Given that my trip reports revolve primarily around my travels in first and business class, I’m often asked “how often do you actually fly coach?” Well, like everyone else I occasionally get stuck in coach on regional jets without first class. Aside from that, though, I don’t remember very many flights where I’ve been stuck in coach.
I flew in coach from Buenos Aires to Mendoza earlier in the year on Aerolineas Argentinas, though that’s a fairly short flight. Truth be told I don’t remember the last flight before that where I was in coach. I know, I’m incredibly fortunate and I don’t for a second take it for granted (though it’s easy to when your upgrades clear 99%+ of the time).
Anyway, this afternoon I was flying from Chicago to San Francisco and my flight was already sold out in first class at my upgrade window 100 hours out, so I figured I had no shot at the upgrade. At the gate at O’Hare I was number three out of 21 people on the list with first class checked in full, so it goes without saying that I didn’t get the upgrade.
But my flight was actually surprisingly pleasant. Yes, I have a sore rear thanks to the lack of padding, though other than that I was actually surprised by how pleasant coach is. Every last seat was taken on the flight so I didn’t have a whole lot of shoulder space or an empty middle.
Executive Platinum members get complimentary snacks and drinks when they fly coach, though it seems to be very inconsistently offered and can also lead to an awkward conversation for flight attendants that don’t know the policy (“but I’m an Executive Platinum, isn’t it free?”).
In tonight’s case I thought the execution was phenomenal. As we taxied out the flight attendant walked through the cabin with the manifest and stopped at the seats of a few Executive Platinum members seated in coach and discreetly explained that they could have complimentary snacks and beverages if they wanted to, and to just let her know during the drink service. Very classy!
I was served by the other flight attendant (not the one that stopped by my seat), so when I ordered the turkey sandwich and was about to show him my boarding pass, he said “don’t worry about it Benjamin, it’s on us.”
So while I didn’t have all that much personal space, coach wasn’t half bad. And it’s good to fly it once in a while to appreciate first class a little bit more.
Now I might not be so optimistic if my upgrade from Chicago to Delhi doesn’t clear next week…