Getting Perspective on Priorities in First Class

It’s not very often that I fly in First Class.

There are dozens and dozens of things I’d rather spend my money on, and it seems a bit silly to me to pay what would amount to the cost of a night in a hotel room for a little wider seat.

There are better things to spend money on.

There are more important things in life.

Once in a while, a First Class ticket falls in my lap – like it did this weekend on my way home from Seattle. Angie and I were offered $300 travel vouchers, a hotel room, meal vouchers, and First Class tickets home if we would voluntarily fly home on Sunday instead of Saturday. We were both planning to buy airplane tickets to BlogHer this summer and had been agonizing over rising ticket prices, so we jumped at the opportunity.

It only ever takes me a few minutes in First Class to remember why people pay for it.

It really is wonderful. Pre-take off drinks. Leg room. Real silverware. Real food – and plenty of it. The flight home from Seattle may have been the exact same number of hours as the trip to Seattle a few days earlier, but the upgraded experience was infinitely better.

They serve warm cookies and milk in First Class.

Undoubtedly, at some point during my blissful flights in First Class, I will find myself thinking that maybe this is the only way to travel. Maybe these happy hours are worth the extra money. Maybe I’ll save a little extra and sacrifice somewhere else to become a permanent First Class flier from now on.

Of course, that doesn’t happen. The next time I book a flight I’m counting pennies and trying to figure out what expenses and experiences are most worthy of my travel budget, and First Class never makes the list.

First Class is not now and probably never will be a priority for me.

But it’s nice to be reminded that other people are not stupid.

Or frivolous.

Or entitled.

Or living with out of whack priorities.

Or any of the numerous other things we tell ourselves about people who make choices that are different from our own.

There is no such thing as better things to spend money on.

There is no such thing as more important.

Importance is a personal opinion based on personal experiences, goals, and values. There is no right nor wrong Order of Priorities.

We know this, of course. On a conscious level we all nod our heads and say obviously it’s none of my business how you spend your money. Clearly we are all allowed to make our own choices.

But we also judge that which we do not understand.

I know I do.

There are better things to spend money on.

There are more important things to watch on TV, read about, or do with your time.

There are more important ways to spend your money, time, energy, and attention.

But more important to whom? To me? What sense would it be to use my priorities to spend the resources of your life? No more than it would be to let your priorities dictate my own life.

I would not pay for a First Class plane ticket.

But flying 3,123 miles in someone else’s seat reminds me that my perspective isn’t the only one.

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