Cheapskate for not flying business class?

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msk
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Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by msk » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:31 am

OK, after a lifetime of scrimping and saving, I am now well into my retirement for the past 16 years, age 72, and I simply have a hard time to stomach paying some $120 extra per flying hour simply for an upgrade from Coach to Business. That's the differential on the long routes I normally travel. A trip involving 14 hours flying each way adds $3000+ per person for a return ticket. I normally go with DW so what is an unimportant travel cost suddenly mushrooms out by another $6k. Not that I do not appreciate the extra comfort (used to travel First back in the 1980s when my employer paid) but having done so much travel over the years, I can fall asleep within the first half hour, even in Coach. I am worth around 8 figures and my friends/relatives accuse me for being a miser. Am I? I suspect there are a number of BHs in similar situations and would like to hear their encouragement either to stick by my scrimping or to splurge. OK, my last trip I used airmiles to get the ticket for DW in Business Class so had to pay only for myself, but I have now run out of airmiles :annoyed

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FiveK
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by FiveK » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:43 am

msk wrote:...age 72, and...worth around 8 figures....

4% of $10,000,000 is $400K/yr.

If you are already spending that much, then don't go over budget on the air fare. ;)

If you aren't spending that much, go ahead and splurge a little: after all, it's only business class, not first class. :)

Or let DW make the reservations. :D

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warowits
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by warowits » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:48 am

I always feel like flying, even first class, is never that comfortable. It would be more fun to ride coach while discussing with your wife how to spend that 6 grand you apparently don't need. Charity? Jewelry? A used car for a grand kid? Debachery? Randomly dropping 60 $100 dollar bills throughout the plane and watching people's reactions when they start finding them (especially in coach!). I can't really think of a worse way to blow 6k than a flight upgrade. It doesn't make you cheap to refuse to waste your money.
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in_reality
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by in_reality » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:50 am

You are being sensible! Paying $3k for not much benefit to you doesn't make any sense.

I trust you can put that money to better use in any number of ways that gives you real value!

If it's easier to board first though or your DW can't sleep well, you might think again. For me it's helped adjust to the time difference by getting a little better sleep but I don't pay for it myself. Don't have eight figures either.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by JoinToday » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:01 am

msk wrote:..... I simply have a hard time to stomach paying some $120 extra per flying hour simply for an upgrade from Coach to Business. ......


I am with you 100% on this. I am not at 8 figures, but wife and I are doing well. I also look at cost/hr for upgraded tickets, and can't stomach the added cost for the hours of flight. I can suffer with a little discomfort for $120/hr. A couple hours of massage plus a couple beers will address any lingering aches and pains.

I want to get adequate value for my money. Having said that, it matters if you are talking $10M vs $99M. I think I might loosen up a bit if my net worth were north of $20M or $30M. At some point in time, your (and my) net worth is going to be spent: Either by you, your kids, grandkids, or the government. The way things are going, the government will likely take a good share of your net worth. You might as well put some thought into this, and figure out how to spend more.
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celia
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by celia » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:03 am

Here's a secret: The people suggesting you fly business class are not Bogleheads. They may fly in business class but likely don't have the assets you do, because they "waste" money on upgrades like this.

Another secret is that your seat gets to the same destination as theirs about 5 seconds later.

Have you read "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley? If not, I think you'd like it.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00CLT31 ... 822&sr=1-2

Better yet, check it out of the library and save some more. :wink:

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by German Expat » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:19 am

I would say the answer depends a bit how much of your money this would take out and what else you plan to do with it. Also how often a year do you travel that far?

14 hours is a long time and there is a chance for deep vein thrombosis ('economy class syndrome'). Also it is much more comfortable, the food is usually better, you have lounge access and the service on board is in general better. Business Class is almost always a lay flat bed nowadays. For me 6k per year if I have 8 figures saved would be worth it. Also how does DW feel about it?

If you go once per year and assume you can still fly for another 18 years this will cost you 100k additional, this is less then 1% of your total savings for the added comfort. I would do it but I am also flying between 150-300k per year and appreciate flying in business class.

