At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

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rich126
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by rich126 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:44 pm

OkieIndexer wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:34 pm
A little over a decade ago we flew from L.A. to Hong Kong (14 hour flight) on Cathay Pacific Airlines (one of the best airlines in the world), and we were in coach. The flight had been overbooked however, and to our great luck the flight attendant came to us and asked if we wanted a free upgrade to business class. YES PLEASE! It was an awesome 14 hours and an amazing start to our trip, compared to a likely crappy 14 hours crammed in coach.

We got really lucky...maybe the probability of that happening was 1%?
Without knowing more info (like whether you had any kind of FF status) it is hard to say but if you were just a regular person, I'd say much less than 1%.

The only time I've gotten upgraded is when they overbooked the flight in coach or when I had status and was eligible for an upgrade.

The over booking was amusing because I had organized a ski trip for about 8 people. On the day of the trip I had some issues getting to the airport and didn't have a seat assigned, then I got one and it was in first class (another lady, not in my group, also got upgraded). I think my trip "mates" thought I had charged them extra for my first class seat. :P

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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:58 pm

Never.

IRT
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by IRT » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:31 pm

Planner01 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:13 pm
I think $5k is reasonable but at what point in your budget can you justify spending over $10k on a roundtrip flight when the same flight on Coach is $1k? I think I’d have to have over $10M in generating investments to feel comfortable doing this.

Thoughts?
A fun thought experience. From flying internationally coach on my own dime and business class on MegaCorp's dime, the upgraded experience is worth the premium if I had... $8-10M. My final answer :)

Seasonal
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Seasonal » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:33 pm

You can justify it when you'd enjoy it and it doesn't interfere with your budget or financial goals.

At this point, I'd happily pay $10k for a safe flight to a nice location in Europe that would admit us and provide safe and available hotels, restaurants and museums.

IRT
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by IRT » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:34 pm

CurlyDave wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:21 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:17 pm
My last day on earth. Even then, probably not.
I think that flight is free.
I want the record to show that on my last day on earth, I will absolutely take the business class upgrade, thank you very much.

Starfox
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Starfox » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:41 pm

Seasonal wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:33 pm
You can justify it when you'd enjoy it and it doesn't interfere with your budget or financial goals.

At this point, I'd happily pay $10k for a safe flight to a nice location in Europe that would admit us and provide safe and available hotels, restaurants and museums.
+1

Trader Joe
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Trader Joe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:42 pm

Planner01 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:13 pm
I’ve taken in the past business class flights for almost $5k (only twice) and it was a total delight given that the flights were over 12 hours each way. I think $5k is reasonable but at what point in your budget can you justify spending over $10k on a roundtrip flight when the same flight on Coach is $1k? I think I’d have to have over $10M in generating investments to feel comfortable doing this.

Thoughts?

*** I know no one is traveling right now, but I am thinking of the future.
If this were for an international flight, I would have no problem with this price.

I have paid more for international flight comfort.

toofache32
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by toofache32 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:13 pm

I have not read any responses. I debate this with myself a couple times a year and this is very simple. There is no online calculator. It's no different than any other financial decision and is personal since everyone has their own priorities. The Boglehead answer is to take the cheapest fare and hang on tight to the wing. Only you can decide if the extra money is worth it or not.

hookemhorns
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by hookemhorns » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:24 pm

oldfort wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:25 pm
hookemhorns wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:10 pm
My wife and I have done it several times and I've done it dozens of times for work.

We basically budget $10-15k a year for vacation. Some years are less (definitely less this year :( ), some more. So basically every 2-3 years we have the opportunity to take an awesome 1-2 week international trip. If I'm flying 10+ hours I'm going to business class, you'll never get me to go back to economy on such a long flight. We view the expense as part of the experience and some of the best memories of our lives have been on those trips.

It's all about if you can afford it and what you value. Some people drive Mercedes and fly economy...I drive a Chevy but fly business class. Neither are inherently wrong. FWIW, we save 50% of our pretax income, so business class isn't going to kill us.
The OP is looking to spend $10k on a seat. If the OP and his SO did this, the flight alone would be $20k. You can't have a $15k vacation, when you spend $20k on airfare.

Scale up the numbers as you please. I’ve spent well over 10k on our airfares for a vacation. It’s all about priorities and what one values.

reln
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by reln » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:25 pm

Planner01 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:13 pm
I’ve taken in the past business class flights for almost $5k (only twice) and it was a total delight given that the flights were over 12 hours each way. I think $5k is reasonable but at what point in your budget can you justify spending over $10k on a roundtrip flight when the same flight on Coach is $1k? I think I’d have to have over $10M in generating investments to feel comfortable doing this.

Thoughts?

*** I know no one is traveling right now, but I am thinking of the future.
1B

shelanman
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by shelanman » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:31 pm

I think I would be able to justify a $10k flight only when I reached the point where either:

1) The $10k was less than 20% of the budget that I had for the trip, or

2) The entire budget for the trip, including the $10k flight, was not a significant fraction of my discretionary budget for the year, or

3) I guess trivially, someone else was paying and didn't mind.

