It’s a public health imperative. Bear with me on this one.
In recent days the convetional wisdom has become widely dispersed that infectious diseases spread on airplanes roughly two rows from an infected person, which is to say 3 to 5 feet. The two rows standard assumes a normal coach seating configuration.
That means upgrades, even to traditional domestically configured first class cabins, may reduce the spread to a single row of individuals.
International first class, though, should pretty much contain the spread (although I suppose a fair retort would be that the increased service from flight attendants of an infected person could enhance spread).
Securing upgrades, though, would appear to be a strong public health imperative. And thus as a public good should be supported by the state. But like any good policy prescription it ought to be tested in practice before being rolled out broadly. Given my expertise on the subject I hereby volunteer myself for government subsidies of my airline elite status.
Ray LaHood, are you listening??