After my final FTU speech yesterday, I flew home from Chicago to Los Angeles, a 4hr flight.
Being one of the busiest travel days of the year, my flight was about $200 one-way…more than I usually pay for Chicago to LA, but well within the realm of acceptability. My flight was operated by a 737-800 and I assigned myself a bulkhead window seat. The bulkheads on these aircraft have generous legroom and cutouts, allowing for a legroom experience that approaches first class.
We’re at the time of year where many United elite travelers have expiring upgrade certificates and a 1K friend had sponsored a regional upgrade (RPU) for the flight home. There was no “R” space so the upgrade never confirmed in advance.
At check-in, I was offered an upgrade for $159…a very attractive offer. It is not totally clear how United arrives at its upgrade pricing, but it seemed in this case the $159 was the difference between the cheapest currently avialble economy class fare (more than what I paid) and the cheapest available first class fare. There were two seats left and I was already #3 on the upgrade list, so it seemed like I’d have to pay the $159 if I wanted the upgrade.
But everything in life is a cost-benfit analysis, right? I thought about where that $159 could go. New plants for our garden at home? A nice dinner with my wife? Into Augustine’s college savings account? Thankfully, the problem was not that I could not theoretically afford all of the above. The problem was I simply could not justify the (reasonable) upgrade cost.
I did want lunch, but my preference was for a cheeseburger…$9.99 in coach. Why pay $159 for that? A wider seat would have been appreciated, but it was a short flight…EconomyPlus was fine.
So I passed on the upgrade.
There are all sorts of calculations that go into whether to upgrade or not. Yesterday, I simply could not justify the upgrade. What would you have done?