Travel News

The $14,000 First Class Ticket That You Bought

When it comes to flying, most of us try to do it for the cheapest possible price. Of course, Delta is trying to change that concept come 2015 with their revenue-based earning program, but we still always think of the deal in regards to the best possible price for the value we are looking to receive.  I have flown dozens of (paid) trips where I am sitting next to someone that had paid at least 10 times the price I paid for my ticket. I know that many business travelers cannot shop for airfare based on cost but need to purchase tickets based on their schedules and meetings and such, so that is the reason for the great difference in price paid.

Now, I know that many such people pay $2,000 for business/first class transcontinental trips and pay over $10,000 for international business/first class tickets. However, this $14,000 first class ticket was not to Germany or to Thailand. According to NASA travel records, this $14,000 first class ticket that you (the taxpayer) bought was for travel from Washington DC to Los Angeles (for one of the NASA center directors)! I am sure it must have had some international component to it, yet the report never stated it apparently (in fact, now NASA says it never happened, though the director says he did fly that trip). That was more expensive than his share of a private charter flight would have been!

That is not to say that I am surprised that NASA is the government agency spending that kind of money for commercial travel for their employees. When you consider that NASA spends $28 million to send one of our astronauts up to space on Russian spacecraft, $14,000 for a cross-country first class ticket seems like an incredible bargain! I mean, the spacetrip costs about $63,000 per mile flown while this reported first class trans-con flight only cost $6 per mile. 🙂

HT: 7News Denver

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • you genuinely don’t think the cost of a ticket aid by NASA was 14k?!?! it’s the same principle for a $3k toilet seat… it’s money funneled for NSA/CIA 😀

  • NASA’s shared of the total federal budget is about 0.5% …compared to 4.5% during the 1960s. NIH is about 1%. Frankly, it’s amazing that federally-funded laboratories are still about to produce the results that they do when there isn’t enough money for Kleenex and new chairs, so I wouldn’t go around claiming NASA is wasting its money on commercial travel. Take it from someone who knows: It’s easier to make money running a travel blog than doing science in this country.

    • I do believe you and take your word for it. That last paragraph was just tongue-in-cheek on the comparison of the cost, sorry it did not come over that way. Believe me, one of my big desires had always been to be an astronaut! Instead, I had to settle for commercial travel. 🙂