Over the last several years, I’ve flown almost exclusively first class. In fact, when planning travel, I won’t consider anything else — and I’m not sorry.
After traveling first class on several occasions, I quickly realized that the price difference on most domestic first-class airline tickets was worth the value. In a recent example, I was flying from the West Coast to Texas. A coach ticket on the route I was on was going for roughly $200. The first class ticket: $400. That $200 difference is well worth it, and here’s why.
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When you fly first class, you get a lot of things free. These free perks can add up quite a bit when you start thinking about them. While they don’t make up for the full cost of a first-class ticket, they do go a long way in the value scheme.
First, you don’t pay for checked baggage. Now, there are a lot of ways around paying for checked bags these days (like a credit card or being a frequent flier), but if you’re flying first class, you don’t have to worry about those things. Consider that $25 or more waived.
Also, you get a great meal and drinks on the flight. Given that the “economy” food goes for about $10 per item (and it’s not that great), and you’re going to pay another $5 or more for a drink, that’s another good bit of savings.
I’m not a huge drinker on flights, but the food perk is a big value for me, especially on cross-country flights. By eating on the plane, when I reach my destination I won’t have to stop and find a place to eat. I can just hit the ground running.
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The Space to Work or Relax
Space is a big deal for me. I’m a tall guy, and it seems like airlines have been making the economy section smaller and smaller over the years. On my last coach flight, my knees were jammed into the seat in front of me, my tray table was hitting my stomach and it was so uncomfortable I wanted to die. This is never an issue in first class.
If I’m heading to an event, I have the space to work. I can set up my laptop, charge my phone, have a drink and never bother the person next to me. Conversely, if I’m heading home, I have the space to relax, put my headphones in and go to sleep.
Having enough room is never a problem in first class, and that’s almost invaluable to me. It allows me to arrive at my destination refreshed and ready.
You can’t guarantee this, but it’s happened to me often enough that I felt it warranted a mention: When you fly first class, you’re with other people who have the mindset to fly first class. I’ve had some great conversations and made some great networking connections by sitting next to someone flying first class. Yes, you can have the same experience in coach, but in my opinion, the odds are in your favor up front.
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You Earn Rewards Faster
When you fly first class, you will usually earn frequent flyer rewards much faster than when you fly economy. Changes to mileage programs have put an emphasis on dollars spent, and of course, you spend more to fly first class. When combining the miles you earn flying first class with the ones you’ll earn from a travel rewards credit card, you can really start to earn rewards and free flights at a fast pace.
Bonus: You hear more and more stories of people being bumped off oversold flights. By being a first-class passenger, your odds of this happening are extremely low. It’s not a 100 percent guarantee, of course, but it’s still nice to feel more secure.
Flying has become more unpleasant than ever before, so I take value in these small perks, even if it means paying an extra $200 to get them. The bottom line is, the additional cost of flying first class is typically made up for in amenities and the ability to work, sleep and do what you need to do. So, if you haven’t flown first class, you really need to put it on your radar for your next flight.
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