Is flying first class worth it?

AT&T / Ops
DDM2K

AT&T Ops

PRE
Windstream
DDM2Kmore
Dec 2, 2017 55 Comments

Before you ask, I’m not a frequent flyer, I don’t have the option to use points for a free upgrade.

I am flying home to Raleigh to visit family close to the holidays. My ticket is an upgradeable nonstop flight, 6 hours duration. The aircraft is a 737 according to my check-in reminder email. The cost to upgrade is about $250, or roughly $0.10 a mile. 5 seats free in first, with an upgrade list of 13 passengers.

I have no reference to calculate whether this is typical price for cash customers, so I want to ask the audience 😋

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TOP 55 Comments
  • Amazon kcgE06
    No, if you have to pay for it, it is absolutely not worth it
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • Amazon thus
    I flew first class a few times LA to SF on Virgin. It was cheaper than Southwest. On one flight I had 8 or 9 free cocktails. It was worth it. Aside from that, not worth it.
    Dec 2, 2017 3
    • Pinterest T84dS
      9 drinks in an hour? Yikes
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Intuit Oihbbhg
      Yeah, holy shit. I’m impressed.
      Dec 3, 2017
    • Intuit Kv16jRa
      No flight attendant would serve that much, this story is BS
      Dec 4, 2017
  • Microsoft TheCurate
    If you do choose to take the upgrade, $250 for a 6 hr flight is one of the better deals you’ll get offered in my experience.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • AT&T / Ops
    DDM2K

    AT&T Ops

    PRE
    Windstream
    DDM2Kmore
    OP
    STATUS UPDATE!

    I read this thread through and considered all things. I’m writing my post from 5A right now, in a seat 6” wider than I am, not regretting a thing.

    I almost didn’t get to upgrade. I got on my laptop and was informed the upgrade fee jumped from $249 to $486... what?! To be sure, I went into the airline’s app and checked, price was back down to $249. One seat remaining. I jumped on it. Subtracting the costs I would have incurred, some numbers have changed because I found out the actual price had I not upgraded:

    -$25 for breakfast, total a la carte price
    -$32 for drinks, just enough to feel 👌🏻
    -$24 for priority boarding, security lane
    -$25 for checked bag, I only had one

    So we’re at $106 already and I haven’t counted the intangibles:

    -I can enjoy the flight itself. I don’t get nearly as airsick with a little room to spread out and lie back.
    -My back feels 100% better after 3 hours (thus far) than in a coach seat.
    -Noise doesn’t bother me much, so I might pass on the headphone idea
    -I’m not planning on traveling internationally anytime soon, so this is it as far as money I’m throwing around on tickets.

    I also made the most of my money otherwise and drove my car to work and parked (takes me halfway to the airport) and then opted for Uber Pool. 7am on a Sunday was about the lowest chance we’d pick up another rider. $18 from RWC to SFO.

    All bets I took paid off and I am a happy traveler.
    Dec 3, 2017 7
    • Gen!x / Eng
      XPbr65

      Gen!x Eng

      PRE
      Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HPE, Northrop Grumman
      BIO
      mehy
      XPbr65more
      Bro, move on.

      This deed is (already) done.
      Dec 3, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      Dufenshmrz,

      I see your point about not actually saving the money if I wouldn’t choose to spend it in the first place. With me it’s a little different as I wouldn’t be so concerned about 6 hours of discomfort if it would end as soon as I got off the plane. More focused on not winding up nauseous, sore, and possibly a headache that lasted into the next morning.

      Similarly, I can’t passenger in the back seat of a car for more than 15 minutes. I have to drive or sit in the front seat. Something to do with the acceleration/braking and not being able to see straight ahead to anticipate it triggers motion sickness, BAD.

      With 5 days in NC (counting today as one of them) this was definitely worthwhile and I’ll call it a success.

      Thread resolved!

      #MaryPoppinsAndWhateverElseXPbr65said
      Dec 3, 2017
    • Microsoft TheCurate
      > You'll. Survive being sober for 6hrs.

      What The Fuck is this nonsense?
      Dec 3, 2017
    • Oracle mbmvu76
      How much was the ticket before the upgrade?
      Dec 4, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

      PRE
      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      Low $400s for round trip, nonstop both ways.
      Dec 4, 2017
  • Salesforce / Eng Dufenshmrz
    But decent noise cancelling headphones instead of the upgrade.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • Microsoft azure-cli
    Domestic flights, not worth it.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • WalmartLabs KjCeXs~5
    I would have a hard time paying my own money for first class. But I've had my employer pay for it for international flights and it made a huge difference.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • GitHub / Eng YuccaFool
    Planning to check a bag or two? First class generally has waived bags so you'll save a bit that way to offset the cost a little bit. Otherwise it's really up to you if it's worthwhile.

    You almost certainly won't get a free upgrade without status on that airline. Even if the upgrade list is exhausted they'll give the seats to airline employees (non-revs) next.
    Dec 2, 2017 3
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      I will try to calculate the value of what’s included to see if it knocks out enough a la carte charges to offset some of that $250.

