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I was looking at airfare codes and saw that there's an airfare code for First Class Premium and one for First Class Discounted.

What does First Class Premium offer that First Class Discounted doesn't?

  • If they both book into the First Class cabin, there is no difference in the onboard product if offered on the same flight. A is just the discount first class fare, sometimes called instant upgrade. P can used for F cabins that aren't the full long haul First product, such as using a 3 class aircraft on a domestic flight or as a different type of A fare. It's depends greatly on the airline. – Johns-305 Aug 2 '17 at 14:14
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    Do note that the linked site is not definitive; every airline has its own system for coding fares, although there is a lot of ongoing work to align them, at least within alliances. – choster Aug 2 '17 at 14:48
  • True, it is Yale University so it's accuracy is immediately questionable. – Johns-305 Aug 2 '17 at 16:22
  • Some airlines have different mileage accrual rules based on fare class. P class fares may get you fewer frequent flyer miles, but this depends on the airline. – Zach Lipton Aug 2 '17 at 17:37
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They are just the same as various airfare classes in the economy section. Everyone sits in the same area, they get the same food, they check in the same line, they get the same drinks, etc.

The difference lies primarily in the fare rules, can you change your reservation for free or for a fee, can you get a full refund or not, do you have to book so far in a advance or the right up to the day of travel, etc.

And these rules vary from airline to airline so there is no single definitive answer

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    Another common difference is that the discounted fare may award fewer frequent-flyer miles. – Nate Eldredge Aug 2 '17 at 15:36
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    I believe x-UP fares can book into P, but being economy fares, do not get COS bonuses and may be subject to downgrading in IRROPS, the subject of much wailing and gnashing of teeth at FlyerTlk. – choster Aug 2 '17 at 16:49
  • @choster But are not xUP fares essentially economy with an automatic upgrade and therefore not the same as a discounted first class fare in the scope of this question. – user13044 Aug 2 '17 at 17:02
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    @neubert There are fares which are coded as economy but book into premium cabins, known variously as QUP, HUP, YUP, etc. after common combinations in their fare basis codes. As far as cabin service is concerned, a QUP first was equal to an F first, but for everything else from lounge access to waitlist priority to frequent flyer mile accrual, some firsts were more equal than others. – choster Aug 2 '17 at 20:29
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    @neubert I noted in my answer that these are sometimes referred to as instant upgrades, meaning, they're base Y fares the book into the F cabin on the selected routing. But, if something goes wrong, and have to change the flight, you can 'lose' the upgrade and get stuck in the main cabin. In my experience, AA at least tries to keep you in the F cabin when something goes wrong. AA also gives the Class of Service bonus at 2x while full F/J earn 3x. – Johns-305 Aug 2 '17 at 20:59

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