My father had the worst taste in cars, ever. He chose to drive his family (all five of us) across the country every Christmas in a car. Here were his choices:
- 1972 Ford Pinto (Red) from Houston to Denver… –
- Gold Chevy Nova (Spanish for “won’t go”)… from Houston to Wichita to Denver
- AMC Gremlin,
- Dodge Omni 024,
- Ford Fairmont (not Fairlaine, that would have been “cool”!),
- My personal favorite was the VW micro-bus with the pop-top camper (Orange). This little pearl dropped her drive shaft somewhere north of Oklahoma City on Christmas day!
The Fairmont was a rental car before he bought it so you can imagine the shape it was in. Now imagine yourself as an eleven year old boy, crammed into the back of a Ford Pinto with your sister and little brother for 14 hours. I’m scarred for life! It’s no wonder I have trouble flying coach today. I simply have to fly first class; coach is no longer an option.
Being a Platinum flier for Delta has its perks, but none are as good as the “guaranteed first class upgrade” rule. When I bring my wife along, I can upgrade my wife for free too. The only catch here is that upgrades to business class on international flights are NOT part of the elite program. Hell, they’re not even part of the same tax bracket when you consider how much those little jewels cost. The last time I flew to Japan, a coach class ticket was $850 and a business class ticket on the same plane was $12,000. No, I didn’t accidentally type an extra zero, that was twelve THOUSAND dollars.
What do you get for your $12k? Lots! How about a never-ending sushi buffet? Twin sized mattress, sleeping kit that includes slippers, pajamas, toothpaste, etc, movies on demand, A/C adapter plugs for your laptop, internet access, and on some planes, a printer! The average traveler can’t spend that kind of money (my company paid for mine), but we all want to experience it at least once, don’t we? Being upstairs in the nose of a 747 is so quiet and peaceful and restful… it even smells good up there!
Here’s the secret to flying business class for a lot less money. If you want to take a first class vacation, treating yourself to the good seats and the good life, then take your vacation during a dead week! Dead weeks are 11/28 — 12/15 and 1/7 — 1/17. The airlines call them “dead” because nobody in their right mind would fly anywhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or right after the New Year holiday. Before you stop reading, consider this. Business class to Europe = CHEAP during these dead weeks. You’ll pay around $1,000 instead of $9,000 for a business class seat! You’ll have the added benefit of NOT being around your family during the holidays!
My wife and I are flying to Italy this year between 11/20 and 12/2 so they’ll just have to have turkey without us. I’m sure mom will be ok… there’s more room in the back of the Pinto this way!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.