Would You Pay More to Sit in the Front of the Plane?


My son’s very first airplane ride is just under two months away. I recently booked our flight through a third party vendor and had to call the airline for specific seat assignments. I normally wouldn’t worry about this, but wanted to ensure the three of us could book seats next to one another.

As soon as I mentioned the reason for my call the customer service representative asked if we wanted additional legroom for our seats. I’m over 6 feet tall with a short torso and extremely long legs, so the space between two seats can actually become quite cramped for me. I was willing to consider the option and asked how much it would cost to upgrade. “It starts at $5,” she said, (a good way to lure customers into considering the pricier seats), “but your cost would be $50 per person”. $150 for all three of us on each leg of the flight for a total of $300 if we choose to upgrade each time the airplane took to the sky. It was easy to say no to that offer.

“Well you can also pay a little extra for seats at the front of the plane,” the customer service rep offered. As she was chatting I quickly clicked on seatguru and found that there may be an additional 2 inches of space for seats in the front of the plane, but the airlines representative couldn’t confirm that fact. “It only costs an additional $5”, she said.

Five extra dollars per seat, meaning we’d spend $15 for three seats that may have additional legroom near the front of the plane. If we wanted the same seating on the return flight we’d have to kick in an additional $15.

Was priority seating in the front of the plane worth an additional $5 per person per flight? If I was guaranteed an extra few inches of legroom I definitely would’ve jumped at the opportunity. My son doesn’t need the extra space, but my husband certainly wouldn’t object and it really would make travel a little more pleasant for me.  Sitting in the front of the plane might also be handy since we have to lug the car seat and other toddler related items through the tiny aisle of the plane.

We pay $15 at the drop of a hat for all sorts of things: parking at events, a quick meal on the way to and from the beach, stickers, toys and craft supplies, but would I pay $15 for the possibility of a more pleasant experience?

What do you think? Would you pay more for the possibility of extra legroom and/or a seat at the front of the plane?

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5 thoughts on “Would You Pay More to Sit in the Front of the Plane?”

  1. Hi One Frugal Girl,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I agree with you that everywhere you turn there is some new additional fee created.

    I think I would pay for the extra legroom at the front of the plane if I had a baby or toddler. That would provide some comfort and ease with all the baby items we would need to carry with us. This would also apply to a situation where you have a family member or friend who has leg cramps or physical ailments where they need to stand up or stretch often.

  2. Nope. Tell me you’ll give me a seat or it’s no deal. I don’t pay for potential upgrades.

    Now I might have shelled out the $50 per seat but they were clearly trying to get every penny, especially because of the “it starts at $5,” I probably would have said no on principal.

    You might try booking two seats in economy and one in plus or business. That way you and your husband can trade off and get some relief depending on how long the flight is. If it’s just a couple hours I’d say it wasn’t worth it but only you can know how uncomfortable you’ll be.

    • Bernie — I actually LOVE your suggestion of purchasing one seat in plus or business if we were traveling on a longer flight. For a four hour flight it may or may not be worth it, but it would enable both of us to stretch for at least a little bit of our journey. My fear though is that my son will want to stick with me. He’s a bit of a momma’s boy, which means my husband would get to spend 4 hours all alone. Not a bad deal for him, not sure it’s such a good one for me šŸ™‚

  3. You don’t need to bring the car seat on the plane. Check it with your baggage, or at the gate. Airlines in Canada allow for one larger (car seat, stroller, portable baby bed, etc) to be checked free. US airlines might have something like that? I have travelled a lot with my child and not once have I wished to have brought the car seat on the plane. If you do feel more comfortable having your son restrained in the plane seat, which I completely understand, you could get the CARES harness. It is light weight, portable and can be thrown into your purse to carry on/off the plane and through the airport.

    • Thanks Sarah. I have read a lot of mixed reviews on the need for a car seat on the plane. Some people have told me I cannot live without it, others say it isn’t necessary for a cross country flight, but would be for a much longer one. We definitely need a car seat where we are going, so it seems easier to just bring one with us. If we are brining one along anyway I don’t see the harm in using it on the plane. Other than dragging it through the airport.


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