Even prisoners get more room
I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but my flight to Europe last Saturday was my first international flight in 3 years where I did not get an upgrade. I remember what I said the first time I got an international upgrade: “If people in Coach knew the conditions in Business Class, there would be rioting on board the airplane.” The seats in Economy are intolerable for a flight of more than a couple of hours. Certainly, it doesn’t matter when you are paying $99 for a 2-hour flight. But it’s a totally different situation when the flight lasts 11 hours. I’m a very short man, and even I was cramped in the seat. It is totally unreasonable to expect anyone to sit totally still for 11 hours. On the other hand, the official prices for Business or First Class are equally obscene.
The only alternative is to break apart a long trip and take a hotel room along the way. But that can add days to an already long trip, and it’s simply not possible in all situations.