HomeFinancial ExperiencesFirst Class is for weiners.

First Class is for weiners.

I’m glad to say I survived my 20 hour journey from Germany to Seattle. While I was waiting at the airport in Frankfurt, I heard an Airlines staff member announce the business class had not sold out and that they had seats available for those that wanted to upgrade from economy class. The price: $99.

When I heard the announcement I thought about the pros and cons of taking the upgrade for my 9 hour flight…

After much deliberation I decided that I like my money too much and would rough it with the simpletons in economy class. When I told my mom about my refusal to pay the $99 for an upgrade she laughed in my face, and then she beat me mercilessly. She thought the upgrade was too good to pass up. I, however, thought it was an unnecessary expense. For me, Frugality>Comfort.

Would you have paid for the upgrade? What’s your most recent frugal move?

p.s. I’ll be spending $400 on tires for my car today… join me in a moment of silence as we think about all of the George Washingtons that will sacrifice themselves today. You’ll be forever missed.




  1. I dunno. $99 is totally reasonable for a fully reclinable seat. If you have stuff to do the next day, you’re basically paying a small premium to not be tired and suffer nearly as much jet lag because you were able to stretch out and sleep.

  2. Look like a boss? More leg room? No annoying babies? Definitely not worth the $99 bucks. These airlines are so tricky in up-selling you crap. I was upgraded to first class before, which commanded a $500 premium back in the day, I got leather seats, leg PLUS elbow room, delicious food, and a hot stewardess. That would be worth $99 bucks 🙂

    As I get older, I tend to upgrade my life a little bit more. The biggest upgrade was adding data to our family cell phone plan. Very expensive IMHO, but lately I feel life is passing me by too quickly and I need rather than want to enjoy it.

    My most frugal move was switching my home telephone and internet to another company for a $30/month savings. It’s pretty big considering everything else in my life is so streamlined already. Well except the expensive cell phone plan :/

  3. If you’re not completely strapped, I think $99 is very reasonable for an upgrade – you can actually sleep in most business class seats (not to mention that the food is generally much better …)

    But no annoying babies? Not necessarily so. My company used to fly us business class, with the kids (no more, now I work for USG). I remember taking my 2-monther on the plane in business once – she was crying (not for the whole flight, but like babies generally cry) and some guy said, I didn’t pay *** to sit with a crying baby! I said, really? You had to pay for this seat? I got mine for free!

  4. Um. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, NINJA? When will you ever have the chance to upgrade for a measly $99 again?!

    (Er. Yeah. I’d have taken it, obviously :P)

  5. How long is your flight? The Canadian feds will fly you business class if your flight is over 9 hours. At probably anything over 6 hours, I would have taken a $99 upgrade no questions asked. Totally worth it to me. Granted, it’s on my life list to fly first/business class someday.

  6. Yep, I’d have paid the $99 upgrade to fly across the pond; wouldn’t think twice about it!

    Givent that Hubby and I have been seriously contemplating selling our condo and buying one in a newer building, I’m sure my life will be full of frugality for the next 18 months 😉

  7. Im a small person in size so I can convertibly sleep with my head on the tray in economy, leg room and such is no issue for me. However if I wasn’t on a budget and maybe if I hadn’t spent all of my money budgeted for my trip (which often happens) I would have upgraded too. Partly for the experience and also because the price was so good!

  8. $99 is a STEAL for a 9 hour flight! You get better service, better seats, ability to sleep more comfy AND you may end up conversing with a real wiener with lots of $ who can be part of your network, who knows.

  9. For that long of a flight, I would have done it in a heartbeat. The difference in those tickets when you were buying them originally would probably have been five times that. For a two or three hour flight, maybe not, but anything that long, totally worth it!!!

  10. If it was a short trip, say, 1 or 2 hours from Boston to D.C. or something, I’d skip it. But on a super long flight from Germany to Seattle, I might have taken them up on the offer. I too tend to be anti-spend. And I always look at the 1st class passengers and think, ugh, what snooty jerks. But knowing how useless I become if I don’t get enough sleep and/or I get weird kinks in my neck from sleeping funny, it might be worth it.

    I’m not going to always upgrade on things (hello lifestyle inflation!) but for certain things, they seem like a good idea.

  11. Comfort on long trips is important to me since I have long legs. 9 hours–anything over 5 or 6 makes me antsy–is what’s key here so $99 is totally worth it to me.

  12. Flying has become such a miserable experience of late that I’d rather drive from Frankfurt to Seattle. $99 definitely worth it, no questions asked.

