Flying First Class: Is it Worth the Splurge?

When my friends Tommy and Seema got back from their honeymoon last year, one of the first things they said to us was, “You guys have got to start flying first class!”  This was not just because my friends and I are all über-snobs, but mostly because my husband is 6 foot 6, and flying in coach can be physically painful for him.  So legroom aside, is it worth it to fly first class?


Tommy and Seema en route to Seoul. Look at that legroom! Consulting sure pays off.

If you’re rolling in cash, then YES!  But for the rest of us, the answer (not surprisingly) depends.  When making the decision for yourself, here are a few things to consider:

1) How long are your flights?  The longer the flight, the more you’re going to get out of your first class experience.  I once flew first class from St. Louis to Atlanta due to a glitch with the airline’s registration system, and it was a joke – I’m so glad I didn’t have to pay for that upgrade!

2) Are you flying internationally?  Domestic airlines in the U.S. are not as well-known for having incredible first class service.

3) Are you taking a red-eye?  If so, you might sleep through all the fancy first class experience, but on the other hand, you may actually be able to sleep comfortably!  On an airplane!  Imagine that.

4) How long is your honeymoon?  If your honeymoon is on the shorter side, you may want to spend extra money on your flights so you don’t waste any time feeling jet-lagged.

5) When is a better time to go all out than on your honeymoon?  If you can afford it (or have the miles to do an upgrade), go for it!

So what did we do?  Although I wish that we had been able to fly first class, we ended up sticking with economy.  Upgrading our flights would have been at least four times more expensive, and unlike our consultant friends, we didn’t have a million extra airline miles to burn.  I did, however, check out SeatGuru before we booked all of our long flights, and you should too.  It’s a great site because it allows your to compare seating charts and legroom differences across tons of different airlines and aircrafts.  Now if only it had the ability to predict where the crying babies will sit…

One thought on “Flying First Class: Is it Worth the Splurge?

  1. We used miles to upgrade to business class on a recent flight from San Francisco to London on United. It was amazing and definitely worth the miles (I can’t speak to whether it would have been worth the $). My seat turned into a bed, I had tons of free movies and television shows and a five course meal that ended in a made to order ice cream sunday. I felt like my vacation started as soon as I stepped on the plane!

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