Which of these tickets would you purchase?

Sitting in my room last night I finally got around to booking my ticket to get out of town on Friday. Yes, I waited a bit longer than I should have, leaving me inside the 7-day advance purchase window, but my schedule wasn’t settled yet so I had to. The schedule still isn’t settled but I’m booking anyways. It is a simple trip – I need to get from Raleigh to Atlanta. I need to do so in the afternoon, arriving no later than 6pm. So I searched for options and got the following results:


The first two flights are obviously the cheapest by a bit but the long layovers and poor departure times mean not actually getting work done if I pick those. And since someone is actually paying me to work these days that seems like a bad plan. Similarly, the last choice is rather pricey and still has the bad connection timing.

The 1:30pm departure on Delta is a bit too early to leave the office. The 2:45pm would actually be perfect but it is the most expensive of the options out there that has a decent schedule. Options 4, 6 and 7 seem to be still in contention and I’ve got a voucher from US Airways from when they screwed me coming home from Africa last year so spending that would be nice.  But skipping the connection would be nicer.

So it is down to the two Delta choices – the 2:45pm flight in coach or the 4:00pm flight in first. And the first class seat is cheaper!

Turns out it actually wasn’t that hard a decision to make after all.

Yes, I know that it is a short flight in a rather mediocre first class cabin. And I know that I have to pick up a rental car on arrival and be mostly coherent so drinking up a storm isn’t likely to happen. Still, getting the better seat for LESS money is one of those opportunities I generally take full advantage of.

I just hope the accounting folks understand when I submit my receipts…

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. This was a no-brainer.

    When considering connecting flights, particularly on a trip so short, pax should ask themselves what each hour of incremental personal time is worth to themselves…and select accordingly. $20 an hour? $100 an hour? $1,000 an hour?
    Perhaps also factor in the value of concentrating miles on a particular carrier in the decision, but again, put a price on it and decide if your time is worth spending.

    Time is just about the only thing you can’t get more of.

  2. Just print out a screen grab and u are good to go. Also 1.5 miles in first, no?

    1. The tool screenshot is from http://matrix1.itasoftware.com/. That’s the original ITA and it is a great resource. There are a few things the new Matrix does better but I mostly love the original.

      And I agree that it was a no brainer to make the choice I did. Even for the miles – 1000 in a useful program versus less than that in a less useful program – cannot be worth more than $25-50. And, ultimately, the ability to skip a potential problem with the connection and reduce my risk of missing dinner in Atlanta is really where the value is for me.

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