Back in January of 1991, the US bombed Baghdad on a Wednesday night, and I was scheduled to fly to Amsterdam on Friday night. Travel, especially for Americans, was turned upside down. Despite my father telling me I was CRAZY, I went anyway. KLM cancelled their flight from Orlando (where I was living) to Amsterdam and rebooked us on a flight to Atlanta, and a change to a KLM flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam. While we were changing planes in Atlanta, Eastern Airlines went out of business.
KLM upgraded everyone on the flight to Business Class, closed the back of the plane and turned off the lights. There were about 20 passengers, and 20 flight crew on a 747 that night. It was my first time in Business class. The seats were more comfortable, and the food was better, because of the number of no-shows for the flight they had three times as much food as people on board, they offered dinner service twice that evening (and I was down to 170 pounds and afraid to eat anything.)
After that it was a long time before I was upgraded again. I checked in for a flight in Lexington one morning and the gate agent looked at me and said, I need to move someone to first class for weight and balance, would you mind if I moved you? Not at all, I just wish it was a longer flight.
Between 2017 and 2019 I had a couple of really busy travel years. 20 work trips and a bunch of personal trips to see my parents, and I picked up "Gold Status" with American Airlines. Status made me eligible for free or low cost upgrades from coach to business class. On any flight longer than a couple of hours, I always asked, sometimes I would get it, sometimes I would not. A couple of times on shorter flights the counter or gate agent asked if I would mind changing seats and in the process I was moved to the front of the plane. One night, on a rare late night flight, I was wedged into my coach seat, next to two people about the same size as me. About 30 minutes into the flight the flight attendant tapped my on the shoulder and asked me to come with him. I was wondering what I had done when he said, "I can see you are miserable sitting there, and I have an empty seat here in business class, please move into it." I did.
On the trip to Iceland I did something I have never done, I paid extra to book business class. Initially I booked business class on the outbound flight, it was $250 a person extra, for more room and better food (without charge) on the overnight flight - I hate overnight flights. A couple of days after we arrived in Iceland I received an email asking if I wanted to bid on upgrades to business class on the return flight. I thought about it, thought about paying for food in coach, and business class having good food and drink included. I bid $181 a seat for the upgrade, and we received an email the next day saying, congratulations, we just charged your credit card.
I have to say it was worth it. The seats are about three inches wider, and three extra inches in the right place can make all the difference in the world. The food was good. Drinks were included (but I don't drink much.) The service and amenities were nice. I would do that again, I will do that again for that price difference.