I’ve given up trying to draw any sort of correlation between wealth and the cabin in which one flies on an airplane. Even so, I do find it interesting that PGA pro golfer Tom Hoge won $1.4 million over the weekend then flew home in American Airlines economy class. Why? Because it is uncomfortable!
PGA Pro Golfer Tom Hoge Picks American Airlines Economy Class Over Private Jet Despite Million Dollar Win
Going back to Dr. Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door, we know that you cannot look at a person and tell how wealthy they are. Clothes can be deceiving. Cars can be deceiving. And in the case of travel, just because you are rich or “comfortable” as some may prefer to put it, does not mean you fly on a private jet or at least in the front of the plane.
I’ve got a dear friend who is very well off. But he drives a 1993 Toyota 4Runner and has worn the same dungarees and sneakers for decades. He also rents. But he has amassed a massive amount of money.
So often I find that first class travelers are those using other people’s money or those middle class people (like me) who derive joy more from the game of miles, points, and upgrades than the seat itself.
So we’ve established that looks can be deceiving. But why does it even merit a conversation?
Well, Tom Hoge is a talented young man and per Eye of the Flyer, he placed third in a golf tournament over the weekend, a victory which netted him $1,475,000. Not a bad day’s work, eh?
But there was no first class victory celebration. He did not take a private jet home like many of his colleagues. Instead, he flew in American Airlines…in coach class.
— Tom Hoge (@HogeGolf) March 13, 2023
I think that’s great. He told Golf Digest:
“I always fly coach. That’s normal for me…I try to hang onto some of this money we make, right?”
It’s true. Try buying a decent home with $1,475,000 in LA and you’ll be invited to check out the far suburbs. A million bucks isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps he’s looking into buying investment properties or making the money grow instead of blowing it on a nice seat for a few hours.
Ultimately, I make the same cost-benefit analysis. The beauty of miles and points is that I can often fly up front for the price of a coach ticket, but I have no desire to blow thousands on a bit more legroom when I can survive just fine in coach. And because money must always be examined in terms of comparative uses, I embrace Hoge’s approach.
Pro golfer Tom Hoge flew home in American Airlines economy class after an impressive finish in a Florida golf tournament. I think Hoge has a healthy perspective on flying first class and if he flies enough to earn elite status, hopefully he will score some complimentary upgrades on future flights.
image: @hogegolf / Instagram