Also if you search the right forums you can find deals especially around the holidays. You could also collect miles via credit card sign ups and use those for upgrades to defer some of the costs.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by rkhusky » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:45 am

Perhaps buy 3 tickets in coach so that you have an empty seat next to you?

heikejohn1
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by heikejohn1 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:55 am

Or the whole row & realy stretch out :mrgreen:

dbltrbl
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by dbltrbl » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:08 am

If you and your wife are physically fine in coach, no point in wasting that money. Use it for a worthy cause close to you and your wife.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by tphp99 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:09 am

msk wrote: I am worth around 8 figures and my friends/relatives accuse me for being a miser. Am I?


Pardon my asking, what are you saving for? What are your goals? Have you not enough money to realize those goals?

This is not to be snarky, please. We grapple with similar questions. There are times when we splurge and other times we pull back. But it all boils down to: how much money we want to leave behind/give away?

It appears you'll not spend all your money. Is a legacy important to you? I suspect keeping an eye on that balance (net worth) and seeing it rise still brings some pleasure, even in retirement, yes?

I'm still in the accumulating stage, but I wonder in retirement, will I spend it down? Isn't that why we all save for retirement? Or are some of us simply hoarding?

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:16 am

Your fear is not of spending $6k once, your fear is of having experienced business class once, you will really enjoy it and upgrading your lifestyle. Let's assume you do have an 8 figure net worth, a 2 percent return on portfolio is a minimum of $200k in portfolio growth. There was a recent thread on defining frugal vs. miser. I have to disagree with posters thus far, you are suffering from Silas Marnas syndrome, content to count your gold coins. If you are truly flying 14 hour trips as frequently as you say, sign up for a mileage card, then use the miles plus cash to upgrade for cheaper. What is the end goal for your portfolio? You are not going to take it with you.
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by nolapepper » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:47 am

I think it is worth splurging on a business class seat if you have the money. You worked hard and this is a good time to use the hard earned money to make your life a little more comfortable.

If I had the money, I would buy business for my parents at your age to fly 14 hours.

I have to fly internationally almost every year. 14 hours coach is really tough. I don't have money to splurge on a business class, but I do spend the $200+ on the economy plus where you get more leg room.

I also comfort myself by thinking that I make $3000 for just staying up two nights. Making almost $200/hour is a
Pretty good deal. LOL

But when I am 70 years old, and I have 8 figures, I want to fly in business class. At that age and with that much savings, you do not need to work overnight anymore.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by J295 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:52 am

my friends/relatives accuse me for being a miser. Am I?


I am quite serious with my forthcoming comment ..... unless your friends/relatives are suggesting that you are unkind or unloving, or have a suggestion that they genuinely believe will make your life more full and joyful, their perspectives on your consumption is largely if not completely irrelevant. If they made the comment to me and I choose to respond I might say something like "yep, I'm hoping to be the richest guy in the graveyard" and laugh it off and then fly however I decided.

Some things we do around resources seem to make sense, others seem inconsistent. So what. Recall the Walt Whitman line .... "Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

We are fine financially but make plenty of decisions that may not seem to make sense to everyone else, but so what? (For example, I'm the only one in our neighborhood that mows his own lawn and snow blows his own drive .... with dual motives ... .one I like doing it, and two even though we can well afford the cost I just don't want to pay for it at this stage of my currently healthy life).

Glad you and your wife are digging in and enjoying travel and whatever else is available to you ..... best regards.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by nolapepper » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:53 am

That costs about the same as business but without the premium service. :mrgreen:
heikejohn1 wrote:Or the whole row & realy stretch out :mrgreen:

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by carolinaman » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:00 am

I flew a lot in business and always appreciated flying in business class on long flights when I could which was not often. Given your net worth, I think it is a reasonable expenditure for you and your wife. I am also 72 and have taken cross Atlantic trips twice in last 2 years. I tolerate that travel pretty well but at our age, the added comfort will leave you in a more refreshed mode when you arrive at your destination. The older we get, the harder these trips become. Why not make it a little easier on both you and your wife and let go of the extra $$. You can afford it without any problem.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by gd » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:27 am

celia wrote:Another secret is that your seat gets to the same destination as theirs about 5 seconds later.

My seat does, but on the flight I take several times a year, I walk out the aircraft door 15-20 minutes later than them. And because several other flights come in at the same time, I then make it through Immigration and Customs about 30-45 minutes later. And then I miss a train, wait for the next, and get home several hours later than otherwise, with a physiological difference of being up all night vs. late to bed.

