On the economics of getting into business class for members of the 99% with chronic pain: how I did it for 37% of the paid fare with an upgrade bid, and why every penny was totally worth it.
I didn’t know until I arrived at LAX for my 13 hour flight from the USA to Auckland that my bid for upgrade to business class had been accepted. Air New Zealand might surprise you with such information at the very last minute. Luckily, this is the best kind of surprise.
I am a frequent flier in US domestic economy who occasionally splurges or upgrades with miles/status to first class. I also live with an autoimmune disease and chronic pain.
In spite of this, I continue to indulge my love of travel as often as I can. Now, however, I must sometimes make adjustments to accommodate my body’s varying demands.
What follows is my assessment of a very long haul flight in the Business Premier cabin. I’ll try to specifically address the experience of a traveler with chronic pain.
While I’ve found a plethora of reviews sharing the opinions of healthy business and luxury flyers, my own sometimes odd and very specific wonderings are rarely addressed.
Air NZ awards upgrade bids up to the last minute
Last year’s Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) upgrade from economy to SWISS Business was awarded several days before my flight. SWISS may even have provided a full week’s notice.
This time, I received a “too bad, you lost” email from Air New Zealand in the days before my trip. I took off from an intermediate stop at PDX with no knowledge of the highly beneficial change of plans.
Try to imagine my delight upon receiving a text message of congratulations for having my OneUp Business Premier upgrade bid accepted by Air New Zealand at the last minute. I learned of it as my Alaska flight touched down in Los Angeles and I resumed cellular connection to the world.
Having chatted with my nearest seatmate about our respective travels during lunch on Alaska 568, I couldn’t help but turn to her to share news of my good fortune:
“I just got the upgrade from Premium Economy to Business Premier for the long flight to New Zealand!” I crowed
“That’s great!” She replied. “Now your husband won’t have to feel guilty or to share his better seat.”
It was reason for both DH and myself to celebrate, indeed. He is a gentleman, and he worries about me.
Of course, a man who will wait in line to buy an espresso for his tired wife in a busy airport even though he thinks caffeine is a pernicious addiction like heroin that shouldn’t be catered to or socially acceptable will always give his seat up to a lady.
To be crystal clear, however, on our return, when we were seated in different classes of service, I never did ask him to shove over or swap with me. I spent 13 hours in Premium Economy flying AKL-LAX towards home. I’ll add a link here to my post on the subject once I’ve finished writing it.