Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

[TRAVEL POST] Why I always check first-class air travel cost before booking economy ✈️🛫

Disclaimers: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Links in articles maybe affiliate links.

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It’s been a busy year traveling and booking travel can be a bit of a game. Booked and flown trips:


One of my favorite “hacks” so far has been to book one roundtrip to Europe and then other trips within that roundtrip while traveling within Europe. So much cheaper than doing a multi-city ticket. On the other hand, multi-city trips on one ticket within the United States are often cheaper than the roundtrip. 

Related: How to get a $6,000 business class seat to Europe for $350

The latest I finally got to work was to book cheaper first class than economy. Here’s how:

I was booked to speak in Reno, Nevada, and was looking to fly in the night before (always a good idea!) and leave a few hours after my talk. 

My preferred airline is American Airlines. With Platinuum status I get frequent upgrades and free better seats in economy. 

That flight looks like this on Google Flights:

Scrolling down you can see that the price is $927 and it gets me in super late and has a 4-hour layover at O’Hare. (I hate getting in late – except on the return home.)

First class was listed at over $1,400 and the Cedar Rapids-Chicago leg doesn’t even have first class with it being a little regional jet.

I then reran the itenriary on United in first class and here’s how that looks:

So a much better trip and arrival time. Leave at 9 a.m. and get there by 1 p.m.

The cost was; $867 – so cheaper than economy on American.

United also is flying 737s out of Cedar Rapids – so much nicer than the “watch your head” while entering regional jets. 

You might wonder: But wasn’t United Economy the cheapest here? Yes, in theory, but it depends on your status.

I have no status on United and these will be my first four legs on United in about a year. The fees for extra legroom seats – which I need at 6’4′”, 246, and also to work – add up super quickly and often come close to American economy fares. It’s usually a wash. 

I did actually tweet that the United First was $300 cheaper than American economy. 


That’s how the numbers looked when I compared them but when I decided hours later to blog about this and went to get grab screen shots I couldn’t recreate that scenario. Maybe the prices changed or I had different flights or maybe I misread. Either way,  it seems I found a good deal and learned my lesson to always check multiple options – including class of service.

I realize that many companies have policies to book economy but what if first class is cheaper after all? Don’t forget about the upsells after the initial buy! I also realize that most of you don’t fly out of Cedar Rapids, but maybe you can find similar deals from wherever you are flying. 


Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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