Lo and behold, space opened up once again on SWISS First Class to get my family from Los Angeles to Zurich but after grabbing it, I ultimately cancelled it. Why would I possibly do that? The answer is two years old.
The Whole Family In SWISS First? On Second Thought, Maybe Not…
It was a bucket list item to take the family in Lufthansa First Class to Germany last Christmas and it turned out to be one of the best flights of my life. When the opportunity arose to do the same in SIWSS First Class, I thought it was a dream come true.
Yesterday, I mentioned how we had tickets booked in SWISS First Class using United miles to visit Germany, departing on December 31st. Ultimately, we had to cancel the trip because my wife was forced to go back to work (she’s a nurse) after recovering from COVID-19. By the new year, everyone was feeling better and we were ready to depart as planned on either January 3rd or 4th (Heidi had to work three days in a row leading up to this).
SWISS First opened once again on January 3rd and I was able to secure us tickets to Germany via Zurich using my United miles.
Side Note: do take advantage of SWISS First while you can. I still think this recent appearance of space is not a glitch, but the superb availability we have been seeing will not last once the word fully gets out. I held off for a week before blogging about it, but wanted to let you all know and now it has been picked up by a number of blogs. The competition for this space will be fierce, especially because SWISS tends to have more unsold first class seats at the last minute than does Lufthansa.
But then I got to thinking about it. 121K miles per-person is an excellent value for SWISS First Class from the West Coast to Europe, but that’s a lot of miles for four tickets when one passenger is two years old and the other is six years old. Importantly, my kids do not care. Of course Augustine (six years old) is now old enough to know the difference between economy class and business or first class, but he does not appreciate the multi-course dining in first class and of course my kids do not drink alcohol (Heidi doesn’t either and I have virtually cut it from my diet). We’re also dieting and the decadence of two first class meals does not fit into the plan (though I certainly would have made an exception if this was the only thing holding us back).
Those factors played into calculus, but what ultimately led me to book away from SWISS First was my two-year-old daughter Claire Marie. To put it charitably, unlike her brother she is far more rambunctious and spirited. Unlike Augustine when he was two, she struggles to sit still in church and makes known her dislike of being confined.
Frankly, that creates an environment that is too stressful for Heidi and me in first class. We’ll have this discussion again soon, but I do believe that children can and should fly in first class. That said, I do not want my own child in first class if she cannot reasonably be relied upon to be well-behaved.
Right now, at age 2.5, it is too unpredictable and if she is loud, I cannot enjoy the flight (and of course others cannot either). Even if she is well-behaved, the fear that she will start crying when confined to her seat also takes away my enjoyment of the flight.
I appreciate that people are generally very understanding and for all I know, she would have been an angel on the flight as she was in Lufthansa First Class a year ago. But it was not a risk I wanted to take, especially with 484K miles on the line and during a time in which I am the only one in my family who truly values first class.
So I thought I’d send Heidi in first class and I’d sit with the kids in economy class. That was the original plan on December 31st as well before more seats opened. But then Augustine asked if we could visit Paris on the way to Germany. Heidi and I discussed it and we decided to fly to Paris on Air France instead of to Zurich on SWISS.
I can tell you that my discernment was validated, though again not in the way I expected.
I have not flown first class on SWISS since 2017 (from Zurich to Los Angeles) and would love to provide a fresh review. Hopefully, I did not forfeit my only two chances to do so using miles, but we ultimately (and in retrospect, wisely) decided to hold those miles because of the unpredictability of my daughter’s behavior. I do look forward to the day in which we can all fly together in SWISS First Class…but this was not the time.