Which means that I probably only need like a 400% raise before I could do it. I guess I should get cracking!

aaaaaaaaaaaand that's why I waste an inordinate amount of time playing the points-and-miles game, because OMG are business class flights nice and coach international flights misery.

02nz
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by 02nz » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:34 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:39 pm
Just FYI, I have not done it but I have heard that overweight people can buy two seats so they are not crammed in next to someone else. That would cost a fraction of the $10K and for a couple they could just pay for three seats and be guaranteed to have an empty seat in between them. While that would not be the same as first class it would make the flight a lot better.
Air New Zealand and a few other carriers offer a interesting "Sky Couch" product, where you book a row of 3 (for 1 or 2 passengers), kind of a poor man's flat-bed. There's actually a flap that fills the space where normally you legs would go, to make for a larger "bed" area. But it's less than five feet across, so you can't fully stretch out.

https://www.airnewzealand.com/economy-s ... ycouch-360

Starfish
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Starfish » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:50 pm

Afty wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:37 pm
Planner01 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:13 pm
I’ve taken in the past business class flights for almost $5k (only twice) and it was a total delight given that the flights were over 12 hours each way. I think $5k is reasonable but at what point in your budget can you justify spending over $10k on a roundtrip flight when the same flight on Coach is $1k? I think I’d have to have over $10M in generating investments to feel comfortable doing this.

Thoughts?

*** I know no one is traveling right now, but I am thinking of the future.
I would find that difficult to justify at any level of finance. I don't find coach that horrible, and I can deal with it for 10-15 hours to save $9k.
My thoughts exactly.
Is not the 10k that is the problem, I'd pay 10 times that on a boat for example without a problem (later, when I have more time and money).
Is the value from obtained from 10k that I don't get. In my opinion coach is fine. It's actually nice if I fly without my kid and/or an empty row at night or during the day time even with the kid. Even if they gave me a flying hotel room I wouldn't pay even double of a normal ticket because I actually don't dislike coach at all (I am 6'2" 200lbs).

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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by KyleAAA » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:42 pm

NHRATA01 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:53 pm
We flew first class for the honeymoon down to the Carribean, just because. It was only a 4 hour flight and I don't think it was more that 1k per ticket then. But really other than the wide seats, boarding convenience and free alcohol I wasn't that impressed with the value proposition. Granted the longest flight I've ever been on was only 6 hours so I might feel different on a 12hr+ international flight.

I got to fly private 1 time from NY (White Plains) down to Myrtle Beach thanks to a relative who works on Wall Street. Just me and him in a Hawker that seated 7 or 8, a bottle of scotch and a quick 90 minute flight. Wheels up within 10 minutes of arriving at the terminal, no TSA checks. Upon landing on the return flight, my car (a mere Chevy) was idling on the tarmac waiting for me. I asked him the approximate cost and was told 17K. Split that among 3 or 4 people for a weekend getaway - particularly since in lower NY the only direct to Myrtle is Spirit out of LaGuardia, yuck - and I could see it being worthwhile. But after flying private once, it kind of dulled the shine of first class for me I think. At a $10K premium per person, I don't know. I think I'd be more inclined to put it towards the vacation accommodations and just accept the flight as the unpleasant burden of the trip.
First class on a short flight is TOTALLY different than business/first class on big cross-ocean long haul flight. In the latter case, your seat is at least semi-private and fully reclines so you can sleep properly. On some airlines, it’s literally a private hotel room with a real bed. Nicer than your average private flight.

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whodidntante
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:59 pm

I've occasionally sprung for domestic first-class when the price was within $100 or so. It often will be on a high demand flight, if those still exist.

I wouldn't pay 10k+ for a flight because that's an inefficient way to get a business class fare. Much better value to use miles and be patient IMO. There are a lot of ways you rack up miles, with flying being the most difficult way. I don't waste miles but they can be a good value for higher fare cabin. And I'm not even talking about the deal of the century, just normal good prices. I think my last flight to Costa Rica was business class for 60k miles round trip.

IMO
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by IMO » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:00 am

Well, one of my family members had a $22,000 flight than was only about 20 minutes. Fortunately, with insurance I believe we were out $2k. Because this was a medical emergency even though it was overpriced, it was justified. I would justify the cost for myself or any of my family members.

When it comes to leisure air travel, I've only flown 1st class a couple of times. It was nice/complimentary but honestly I wouldn't spend that type of money for any flight, unless I had so much disposable income that $10K for a flight wouldn't bother me. Fortunately for flying, I can fit in a seat reasonably with reasonable comfort so long as there is no significantly obese person next to me.

But everyone has their life preferences on how much and what to spend their money. If one wants to spend $2K, $5K, or even $10K on a flight, go for it.

People seem to have work perks that allow them to fly 1st class. Nice perks. I few a bit for work and we didn't get those perks, but it would have been nice.

