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Would You Pay Extra for First-Class Perks in Coach?

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello
September 29, 2021
A few from an airplane coach seat with screens
Anzebizjan/Dreamstime
Some airlines are generously (ahem) offering to raise their meals and amenities game. For a price, that is.

For many Budget Travelers, saving money on flights is not just a practical priority but a point of pride. We find a good deal, reserve it, then we try to beat it. We keep checked bags to a minimum, pack the right snacks, and, of course, resign ourselves to a narrow space in coach with minimal amenities.

But some airlines are playing games with the whole concept of coach lately, as reported by Brian Sumers on Skift.com yesterday, offering first-class and business-class perks to coach passengers. For a price, of course.

FIRST-CLASS FOOD IN COACH

Many of the new perks are on flights to Europe. On British Airways, for instance, passengers can pay more than $20 for a “Taste of Britain” menu. If you’re flying Austrian Airlines and can’t wait till landing for your first bite of schnitzel, it can be yours, for a price. Air France takes things a step further, offering passengers from some U.S. cities an upscale menu similar to the one in business class, including real plates and stemware, for $25.

PAY FOR YOUR PAJAMAS

One airline is taking the pricey perks to an extreme: Etihad Airlines, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will sell coach passengers a pair of pajamas just like those offered for free to passengers in its first-class “apartments,” for $35. Etihad is also selling coach passengers onboard amenity kits, Champagne, and, on the ground, access to its business- and first-class lounges.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Although we’re leaning firmly against the notion of paying extra (and not just extra, but an inflated price) for ephemeral perks that won’t really make our lives any better (why not spend that money at your destination instead of in the air?), we’re always curious to hear what you think. Have you ever paid for first-class perks in coach? Would you consider it?

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