      In-flight meal: $15
      Drinks: $30 over 6 hours, I’m sure
      Checked bag: $25
      Priority boarding status: $24 (a la carte per website)

      Anything else I’m leaving out?
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Microsoft TheCurate
      Depending on the airline and airport, there might be a dedicated security lane (ie Delta Sky Priority).
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Oracle heathcliff
      More comfortable seats, no getting waken up if someone else needs to get out.
      Dec 2, 2017
  • Google nuckchorri
    If you are rich, it is worth it and you wield not have thought so much about it. So it's not worth it
    Dec 4, 2017 0
  • Google WFDV56
    It's a crappy first class, but for $250, whatever, I'd upgrade. First / business really makes sense for overnight flat beds, then you land having had 6 - 10 hours of continuous, comfortable sleep and can be productive as heck and not a zombie.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • Google liam
    I' definitely pay $250.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • Groupon ybXs10
    I’ll upgrade to business on flights where I want to sleep (to a lay flat), otherwise not usually worth it. That is a decent upgrade price for a 6 hour flight. If it’s a redeye, then maybe.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • Twitter shdjskpqpn
    $250 for 6 hours is totally worth it. The real problem for me is when I try to justify the extra 2K for a nyc-Shanghai flight
    Dec 4, 2017 5
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      When you look at how much that adds to the base price, how many % increase is 2k from the coach ticket price?
      Dec 4, 2017
    • Twitter shdjskpqpn
      Coach price can be around 700-1000 total for a round trip. So it’s basically 200%. Lol I always end up paying it.
      Dec 4, 2017
    • Google WFDV56
      2k for food and rest? Totally worth it!
      Dec 4, 2017
    • Twitter shdjskpqpn
      Haha totally.
      Dec 4, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      Escorts charge much higher. Corporate lawyers even more. You got off easy!
      Dec 4, 2017
  • Microsoft biddut
    If you have to ask, the answer is always no.

    Would you ask if you wanted to get a large coffee instead of a smaller size? Probably not.
    Dec 4, 2017 2
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      Trivial items? No. Larger ticket items like in the car thread about the Hyundai vs. Kia? Sure why not.

      I’ll entertain your point. I always buy the smallest coffee because what’s the benefit to drinking more than 12 oz of it? Really the first 6 oz is what has the greatest effect. I could throw the rest away. But I don’t. I drink the rest not because it’s coffee, specifically, but just because it’s a beverage and tastes good.

      I only buy big ticket items (cars, etc.) when I have to. I’m not an enthusiast and can’t buy a new M5 every three years. Plane tickets are a middle ground where I’d still post a question, especially when we are talking about the base price of an item doubling.

      I assure you, nothing I’ve asked was in vain nor was my mind made up before I sought input, if that’s what you were concerned about. I’m not here to waste my time or yours.
      Dec 4, 2017
    • Microsoft biddut
      Thanks for the detailed thoughts. I think you misunderstood my point.

      From a financial perspective, anytime if you have to ask about making a purchase, that means you shouldn’t buy it.

      Another way of putting it, if buying a BMW M3 feels like buying a $10 lunch to you, that means you can buy an M3.

      Only spend on something when you can afford without having any doubt or hesitation.
      Dec 4, 2017
  • Oracle heathcliff
    What was the economy price you paid?
    Should do it just for the experience, it is likely heavily discounted due to the availability. You will regret the things you don't do more than the things you did.
    Dec 2, 2017 0
  • Oracle mbmvu76
    Are you going to upgrade the return leg now?
    Dec 4, 2017 4
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      I wasn’t planning to, since I was either going to sleep on the flight or immediately after, due to the time I’ll be getting back.
      Dec 4, 2017
    • Oracle mbmvu76
      And now, after experiencing it 1st hand?
      Dec 4, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      I’ll forever be a fan of booking 1st for the departing leg, as I tend to book as early in the day as possible so I can have some time left in the day to visit family.
      Dec 4, 2017
    • Oracle mbmvu76
      Hmm, I considered that but if it's 6AM departure, I'd be a zombie when I arrive, usually can't goto bed early anyway due to last minute packing. And still have to sit up on domestic First Class. I'd probably pay more to get a convenient time/direct route.
      Dec 4, 2017
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      United
      Dec 3, 2017
  • Gen!x / Eng
    XPbr65

    Gen!x Eng

    PRE
    Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HPE, Northrop Grumman
    BIO
    mehy
    XPbr65more
    If you can afford the $250, YOLO it. Decide if you like it in the future.

    Many f*c***s (used non-pejoratively) here spent that much on top-shelf liquor last night. They could have drank well drinks for much much less. Yea, you know who you are...

    If you’re a frequent flier, Sky Club type membership is preferred over seat upgrade IMHO. Abfab luv it!
    Dec 3, 2017 1
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

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      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      OP
      Or those people who get top shelf long islands..... you know who you are.
      Dec 3, 2017
  • Pinterest UhmWho?
    Wait $250 for first class. What?! I’m used to $10000-$15000 differences.
    Dec 2, 2017 1
    • Google WFDV56
      Nah... Never that much really, only on like emirates, the rest of the it's much more reasonable, in the 2k-5k range
      Dec 3, 2017
  • Facebook / Eng just a guy
    I’m tall, so it’s worth it to me. I also hate lines.
    Dec 4, 2017 0