Do You Buy Cheap First Class Airfare?

This is the first time we’ve spent cash for a first-class airline ticket.  We’ve  flown in first or business many times on award tickets, but have never paid cash for first class.  It felt good to overcome our usual ultrafrugal habits to splurge on a cheap first class short-haul.

Our First (Paid) Cheap First Class Tickets

We’ve flown first class many times as nonrev standbys and on award tickets.  This is the first time that we’ve paid CASH to buy a first class ticket.

We are going to a wedding this weekend in New York.  I’ve been watching award availability for the last two months, and there has not been anything in the saver level on any of the airlines where we have miles.  We can’t fly standby (nonrev) because we need to be there for the wedding.  After resigning myself to the fact that we were not going to be able to use miles to get there, I finally booked us on one-way flights out of Atlanta to JFK on Delta.  We paid $180 each for these tickets.  Checking our flights daily on the Delta app (obsessive compulsive?) I was continually tempted by the upgrade window:

Delta Low Cost Upgrade
Delta Low Cost Upgrade

We decided to forego the upgrade since the flight is only 2 1/2 hours long, and we would be primed already with drinks and snacks from the SkyClub before boarding.

We needed to drop the rental car back at JFK on a Sunday, and there is still no award availability on this day, and the nonrev possibilities didn’t look good either.  Checking JFK-ATL flights for the day on Delta revealed this:

Delta Low Priced First Class
Delta Low Priced First Class

We both tend to be very frugal with every purchase and my first reaction was to book the main cabin ticket at $153.  Lately however, I have been trying to get myself out of my habitual tight-fisted mindset and forced myself to consider spending the extra money.  Here’s what I told myself:  You’re paying $70 to be upgraded.  You would only be paying $40 more that what you paid on the other ticket to fly economy.  The little voice inside my head said “Do it!”  And so I did.

I Will Continue to Look For Cheap First Class Airfare

At what price is paying for first class worth it to you?  For us, it is a matter of nudging ourselves out of our comfort zones, if the price is not too high, that is! We will at least put paid first class in the options to consider.  In this case the first class airfare is much less than twice the economy fare!  I struggled against my innate cheapness and spontaneously booked this fare.  I’ve decided that I don’t need to always book the cheapest fare, and when first is not that much more expensive then why not book it and enjoy it?




4 thoughts on “Do You Buy Cheap First Class Airfare?

  1. I’ll buy first class if it’s not anymore than twice the coach fare. I’ve seen some that are three times as much

  2. I don’t like to use award miles to pay for business class–I’ll never pay cash! As long as I have enough miles, it’s up front for me everytime!

  3. Great post; informative as always. We always struggle to turn down extra benefits at a cost, but this provides a great perspective on when it’s worth it.

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