Wednesday, 3 April 2013

First Class Travel and the Travel Proletariat

The luxury of first class travel (Source:

As previous readers will have gathered, I am a budget traveller.  I aim to travel as cheaply as possible to make sure my money goes further so that I too can go further around the world on my many journeys here and there.  Of the several trips I have taken, one thing has bothered me.  I claim to be a victim of class prejudice in the air, a proletariat of the skies; forever to have my knees round my ears.  My angst?  I have never been upgraded!  I hear tales of friends who have been pushed up to business class from economy and from business to first without the slightest hint of effort.  Why not me?  What have I ever done to the ground staff?!

The closest I have come to an upgrade was during my travels round Australia and New Zealand, when I took a Qantas flight from Christchurch to Auckland.  I passed through the airport as normal, boarded the plane and took my seat.  I soon realised that the two seats next to me were not to be filled during what was a full flight.  Confused, I saw the air steward (the very same man at the check in desk) walk down the aisles from the front of the plane and stop at my row, where he proceeded to ask me if I was happy with my seat.  I replied with the affirmative and then the penny dropped.  I did not realise that when I was checking in, he was checking me out!  I had a great one hour flight and was even treated to extra food from my new friend, while I stretched my legs out, listened to Jack Johnson and took in the magnificent coastal views below me.  All this as the passengers around me muttered in puzzlement as to why I was given so much extra space on such a busy flight.

Of course, I am being utterly ridiculous.  As I said at the beginning, I am a budget traveller.  Long gone are the days when airlines simply upgrade you based on the availability of space in the other, more luxurious parts of the plane.  Nor do they upgrade their passengers on the basis of their attire alone.  Airlines tend to upgrade their big spenders and reward loyalty.  That is why if I am ever to find myself stretching out with a glass of champagne I am going to have to stick with a particular airline and rack up some serious points on their scheme.  Flying low cost carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet will never see me upgraded, simply because these carriers do not divide their plane into business and first class sections.  I have survived this far, so really have no reason to complain about my lot as I whizz through the skies.  Besides, I am most happy about bagging a bargain, rather than a plush seat.

Happy travels...wherever you sit on the plane!


  1. You have a good point. I came across your article in The Travel Daily from where my article got linked, too.

    Should you care reading mine, it's at

    And oh, you must really have a catchy blog name- Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. I love these two websites :)

  2. I agree with you. I don't mind flying in economy class forever if the prices are right. Those low cost carriers you mention are definitely getting my attention for a while now.

    BTW, I love your blog - especially the travel part of it with gorgeous photos. I found out about it from Big Blog Exchange and have already voted for you. You are welcome to do the same for me if you like my blog:

    Keep travelling, have fun and don't stop blogging about it!

  3. Enjoyed your article but glad to say its fairly untrue. Am an avid traveller but a poor one ad have been randomly upgraded 3 times in 4 years!

  4. Thanks for your comment and story of hope, Anonymous! I think I don't get upgraded as I don't tend to fly to destinations on anything other than budget airlines. The last 'big' airline I used was Emirates, back in 2009.