  13. I am generally no-frills to the max, but I would take jumped on that so fast, you wouldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t have even blinked. Maybe it’s just the particular airline I flew with, but the eight hour trip to England I took last year was the most uncomfortable of my life. For a $20 trip? That’s like, $5 an hour to be significantly more comfortable and to go slightly less insane on a flight like that.

  14. Relatively speaking, $99 is definitely worth the upgrade. Though, I wouldn’t have beat you mercilessly. Maybe one slap upside your head. LOL.

    However, I think you made a good move since you had to spend $400 to get your tires fixed too. Did you know that before the flight or is this a recent development? In either case, the $99 you saved can now go towards those tires.

    I shed one tear for the GWs.

  15. I fly quite a bit so to me comfort is important. I pay a little more to get flights on a decent airline on the routes that I normally take and I also pay a little more usually to stick with one air carrier so I have their premium status, meaning I often get upgrades for free. I definitely would’ve paid $99 because for me it’s worth being comfortable.

  16. You should punch yourself in the face. $99 for business class? Fuck yeah! I’ve done those trips both ways, and there’s no way I would pass that kind of deal up.

  17. Because I love sleep and have a horrible time trying to sleep in a normal airline seat, I’d pay that. I wouldn’t even mind if I couldn’t get reimbursement from my company for that. It’s worth the time that I’d make up not sleeping and being cranky when I get back into the states. Then again…a flight from Germany to the states for me would be far shorter as I’d be flying into Newark, but that’s beside the point.

    I’d look at the pros this way -> $99 = reclining seat, better food, much more quiet, chance to sleep much more comfortably…OH! And premium bathrooms! On a long flight the bathrooms being close by and accessible by fewer people might be (alone) worth the $99 for me.

  18. OH! And one more awesome thing – you’re off the plane quickly and there’s more room for carry-on pieces in 1st class.

  19. Yes I would!
    International flights can be such a beeeech that I def wouldn’t pass up such an op. Dats pretty cheap, so if the airline offers that to me I’d definitely take it. Considering I have to endure 24-30hr flights at least twice a year (trips to the US), I have more than enuf miles to be a premier member which gets me perks like 2 free carry-ons etc, but I’d def pay dat to be on 1st class. They get better food too!

    • Only economy is reimbursed. Don’t think it would be good PR for the govt to provide first class seating to their employees. $99 was dang cheap though for an international flight.

  20. I would have taken the upgrade! What a steal! I get sweaty and anxious just thinking about a flight that long in coach.

  21. 99$ for comfort and privacy when you have it is a great trade.

    PS dadninja and I are buying your tires from my equally horrible to you gambling winnings.

    Welcome back!

  22. I totally would have been all over that deal. $99 is a steal for all the extra comfort and extras you would have gotten. Perhaps this is an example of cheap vs frugal?

  23. Having just endured my OWN 24-hour journey home from Germany, I can tell you that I would have paid for that upgrade faster than you can say ‘you bet your sweet ass.’

    I’d pay TWICE that.

  24. If it really wasn’t a problem I would have gone with the upgrade. It’s like a treat plus comfort is the way to go. Managing your finances so well allows you to enjoy small treats like that, it’s not something you would do often so I personally would have paid for it and enjoy it all the way. Plus it was such a long flight, it wasn’t your average 2 hour flight so it was well worth it.

  25. Nope, that is what mileage points are for. Unless your sick it doesn’t seem worth it.

  26. You betcha! You had a 20 hour trip, it was definitely worth it. I only travel overseas using business or first class because I am traveling from Los Angeles. Most trips exceed 11-15 hours. This is necessary for your health!

  27. I dont know Ninja I think you let your frugality get the best of you here. First class for only $99 when your company is already picking up the tab for economy is a hell of a deal especially on a 9 hour flight! I wanted to be in 1st class so bad on a 5 hour flight to LA so I can’t imagine a 9 hour flight in economy. It’s just one of those things most of us have on our bucket list (a long list mind you, not a short list).
    I dont know man, I hope you’re not sooo uptight with your money in every aspect of life, enjoy it while you’re able.

  28. I would have paid the money! That’s a great deal and I’ve always wanted to fly business class! On my way home from Hong Kong I payed $50 just for 8 inches of extra leg room. It was worth every penny. Basically it was the difference between sleeping and not sleeping. I was so glad I forked over the cash!

  29. You are young and can easily recover from any aches and pains or sleeplessness from an uncomfortable seat. So I can understand your viewpoint of money being more important than comfort. For me, these ancient bones in my long legs would really thank me for paying extra for the comfort. I would not hesitate to jump on a deal like that now. But in my younger days I probably would have been fine with being uncomfortable to save some money.

  30. Definitely would have taken it, especially on a long haul flight. Better food, leg room and you get to properly lie down to sleep. For $99, I think it’s sooo worth it!

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