trip with my 94-year old mom to Africa using qsuites, Emirates 1st and Etihad apartments, and her version was:

    She reclined in qsuites and Emirates first, but didn’t let them make up the bed (and didn’t use the bed on Etihad).

    Most hilariously, she watched all sorts of movies…but wouldn’t use the headphones or closed captioning, so all she did was literally watch. And here’s the thing: she was completely happy, and said she even loved two of the movies!

    To each their own.

  82. I think your dad just likes sitting in a big armchair. My dad’s the same. all the way to Europe from Asia on business and he only slept 3 hours upright. I think he is just like many old folks who prefer a proper bed instead of a seat that fully reclines into a flat bed. doesn’t even change into the complimentary pjs. Having said that, he did eat his way through all 4 flights and in your words “maximises” the dining experience. I swore he never stopped eating even after midnight. Just kept going. And i think the FAs never slept a wink.

  83. My dad doesn’t feel comfortable lying his seat flat when sleeping in front of strangers. Maybe he’s old fashioned? I dunno. He also doesn’t appreciate good food and alcohol so doesn’t care about that first/business class perk. He has told me that , despite his endless airmiles, he’d just as soon fly trans atlantic western bound in economy plus because there’s no difference!

  84. You should be grateful your dad is still alive and you can take a vacation with him. I’d give anything to be able to fly someplace and enjoy more time with my dad. yet you have to crap all over that experience because he doesn’t enjoy the flight the way you think he should. I’ll pray that my son doesn’t grow up to be as shallow as you are.

  85. Wow there’s some people here who really need to lighten up. This was a light-hearted post doing some gentle teasing, hardly a smackdown of Ben’s father. A *lot* of avgeeks get excited about flying, and we want our friends and family to be as excited as we are and experience everything we love. That’s hardly a marker for someone’s character.

  86. I’m glad Jack explained this inane post. The post is annoying, but now I see that it’s supposed to be funny. It’s not funny either … left me with a sensation of disbelief that anyone would care how anyone else spends their time on an airplane. I’d rather have seen a few photos of animals he encountered.

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