So do I take business class? Nope, but I expect that when I'm about 10 years older I will at least use premium economy because of the physical discomfort of both the seats and long trip-- or maybe just buy the seat next to me, if I am certain I can keep it empty on a packed flight. Try premium economy, and go from there. And as you probably realize, your family and friends have nothing to do with this, they're a rationalization.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by frugalecon » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:29 am

I occasionally book business class with miles, even though I understand that it is irrational to view them as materially different from cash. But generally I only do so for a long overnight flight, when I want to have the option of stretching out and sleeping. More airlines seem to be experimenting with premium economy products that are somewhat like what biz class used to be like (remember the Barcaloungers?) That may be the happy medium for those of us with cranky backs. Unlike the OP, I just can't sleep when I am uncomfortable, and if I did fall asleep in a bad position, I would likely end up with a sciatica flare-up that could ruin a trip.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by SleepKing » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:35 am

Sir,

If you both can physically and emotionally tolerate coach, stay there. If your DW really wants you to upgrade and she rides you about it, then go for it. Nothing wrong with spending or saving based on the value you perceive.

And tell everyone who criticizes you to bugger off!

Best,
Sleepy

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Leemiller » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:53 am

How does your wife want to fly? Sounds like she enjoys business class, if so at your asset level, it would be cheap to say no. Also, don't you want to sit together rather than than with strangers? As for the issue with ones veins, it is of more concern to me know that I know someone who had a stroke because of it.

With our low seven figure net worth we've upgraded to business for a few thousand more for travel with my child and husband. For me, it was worth the money for the added comfort and space. You can view it differently, but if your wife wants it, get it. If it's just you, do what you want but perhaps be focused less on what others say about what you do or don't spend your money on.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:04 am

msk wrote:OK, after a lifetime of scrimping and saving, I am now well into my retirement for the past 16 years, age 72, and I simply have a hard time to stomach paying some $120 extra per flying hour simply for an upgrade from Coach to Business. That's the differential on the long routes I normally travel. A trip involving 14 hours flying each way adds $3000+ per person for a return ticket. I normally go with DW so what is an unimportant travel cost suddenly mushrooms out by another $6k. Not that I do not appreciate the extra comfort (used to travel First back in the 1980s when my employer paid) but having done so much travel over the years, I can fall asleep within the first half hour, even in Coach. I am worth around 8 figures and my friends/relatives accuse me for being a miser. Am I? I suspect there are a number of BHs in similar situations and would like to hear their encouragement either to stick by my scrimping or to splurge. OK, my last trip I used airmiles to get the ticket for DW in Business Class so had to pay only for myself, but I have now run out of airmiles :annoyed


Given you have at least 10m, yes You are being a cheapskate. Why did you accumulate so much, if not tp be able to travel in comfort.?

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:07 am

We have seldom booked business class, other than as free upgrades or on employer's tab. I expect that to change in the near future. Flying has become so gruesome that I find ways to avoid it. We can't justify flying private, but the kids will be fine with a slightly lower inheritance if we travel business class.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Strayshot » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:30 am

At 72 with an 8 figure retirement you are insane not to be flying business class, especially on transoceanic flights. Just my opinion.

Look at it this way: you have x years of life left (x is probably around 14-16 actuarily) and estimate how much in $y you would spend on upgrades each year. Is x * y going to make such an impact to your portfolio such that you would forgo the comfort of upgrades? I would guess that we are talking about $300k total but maybe it is more. I don't see that having an impact to your retirement.

Only you can make that call. Remind yourself that you saved all these years to have a comfortable retirement :sharebeer

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:39 am

msk wrote:OK, after a lifetime of scrimping and saving, I am now well into my retirement for the past 16 years, age 72, and I simply have a hard time to stomach paying some $120 extra per flying hour simply for an upgrade from Coach to Business. That's the differential on the long routes I normally travel. A trip involving 14 hours flying each way adds $3000+ per person for a return ticket. I normally go with DW so what is an unimportant travel cost suddenly mushrooms out by another $6k. Not that I do not appreciate the extra comfort (used to travel First back in the 1980s when my employer paid) but having done so much travel over the years, I can fall asleep within the first half hour, even in Coach. I am worth around 8 figures and my friends/relatives accuse me for being a miser. Am I? I suspect there are a number of BHs in similar situations and would like to hear their encouragement either to stick by my scrimping or to splurge. OK, my last trip I used airmiles to get the ticket for DW in Business Class so had to pay only for myself, but I have now run out of airmiles :annoyed

I'd try to avoid a 14hr flight entirely. Where are you going and is there some other way to get there?

