In 1987, I flew from Florida to the South Pacific for the first time. Qantas was offering a special ticket that included stops at a number of cities in Australia and New Zealand for a base price of about $2000 in coach. I don’t have my exact records from that trip, but my recollection is that the airfare came to about $2200 with taxes. I flew mostly in 10 across seating in 747s. The routing included a stop in Hawaii in both directions, because at the time, the 747 did not have the range to make it non-stop from LAX to Australia. It took a total of about 22 hours of flying (more than 30 hours when you included layover time) to get to the land down under.
My how times have changed for the better. In January-February 2016, I flew business class to Australia and New Zealand. I used a combination of 145,000 American Airlines miles and 18,000 British Airways Avios points, and I paid for one Virgin Australia flight. Total cash paid for flights was $367
The time spent flying in 2016 was about the same as in 1987. But the luxury afforded in business class could not have been imagined, even in First Class, in 1987. This is why I love collecting frequent flier points.