06 Apr Should First Class Passengers Be Allowed Guests?
My wife and I recently separated. This separation has nothing to do with our marriage (we are very much permanently together) and everything to do with a recent long-haul Cathay Pacific flight from JFK to HKG!
The award flights were originally booked together in Business Class using 50k Alaska Mileage Plan miles each. However, with one week remaining before departure, First Class availability opened up and I was able to snag a seat for an additional 20k miles! Of course I would have loved if 2 award seats opened up, but you can’t always get what you want…
After a heated pre-flight “discussion” over who had to sit in First Class, it was determined that yours truly would occupy the First-Class seat.
Yes, that’s right. I sipped Krug Champagne in Cathay Pacific First Class, while my wife sat in Business Class…
I wanted us BOTH to experience Cathay First Class… would she, and should she be allowed to visit me?
I read up on this topic via Flyertalk and based on that “research” it seems that the nays have it, stating that passengers in a lower-class cabin should not be allowed to visit those in a higher-class cabin.
What is this, the Titanic!? Can you imagine if Jack and Rose never met and never fell in love? It is just not acceptable in my opinion, so I decided to fully consider both sides of the argument and see on what side of the fence I fell.
Yes – First Class Passengers should be allowed guests!
The Cathay 700-300ER cabin is fitted with 6 seats, and only 4 were occupied during the 16-hour flight, meaning there was plenty of room for another, rather petite passenger.
She would not take up any additional room since she would sit in my Cathay First Suite with me. AND I would ensure she did not feast on the premium food and drink selection.
No harm, no foul. The other First Class passengers don’t mind… right!?
No – First Class Passengers should not be allowed guests!
Airline flight crews spend vast amounts of time and effort in order to provide the First Class experience to First Class passengers. It is inconsiderate to both the crew and fellow First Class passengers to have a guest as it may disrupt their flight experience. Remember, not every First passenger is flying for 70k Alaska miles and some taxes, as these one-way tickets can cost over $15,000!
If airlines wanted another non-revenue passenger in the First Class cabin, they would have opened up additional award availability or perhaps upgraded a passenger…
Cathay Flight Attendant (FA) Instructions
I did not want to offend the crew or the other First Class passengers with an unexpected visitor. I made sure to ask permission for my wife to make a visit.
This defies my philosophy of “better to ask forgiveness than permission,” but since the other passengers paid so dearly for this First Class experience, I was feeling extra courteous!
Ask and you shall receive… sort of!
The FA let me know that it would be permissible to have my wife up in the First Class Cabin for “10-15 minutes” but that if we wanted any more time together, I should head back to Business Class.
This was perfectly fine with me, since the sole reason I wanted my wife to join was to show her how awesome of a time I was having! She joined me up in 1A and listened to me ramble on and on about the greatness that is Cathay First, then hustled back to her seat to enjoy a good book and some peace and quiet, a full cabin away from my yammering!
In an accommodating move by the lead FA towards the end of the flight, she offered to help move my wife to one of the open First Class seats, that way we would be able to disembark together. It wouldn’t have been a huge deal to disembark on our own and then must meet up in outside the gate, but obviously, this was preferred and greatly appreciated!
Should First Class passengers be allowed guests? Perhaps yes, more likely no, but best to ask your flight attendant what he or she thinks and then act accordingly.
What are your thoughts on passengers “visiting” First Class?