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:12 am

If I were in your level of net worth, I definitely would upgrade for probably any flight over 1,000 miles, especially if you are physically larger than average (which you didn't specify). After a bunch of long haul full fare business/first class flights you will likely get high up in the airline's frequent flyer program and possibly unlock free updrades, free tickets, etc.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:19 am

How does your wife feel about it? You say you can fall asleep quickly, even in coach. But if your wife is miserable on long flights, or even just uncomfortable, then you are being selfish by requiring her to be the stoic you are. And that is where frugality fades into miserliness. You can afford it, but refuse to allow her the extra comfort. On the other hand, if she is equally comfortable in coach, and would rather have the money than the leg and shoulder room, then no problem.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:21 am

I think business/first class is a waste of money. I have flown it plenty of times on long trips due to the kindness of friends that work at airlines. I have never paid for it. If I had an 8 figure net worth, I might think differently. However, I would get much more enjoyment using that $6k to stay in a better hotel or on excellent meals or experiences which would be enjoyed over the whole trip rather than a 7 or 10 hours on a plane. A lot of business/first class is theatrics and class envy. Long flights are typically overnight and I sleep anyway.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by dabblingeconomist » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:30 am

Business class is a much better deal for business travel, since then it's paid for with pre-tax rather than after-tax dollars.

I don't think you should feel ashamed or miserly about not booking business class. It may be that business class is worthwhile, but I think it's often justified using "mental accounting" - a heuristic where people look at the cost of business class relative to the (already fairly high) overall cost of travel, rather than justifying the $6k in absolute terms.

With that much at stake, there are all kinds of much cheaper alternatives that could give some enjoyment. Say, get a premium economy seat that offers better legroom, then get a 256GB iPad and load it to the brim with movies, TV episodes, books, or games that you might enjoy consuming over the course of a long flight.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by trirod » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:32 am

I wish the upgrade to business class was as cheap as $120 per hour on the flights I take - from Detroit to the U.K., economy is usually $1,200 RT while business is more like $5,000-$6,000, so that's more like $250 per hour. I'm certainly too cheap to do that but at your net worth I wouldn't think twice about it. On my last transatlantic trip I was upgraded to business class and must admit to really enjoying the lie flat bed and the peace and quiet of the business class cabin. But I still didn't sleep that well, and as other people have mentioned you get to your destination at the same time as everybody else.

Ultimately it's about priorities. My mum and dad have a much lower net worth than you do but they like to fly business class and stay in top hotels because that's where they get the most pleasure from their spending (instead of living in a big house or driving a fancy car). If you're personally happy flying economy then that's great, but if it's because you are worried about spending the money, you might want to reconsider.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by obgraham » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:55 am

Everyone has their own values.

I don't see the value of parking a 75K car in the WalMart lot rather than a 25K vehicle, though yes, I likely could afford to.

And yes, I like business class a lot better for a long flight. But not 6K worth better. And I've certainly no use for Emirates private shower suite on their A380.

On the other hand I probably spend money on stuff the next person thinks is frivolous. Whatever floats your boat.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by TravelforFun » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:02 am

rkhusky wrote:Perhaps buy 3 tickets in coach so that you have an empty seat next to you?

Won't work if not all three of you show up at the gate. They will give the middle seat to one of the people on stand by.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by sambb » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:07 am

I am more than happy to pay for business class. It all depends on how you want to spend your money.
On the other hand, no matter what my net worth, I would rather work than go on a cruise.
Different people like different things.
Some love cars, some like nice dinners, and some get the most enjoyment from not spending money, but rather saving it and watching the number increase for no reason at all from statement to statement. Who cares, its your life.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:19 am

I'm not often faced with that decision. Beyond saying it's up to you, I'd add this.

I honestly feel that on a long flight we are starting to talk about health and not comfort. It is a health hazard to maintain a cramped and unchanging position for a long time. This is especially true when you have a choice between having pressure on your knees and pressure from the seat cushion pushing up on your thighs. When the seat only "reclines" three inches and the passenger behind you resents even that much. When it costs money to check bags but a carry-on under the seat restricts your movement even further.

