Bumping up to First Class: your Guide to Being Luxuriously Thrifty

So, something happened to me on my last trip that changed my life. Maybe it’s not as dramatic as I made this first sentence out to be, but it definitely changed my perspective on air travel and has henceforth ruined my budget. What is this something magical that happened to me? Business Class. Yes, business class. Not even First Class with all the fix’ins, but Business Class. I’ve always been the type of down-to-Earth person who doesn’t care if I stay in a Super 8 or a Hilton, that sitting in squished seating for 11 hours just to get to a beautiful country is normal. But, I’ve also always been that the type of snobby person who recoils at the sight of Crocs (the most offensive shoe known to man), who will not wear fake pearls, diamonds, or gold (H&M jewelry for fun excluded, of course), and who will for a pay hundreds of dollars more for a flight that has only one stop, or none at all. I’m also that gal who loves a good deal. I guess you can call me luxuriously thrifty.
Now, I’ve been on a few flights in my day, and I’ve seen the option to upgrade, but have always thought: why? That’s, like, 10 Starbucks drinks, or a really cute dress found while shopping abroad. But, there comes a day in everyone’s lives where a bump up makes you stop and think: why not? It all started with a busy day at work, making me forget about my flight to Toronto and the fact that it’s been hours since I would usually check-in and get my coveted window seat (honestly, why fly if you sit anywhere else?). To my horror, the only seats left were right by the bathrooms. Ready to accept my defeat and take the crappy seats (get it?), I was about to continue on when I noticed the Upgrade status was still available. One minute later, a few seconds of hemming and hawing with a co-worker, and I found myself booked into 2A and never looking back. Never mind getting seated first, which isn’t as exciting (I mean, you’re sitting down longer on a plane you’ll be sitting on for hours later), but the abundance of free snacks and drinks at the ready coupled with actual honest-to-goodness legroom and elbow room? This is my home now; please do not disturb. The flight there was like a magical experience where I got to curl up with my HBC classic striped travel blanket, read my magazine, and sip on my maachiato all like how I believed air-travel should be. Cute businessmen typed away at their laptops, their expensive watches clinking on the bottoms of their computers or trays and you got that warm and fuzzy feeling of the chosen few when regular folk (just me only hours ago!) pass by you to their tinier, inferior seats.

lukas-budimaier-44313.jpgPhoto by Lukas Budimaier on Unsplash

Always ask for an upgrade: Sometimes you have to pay a lot, sometimes you have to pay a little, sometimes you won’t have to pay anything at all. Checking into the hotel, but are curious about a better room or suite? Ask about the upgrade policies and deals. A lot of the time you can get a better room for much cheaper than the original cost – much like my foray into better seating on a flight. These types of deals only work at the last minute; be ready for no options, for not being able to swangle the best rooms, for having to settle for what you already have reserved. Hotels really can’t do anything if the place it booked to capacity (unless you’re Beyonce, of course). Book through Groupon, Expedia, and Hotwire to get the best accommodations that fit your budget. Staying at a ritzy Hilton in Niagara Falls doesn’t come cheap, unless you bought those accommodations with a Groupon, saving literally hundreds of dollars and giving you that sweet sweet soft sheet experience. Looking fior a 4-5 star on Bloor Street in Toronto, but are saving those hard-earned dollars for Holt Renfrew? Hotwire has you covered. You may end up disappointed, or less than excited, but you’ll be in a 4+ star hotel with catering at every whim.

The one regret? Not upgrading on the way home. After shopping and expensive room-service ate up my budget (Still have to be thrifty!), my conscious said to stop being such a snob and just stay in regular ol’ coach. Once you get the bigger seat, you finally realize just how small those seats really are and how parting with 50 – 100 bucks makes it feel like the flight is half the time. So, sit back, read your Bazaar and sip your maachiato, you Queen, you.

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