Justifying a $10K flight is definitely a 1st world problem.

Silence Dogood
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:20 am

OP,

Since you asked - Never.

It's totally beyond what I can afford, but even if could, I can think of so many better ways to spend that kind of money.

Cruise
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Cruise » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:42 am

Most of our F/J travel is paid with points/mileage. Credit card spend accumulates most of these miles.

Most expensive J ticket ever purchased cost $5K each. We earned enough airline miles from that very long trip (not including the cc points) that we were able to acquire a one-way transpacific J mileage ticket for the price of taxes. So, a $10K ticket may be actually a ticket for a lot more...

tamudude
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by tamudude » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:14 am

Planner01 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:13 pm
I’ve taken in the past business class flights for almost $5k (only twice) and it was a total delight given that the flights were over 12 hours each way. I think $5k is reasonable but at what point in your budget can you justify spending over $10k on a roundtrip flight when the same flight on Coach is $1k? I think I’d have to have over $10M in generating investments to feel comfortable doing this.

Thoughts?

*** I know no one is traveling right now, but I am thinking of the future.
It is especially tempting on long haul flights. I recently did long haul from the Middle East to Texas (16 hours nonstop) and QSuites on Qatar Airways A350 was heavenly in comparison to economy class. Granted I did this with accumulated points, QCredits etc earned via business trips in economy :) .
At the end of the day, the answer to your question is "it depends on what VALUE it brings to the particular person and how it aligns with their spending philosophy".

sfnerd
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by sfnerd » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:33 am

I fly a ton (not during COVID of course), and always international business class, both when work pays and when I have to pay.

10k tickets are actually fairly rare... You can usually find a business class fare for 3-6k almost anywhere. I've only paid 10k or more a few times, and usually it was because it was a same day purchase for work.

To me, paying 3-6k for a round trip business class ticket from Asia to the US is worth it. You can sleep the whole way, and it saves you a day each way. My time is worth more to me than 1-3k per day.

I felt comfortable paying this much when my net worth hit 3m or so. At this point I realized that my time and comfort was more precious than the money. That being said, no matter what my NW is, I just usually buy coach for short flights, unless there is a really great deal on first class. I'm not tall, so it's fine if the flight is 4 hours or less.

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mrspock
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by mrspock » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:12 am

sfnerd wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:33 am
...
10k tickets are actually fairly rare... You can usually find a business class fare for 3-6k almost anywhere. I've only paid 10k or more a few times, and usually it was because it was a same day purchase for work.
...
This. The question posed is a false choice. I fly business class all the time and $3-6k as above is very standard. I explicitly saved up extra money for my retirement to support "business class everywhere", I budgeted around $20k/yr for this sort of travel which gives me 2-3 international business class round trips, with maybe another 5 (coast to coast) business class domestics -- this is plenty for me.

To answer the OPs question, tack on another $500-750k to your retirement, and you can travel business class pretty comfortably (@ 3.5% SWR that's a $20-26k/yr budget). Honestly even at $5m retirement, that's almost $15k per month in spending (3.5% SWR), if you can't afford business class on that domestically and a few times per year international, you are "doing it wrong". At $10m, you are just getting silly IMO, basically being generous and buying biz class tickets for your heirs -- who will probably have no such problem paying for it with your retirement money.

Honestly, once I hit retirement.... my days of flying coach are finished.

runswithscissors
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by runswithscissors » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:13 am

For $10K... I would rather spend $4K on a great seat and $6K on an amazing hotel stay.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:29 am

Depends on how much money you have and how wide and tall you are. I'm tall and can't fly coach without my knees jammed up into the seat in front of me. That's fine for 4 or 6 hours, but more than that, my back acts up. When I flew once, the person in front tried to push her seat back, when she couldn't, she complained. I thought to myself, this isn't going to end well. When asked to move, I complied; they put me in the last row; its the only time in a lifetime of flying that I got airsick it wasn't a pretty sight for me or the person next to me. At least the airline later gave me a free roundtrip ticket (coach) anywhere in the lower 48. To this day, I avoid 757's.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:28 am

You can’t social distance on an airplane,” Nicholas E. Calio, the CEO of Airlines for America (A4A), said in a call with reporters, according to The Hill. “We believe there are safety measures in place on a multilevel basis that makes flying safe, in fact, safer than many other activities.”
He said it was safer than grocery shopping, but I have my groceries delivered. As long as this thinking prevails, I guess I’ll fly private or not at all. Not getting COVID (I’m in a high risk category) is worth more than $10k.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by crefwatch » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:40 am

Don’t romanticize private flights. They are much more dangerous than scheduled flights. My wife used to use a company scheduled-private flight that was usually full, to a busy division. She particularly enjoyed that the big shots who always came at the last minute had to take the eighth seat, which was over the “emergency” toilet. Some glamor. Plane sometimes had to buzz the runway to disperse deer.

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Re: At what point can you justify a $10k+ flight?

Post by Flyer24 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:50 am

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