Recently on Twitter, one of my 365,000 followers responded to an article about getting a better seat when you fly. True enough, he was tweeting from a first class seat on @AmericanAir for which he paid the economy class fare of $124 plus a $90 upgrade. But another Tweep (@Clint7981) chirped in; "I mean, is it really that luxurious to have a foot of extra space for $90 extra?"

So we went back and forth a bit, but I think he wasn't quite convinced that yes, it is worth it. His final word? "I guess subjective value is a thing after all."

As my mother used to say, "We all get there at the same time." But mom, bless her soul, never flew in first.

So I got to thinking: what besides "a foot of extra space" does first class (and I'm talking just domestic U.S. travel) get you? Let's get this out right away: for me, it has nothing to do with "status"—although for some, that's the main draw.