“Is the free liquor in business class worth the cost of upgrading?”

Web: www.stevenfrischling.com — E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

2/12/2009 – “Is the free liquor in business class worth the cost of upgrading?”


I frequently receive questions from travelers, ranging from the basics of “When should I check in online?” to the more complicated “Which airline alliance offers the most options for planning a round-the-world trip?”  While I often receive questions comparing airlines, cost benefits of various classes of service, etc.

This morning I received a question I have not yet received from a reader, or heard from anyone else. What was the question? “Is the free liquor in business class worth the cost of upgrading from economy?”

Given the information I have for this person’s travel, “I will be flying from Paris to San Francisco nonstop on December 20, returning on December 23,” the routing limits travel to Air France. Air France does not yet offer Premium Economy on this route (which offer passengers free wine and champagne throughout the flight), so the passenger has two options.

Presently for travel itinerary in place, Economy Class is US$2678 and Business Class is US$6,928 … a difference of US$4,250.

I have flown Air France many times, in both economy class and business class.  I can without a doubt say that if you have the money, Air France’ Business Class is stellar, the seat is comfortable, the service is top notch and the experience is great.  I can also say that I have enjoyed Air France’s economy class on long haul flights, with comfortable seats, good food, quality in-flight entertainment and a stellar experience.

So with this in mind, at $7 per mini-bottle of hard liquor on 11hr 40min, 5,583 mile flight from Paris to San Francisco, where liquor is available for approximately 9hrs 30min of the flight…in order to make the cost difference of upgrading from economy class to business class you would need to consume 607.14 bottles to break even on the cost difference…if you were upgrading entirely based on free liquor.

So…to answer the question at hand… “Is the free liquor in business class worth the cost of upgrading from economy?”

I would have to say not.

Happy Flying!

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