We All Have Our Weak Spots.

We all know that the airlines have found any number of ways to squeeze an extra few bucks out of us. They lure us with what looks like a bargain, then nick us for checking a bag, for a seat with a few extra inches of legroom, and for any kind of snack or simple meal.
Hawaiian Airlines has come up with an interesting new gimmick. Assuming there are still unsold seats in First Class on any given flight, about a week before the departure date, people booked in “Extra Comfort” seats get an email asking if they would like to bid on a seat in First Class. It’s all done on line, including paying for the First Class seat in advance should you have the winning bid.
It’s tempting because the flight is a little more than five hours long, and Hawaiian does a very nice job in First Class, cleverly making kind of game out of it. But here’s what’s crazy about this idea: My contact at Hawaiian Airlines tells me that the winning bids are often several hundred dollars MORE than the first class ticket would have cost in the first place. Go figure.
Of course, I, too, do things that are just as goofy. For instance, I’m started my recent trip by flying to Portland, spending the night in a hotel there, taking Amtrak up to Seattle the next day, then departing the following afternoon on the Empire Builder headed for Chicago. So why didn’t I fly direct to Seattle? Because Hawaiian Airlines’ fare to Portland was a hundred-and-some-odd dollars cheaper than the fare to Seattle. Go figure.
By the way, I already know that one of my trips next year will be to London. That’s because Major League Baseball has scheduled a two-game series there in July of 2019 between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. And these will be regular season games, not pre-season or exhibition games. Now that would be worth doing!


  1. Air New Zealand has been offering similar chances to bid for a few years. I have no idea of what people pay. Just before Easter I flew Christchurch to Sydney with Emirates and, as is usual, I received an offer to upgrade a few days before. At more than double the price for a 3 hour flight I am never tempted. I arrived at the airport to be told that as the plane was fully booked they were upgrading me to business class for free, I am guessing because I am a frequent flyer. The only problem is, I have been spoilt and I doubt the same will happen on my 14 hour flights between Sydney and Dubai or the 7 and half hour flights between Dubai and Paris later this year.

  2. The additional question is why you didn’t catch the Empire. Builder in Portland—LOL

    1. Good question. I’ve done the Portland-Spokane segment and the scenery to wonderful, but there is no diner and the car attendant handed me a cold salad in a box just before the train departed Portland at something like 4:30 in the afternoon. The main reason was that I had arranged to have dinner in Seattle with relatives.

      1. I feel your pain about no diner and a cold salad. Dinner in Seattle with relatives is another good reason to eschew Portland. Aloha

  3. That’s interesting about Hawaiian Air upgrade offer.
    I’m flying to Copenhagen in September on Norwegian Air Shuttle and there is a standing offer after booking to bid for upgrade starting at $200.
    I’m not taking advantage but it is a nice add-on.

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