In Ye Olde Days it was often advised that you should make a point of taking breaks and standing up in the aisles, even stretching and exercising, but that's hardly possible any more. I've been known to take bathroom breaks when I didn't actually need to go to the bathroom, simply because it is good cover for getting out of the seat.
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:23 am

rkhusky wrote:Perhaps buy 3 tickets in coach so that you have an empty seat next to you?


How do you actually check in that extra seat?

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by mcraepat9 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:29 am

I think that certain people who have saved their entire life retain a desire deep down to receive value from every purchase they make, even if they can afford it. If the upgrade to business class is not valuable to you, don't do it. Spend money on things that genuinely make you happy or make your life easier. Ignore what everyone else says.
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by mcraepat9 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:30 am

leftcoaster wrote:
rkhusky wrote:Perhaps buy 3 tickets in coach so that you have an empty seat next to you?


How do you actually check in that extra seat?


I have thought about this too (embarrassing, I know). I think you need to do something like what they do for overweight passengers (make them buy 2 seats). Otherwise, that seat will be deemed a no-show and given to a standby passenger.
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by freebeer » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:39 am

msk wrote:OK, after a lifetime of scrimping and saving, I am now well into my retirement for the past 16 years, age 72, and I simply have a hard time to stomach paying some $120 extra per flying hour simply for an upgrade from Coach to Business. That's the differential on the long routes I normally travel. A trip involving 14 hours flying each way adds $3000+ per person for a return ticket. I normally go with DW so what is an unimportant travel cost suddenly mushrooms out by another $6k. Not that I do not appreciate the extra comfort (used to travel First back in the 1980s when my employer paid) but having done so much travel over the years, I can fall asleep within the first half hour, even in Coach. I am worth around 8 figures and my friends/relatives accuse me for being a miser. Am I? I suspect there are a number of BHs in similar situations and would like to hear their encouragement either to stick by my scrimping or to splurge. OK, my last trip I used airmiles to get the ticket for DW in Business Class so had to pay only for myself, but I have now run out of airmiles :annoyed


You probably didn't get to 8 figures assets by wasting money so I applaud this.

Personally were I in your situation I would go for business class if taller than 6' or wider than 34" waist... if you are plus size in any dimension the $3000+ per person extra, since you can easily afford it, would seem a worthwhile investment in comfort. I'm below these thresholds and am OK in economy. I also find on a lot of long-haul routes the "back of the bus" is rather empty. When I score 2 or even a whole row of 3 seats in a row in economy it's a doubly good feeling... comfort AND frugality :sharebeer

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:44 am

michaeljc70 wrote:I think business/first class is a waste of money. I have flown it plenty of times on long trips due to the kindness of friends that work at airlines. I have never paid for it. If I had an 8 figure net worth, I might think differently. However, I would get much more enjoyment using that $6k to stay in a better hotel or on excellent meals or experiences which would be enjoyed over the whole trip rather than a 7 or 10 hours on a plane. A lot of business/first class is theatrics and class envy. Long flights are typically overnight and I sleep anyway.


Diffeent people have different needs and desires. I personally would rather be reasonably comfortable on the way over to a far away destination than to splurge on a super fancy hotel. Because, as you say, I sleep in the hotel anyway (was it Motel 6 that advertised that when the light is out, all hotel rooms look alike?). Doesn't mean I sleep in dumps, but a Holiday Inn Express is perfectly acceptable if my goal is to spend little time in the room anyway. No point paying double the rate for a room at the Westin (plus hotel rooms are relatively easy to get for award points).

Economy travel is getting less and less comfortable. Airlines literally shrink the size of seats. When the 777 came out, United as the launch customer put 2-5-2 seating in the back of the plane, with a generous Economy Plus section. The two-seat sections by the window were great for couples traveling together. Then they switched to 3-3-3. And now they are "upgrading" them to 3-4-3. Where does the space for the extra seat come from? By shrinking the width of each seat by an inch or so. Premium Economy is often a good compromise for me.

With an 8-figure fortune I would not question whether flying business class on long trips is needed. I am not quite there yet (maybe never), but I know I am not working and saving to let our nieces and nephews later fight over a big inheritance.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:50 am

TravelforFun wrote:
rkhusky wrote:Perhaps buy 3 tickets in coach so that you have an empty seat next to you?

Won't work if not all three of you show up at the gate. They will give the middle seat to one of the people on stand by.


