Paying Extra for a Flight for the Convenience of a Better Seat

I’ll be visiting family for Christmas, and I just bought my plane tickets online. I know that I should have bought them earlier, but I only had to pay for my return flight because I was able to buy my departure ticket using points I saved.

I have some self-imposed rules when choosing flights:

1) Avoid red-eyes if possible because of my inability to sleep for longer than 10 minutes at a time on planes.

2) When flying from the East Coast to the West Coast (where my hometown is), try to choose a flight that will land before 9 p.m. (to help with jet lag).

3) Pay the extra money for direct flights — time is money and I’d rather spend an extra $50 to not have to land in another city and wait for a connecting flight.

That’s pretty much it. I pack as light as possible to avoid baggage fees, and avoid spending money at the airport.

When it comes to choosing a seat, I always pick an available aisle seat that’s closest to the front of the plane so I can get up without bothering anyone if I need to, and exit the plane quicker upon landing. I avoid paying additional fees for extra legroom or “premium” seats at nearly all costs. Nearly. Here were my seat selection choices for my return flight:

The no-fee seats were all middle seats in the rear of the plane, and I contemplated taking the one in row 18.

The seats in the front of the plane were early boarding (E), which cost an additional $30, and “main cabin select” (M), which cost and extra $100 and includes extra legroom. There were also first class seats for more than $1,000, which, ha.

Since it’s in my nature to save money (the middle seat isn’t that bad), I normally would have chosen the seat in row 18. But I ended up paying an extra $30 for the early boarding aisle seat in row 6. My reasoning: It’s the holidays, you’re flying across the country — treat yo’self. So I did.

Photo: Glenn Fleishman

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.