Guilty luxury

I am cheap. I don’t think I go quite as far as being a tightwad, but I’m frugal. I buy generics at the supermarket and drugstore, and when I order from Amazon, I always choose the free shipping option, even though it sometimes drives me crazy waiting for the item to arrive. I don’t mind spending money on functionality, but I find it tough to spend extra for luxury.

Today, however, I did something I found difficult: I paid the extra money for seat upgrades for our trip to the UK later this year. We traveled that way on our last trip, and the 8 hour flight across the Atlantic was vastly more pleasant than the couple of hours in cattle class between Austin and Chicago.

I don’t want to risk arriving in the UK with my back in spasm, and having a miserable time for the next couple of months (including a 12 hour return journey). Another issue is that we’re only going to be there a week–so the less jetlagged we are on arrival, the better. There’s a third bonus, however: by going with British Airways, I managed to avoid Chicago O’Hare, Newark, and JFK. It’ll just be a short 1 hour hop in cattle class to Dallas, then the whole of the rest of the journey will be spent in relative luxury. I plan to settle down comfortably with the Kindle and read a book or two, then sleep a little after the 3-course dinner.

It’s more than I’ve ever spent on travel before. Last time the upgrade was about a 20-30% premium, this time it about doubled the price. Alarm bells rang at American Express, and I had to call them to confirm that yes, it really was me buying plane tickets. It then took six attempts before they could persuade their security system to let me complete the purchase. It seems they know my spending patterns pretty well.