Buy it for your fragile musical instrument. :)

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... /seat.aspx

But seriously, an extra seat shared by two travelers will often cost more than if you book two Premium Economy seats. And you get better food, more miles (for higher status and future upgrades/free trips), sit in a somewhat quieter cabin, ...

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Riprap » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:52 am

mcraepat9 wrote:I think that certain people who have saved their entire life retain a desire deep down to receive value from every purchase they make, even if they can afford it. If the upgrade to business class is not valuable to you, don't do it. Spend money on things that genuinely make you happy or make your life easier. Ignore what everyone else says.


Perfect response! So what if your friends/relatives think you're a miser?

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:56 am

Riprap wrote:
mcraepat9 wrote:I think that certain people who have saved their entire life retain a desire deep down to receive value from every purchase they make, even if they can afford it. If the upgrade to business class is not valuable to you, don't do it. Spend money on things that genuinely make you happy or make your life easier. Ignore what everyone else says.


Perfect response! So what if your friends/relatives think you're a miser?


I agree.

I don't think miser and a $6k luxury purchase belong in the same sentence. A true miser frets about every nickel and wouldn't be traveling even in coach.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by zaboomafoozarg » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:07 am

I'm using business class as an incentive to make and save more money.

If I ever get to a net worth of $3M then I'm allowed to fly business class once per year.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Allocationist » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:08 am

As a couple who, after more than 40-years of living frugally, sometimes fly business class on long flights, we'd like to offer another perspective.

We feel airline travel is now a hassle that must be endured to reach a desired destination. This includes crowded noisy seating in the main departure terminals. Next is the boarding call which often results in a cattle drive of people crowding/shoving/blocking into the boarding line/s in order to ensure they can find overhead storage to place their large carry-on bags (to avoid baggage fees). Then there is the uncertainty of who you will end up sitting next to. Will they fit into their seat width or need to use some of your space? Will you enjoy their choice of music which you can hear even if they are using head phones? How many people will be backed up at the lavatories during the flight, etc.?

When flying business class you are able to use the pre-flight lounge which is usually much quieter, more spacious with a range of no-charge food and drink options. When your flight is boarding you can take a relaxing walk to the boarding area knowing there will be plenty of overhead space. During the flight it is much easier to protect your health by getting up and moving around. It is a nice touch to get better service, free drinks and an occasional decent meal.

It is likely that some readers will "cost out" the "free" benefits mentioned in the previous paragraph. Let me save you the trouble as I know it will not amount to much. It is more of a lifestyle choice that rewards my wife and I for working hard, saving and investing for decades.

There are also some less obvious benefits of business class. For example when going through security at Heathrow airport in London there is a section for business class passengers with minimal lines right next to the long serpentine rows of passengers in the regular lines.

It's important to point out there are big differences in the economy vs business class cost difference per mile depending on the origin/destination airports. They tend to be lower flying to/from large cities such as San Francisco to Amsterdam. In contrast the cost difference per mile for a flight from Amsterdam to many African cities will often have a much larger difference. In the latter case we still fly economy. I am the guy walking up and down the aisle annoying the flight attendants and the people seated next to where I am doing my stretching.

Even though we have adequate assets to fund our lifestyle we are still cautious about most our spending. Long-distance airline travel is one of our exceptions.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by hmw » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:09 am

My parents who are in their 70's just took a 13-hr transpacific last week. They are pretty frugal. My mom doesn't like travel much so they bought her a business class ticket. My dad claimed that he didn't see the value of biz class seat for the extra 3k, so he flew couch. I couldn't talk him out of it. They don't have 10 millions in the bank but certainly can afford 2 business class tickets.

To the OP, do you have a deaccumlation plan? Are you spending at least 400k a year? Sometimes it is hard to switch from an accumulation mode to a de-accumulation mode. I think I will have to work on it when the time comes.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by KyleAAA » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:13 am

Depends, how tall are you? At my age business class to Europe isn't worth it but business class to Asia definitely is: it is exponentially more comfortable and pleasant than coach for a 6'2" individual such as myself. I can deal with it for 6 or 7 hours but not 15 hours. Yeah, you arrive at the same time but they aren't comparable experiences. Do I want to suffer for 15 hours to save $1000? Nope. That said, I wouldn't bother paying the premium for a 2 hour domestic flight since I fly often enough that I'll likely get upgraded to at least comfort plus anyway (those few extra inches of legroom are huge).

