Voluntary Downgrade from Tri-Cabin First Class

I fly on a weekly basis, usually in premium cabins, but it is not often that I find myself in tri-cabin first class. Thanks to a bump this morning in Philadelphia, I landed myself in first class on UA967, the evening internationally-configured 777 that travels from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles each day. Yet ultimately, I rode across the country in a regular old domestic first class seat on an A320. Why?

First, it wasn't due to another bump—flights appeared to be under control today at Washington Dulles, as I did not observe one oversell situation during my layover. It is Good Friday, and I had plans to have dinner with my family and attend church tonight. For $300 and the chance to fly on 777 in first class, though, I was willing to make the sacrifice and my family certainly understands my travel addiction hobby and supports me 100% (though I don’t always tell them when I go to rogue countries until after I return!).

Anyway, I did try to get back in time, but it so happened that the evening 777 flight was the only flight with available premium class space. I flew down to Washington on United Express and made it a point to check the 12:29 departure to Los Angeles, thinking (and hoping in the back of my mind) that a first class seat would open such that I could get home in time for everything this evening.

Sure enough, one seat had opened up, and a customer service agent was quickly able to confirm me on the flight—I even got a great seat (3A). It was not easy giving up a 5hr ride in a first class suite. There’s just something fun about flying in true first class, even on United, and I may not get another chance to do so this year or next—these opportunities don’t come around too often.

Still, family is more important and five hours with them during my quick weekend trip home will mean a lot to them and to me. So away I went. The flight wasn't bad and its good to see ice cream sundaes with all the fixings back on these transcon routes.

What would you have done? Just to be clear, this wasn't a formal dinner, just a "regular" family dinner. Ultimately, I was just content to add a $300 voucher to my collection and fly across the country in first class today, even if I did lose out on the 250% award miles bonus I would have received had I stuck with the later tri-cabin flight (in addition to my 100% 1K bonus).


Ed April 8, 2012 at 04:11 pm

You definitely did the right thing -- it is family and Easter. Who knows when another chance to gain those bonus miles will appear. This one was unexpected. But you can't put a price on family.

Randolph April 9, 2012 at 04:07 am

I find it's no longer "exciting" to fly first-class. I would have taken whatever got me there sooner.

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