Were my net worth in the 8 figure range I would fly first/business class everywhere.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Abe » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:26 am

I am in a similar situation to you regarding age and financial status. Personally I don't believe one should spend anymore money than they have too just because they have it. But, this is a personal decision. Everybody is different. When I'm faced with something like this, I ask myself if I would rather have the money or a little more comfort for a short period of time. Life is just a series of tradeoffs. I wouldn't worry too much about what other people think.
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by CajunDan » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:36 am

msk wrote:OK, after a lifetime of scrimping and saving, I am now well into my retirement for the past 16 years, age 72, and I simply have a hard time to stomach paying some $120 extra per flying hour simply for an upgrade from Coach to Business. That's the differential on the long routes I normally travel. A trip involving 14 hours flying each way adds $3000+ per person for a return ticket. I normally go with DW so what is an unimportant travel cost suddenly mushrooms out by another $6k. Not that I do not appreciate the extra comfort (used to travel First back in the 1980s when my employer paid) but having done so much travel over the years, I can fall asleep within the first half hour, even in Coach. I am worth around 8 figures and my friends/relatives accuse me for being a miser. Am I? I suspect there are a number of BHs in similar situations and would like to hear their encouragement either to stick by my scrimping or to splurge. OK, my last trip I used airmiles to get the ticket for DW in Business Class so had to pay only for myself, but I have now run out of airmiles :annoyed


OP: I have a lot less money than you and always fly business or first, the trick is to do it on the cheap. For domestic, it's usually about an extra $300 or so for cross country, $800 instead of $500, which I gladly pay every time.

For international, I play the credit card points game and fly business or first for a few hundred bucks max per ticket. For example, you and DW can each get a Sapphire Preferred Reserve card for $200/year net and get 100k points each, which gives you each a business class ticket for $200. If you spend an hour a week applying for credit cards, meeting the minimum spend, and using the right card for each purchase, you and DW can fly business/first for next to nothing forever. My wife and I have been doing this for over 10 years.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by randomguy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:39 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Riprap wrote:
mcraepat9 wrote:I think that certain people who have saved their entire life retain a desire deep down to receive value from every purchase they make, even if they can afford it. If the upgrade to business class is not valuable to you, don't do it. Spend money on things that genuinely make you happy or make your life easier. Ignore what everyone else says.


Perfect response! So what if your friends/relatives think you're a miser?


I agree.

I don't think miser and a $6k luxury purchase belong in the same sentence. A true miser frets about every nickel and wouldn't be traveling even in coach.


The question should be is spending 6k on say 20 hours of flying maximizing your happiness or maybe you would like to spend 6k more and drive a better car (say 300 hours/yr), 30 nice diners out, a really nice TV, lots of golf lessons, donation to your church, or any of a zillion other uses. So far to me the other ways to spend money have always won out. Your situation might be different.

My impression is that most of first class/bussiness class these days is all about upgrades and not full freight payers.

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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by Prokofiev » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:54 am

We have just returned from Australia on Qantas business class. In May we flew to Istanbul, Turkish Air business class. Both were well worth the investment. International business class is the new First class for most airlines and the service was incredible. Most important was the 180 degree flat seating for sleeping. A real treat . . .

After 40 years of economy flying it was time for an upgrade. Yes, I'm a bit larger than I was at age 20 or 30, but far more important is the size of the other travelers. Sitting next to people in the 300-400 lb range in economy is pure hell. I fit in MY seat, but my neighbors often don't. And space on planes continue to shrink. The new international standard is 10 across seating, from 9 across a few years ago. No thanks.

Of course this all depends on your financial situation and what you value in life. Those still saving for retirement should think twice about such luxuries. I certainly did. And would I rather spend this money on a nice hotel or massage? Moot point. I can and will do both. During the past several years it has become clear that we have more money than we can likely spend over our remaining lifetimes, so it is time to start spending it. That seems to be OPs situation as well. But if it makes you unhappy to spend your money, well there is a middle seat or two waiting for you in the back of the plane . . .
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Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Post by hicabob » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:04 pm

My cuz flies for BA. Thanks to him on the last trip I took over, I got an upgrade to first going over and biz coming back. Very nice indeed but I am not yet able to bring myself to pay the $14k 1st or $6k biz fare even though I'm in a similar financial position to the original OP. Perhaps the years of building the nest egg impart a permanent frugality? I suspect almost all of those people in first and most in biz are not flying on their own dime.

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