Nancy And Paul Pelosi Book Window And Aisle Seat, Hoping For Free Middle Seat To Super Bowl

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), twice Speaker of the House, flew from San Francisco to las Vegas for the Super Bowl. She was accompanied by her husband, Paul Pelosi, who seemingly has a nearly perfect stock-picking record. The pair have attended the Super Bowl every time the 49ers have been in the game.

The pair booked window and aisle seats. When a middle seat passenger showed up on the Saturday flight, Congresswoman Pelosi gave him the window seat. This is being touted in the media as offering that passenger an “upgrade” rather than “strategy.”

  • The best experience in economy is to have an empty middle seat.

  • Two people traveling together can book a window and aisle seat, and then there’s a shot at that empty middle.

  • If someone shows up in the middle seat, the couple can still sit together if they want, just offer the middle seat passenger an “upgrade.”

On a flight to the Super Bowl the odds seem pretty low that this will work out. Indeed, flights are more full generally than they used to be. But middle seats usually also fill up last. You might as well try!

The sure-thing way to improve your space as a couple traveling in economy, though, is to book two aisle seats in the same row. You’re still seated beside each other, and can both lean into the extra space of the aisle. The only downside if you’ll both get hit by the drink cart as a flight attendant goes by, and by everyone heading up and down the aisle to use the lavatory.

With a net worth of over $100 million, the Pelosis might have considered flying private however without significant advance planning there was just nowhere to land at any of the airports near Las Vegas this weekend. There may not even have been any first class seats for sale. There really ought to be an aftermarket to resell tickets on sold out flights at a profit. The flight was less than 500 miles and 100 minutes, so coach is really no big deal and honestly even a middle seat is fine, but the pair are both in their 80s so why not be comfortable?

Surely the pair should have just gone ahead and bought that empty middle seat. Did you know you can buy an extra seat on a flight?

(HT: Greg)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If I would have been the passenger in this scenario, after throwing up, I would have asked to be moved – or – I would have deplaned. No way I would have sat anywhere near this corrupt couple.

  2. This is in the Top 10 of Ignorant Posts. Do better. Next we have a Senator used 20 sheets of toilet paper?

  3. Elderly people bruise more easily and worse than physically stronger, younger folks. For the purpose of avoiding bumps that cause injuries, maybe the aisle seats aren’t the best place for those who are in their 70s and older.

    But given that at least the male oldies may have more of a need to hit the toilets more often, they seem to go for convenience of restroom access and better chance to get up and stretch than to minimize injury chances.

    By the way, the U2 concert at the Sphere in Vegas has been quite the experience in recent days.

  4. I am pretty sure Pelosi’s husband doesn’t have a near perfect stock picking record. It seems more like the Pelosi’s seat-picking record.

  5. Seems strange how the story mentions that they bought those two seats, but then doesn’t have any information about whether or not their “plan” worked.

  6. They have a net worth of over $100 million. Why are they in coach? And don’t say no first class. 2 weeks ago they knew 49ers were in the game and there are many options between different airlines and times from SFO to LAS. Doesn’t make any sense.

  7. Retired Gambler,

    Just because some are wealthy doesn’t mean their is always a desire to pay up more more money — especially for a short flight.

    Even the wealthy were facing high prices for the Super Bowl weekend festivities, and so maybe flying relatively cheaply commercially was part of “the budget” for splurging to attend at the stadium or because they had family or friends on board with less liquidity and wealth than they do. Also, maybe there is a public perception game at play, something politicians of course may be politically sensitive about at times.

  8. @GU Wonder – I understand your points but Don think the cost (just checked UA site for this coming Sat-Mon so under a week fare) of $550-$1100 (range for r/t first) is prohibitively expensive for them. Also Nancy and her husband live in one of the priciest areas of SF and she has never gone out of her way to downplay her wealth. Aa for public perception I’ve flown with a number of members of Congress and most are in first.

    Finally, if they were flying with others who maybe couldn’t afford first class I seriously doubt they would begrudge their 80 year old, very wealthy and well known relatives or friends booking first.

    Then you factor in the attack on her husband and the angst by many on the right against Nancy and I am frankly shocked they didn’t fly private. First with accommodation from the airline to board last to avoid hanging with the crowds would be the lowest option I would ever advise people in their situation to do. Just doesn’t make sense

  9. I would have kept the middle seat and annoyed Paul until I got a stock pick out of him. Or only swapped after getting some of the inside info he’s got.

  10. @ All of you hateful commenters — who really cares? I don’t. I made sure to avoid the airport last evening and was in bed by 6 PM just so I could avoid America’s obsession over stupid things.

  11. @H2oman – you do understand that now that Nancy is no longer speaker (or minority leader based on who currently controls the house) and isn’t as connected amazingly Paul’s stock success has declined. However that cash cow (the picks not Nancy) paid out for many years.

  12. I would have LOVED to have been sitting in that middle seat. No, I wouldn’t have moved and I probably would have been banned from that airline after the flight. Still totally worth it.

  13. I am amused at the one-sided outrage on Nancy’s husband’s stock picks, like wealthy people don’t just keep getting wealthier anyway, or Congresscritters on both sides of the aisle don’t just legislate themselves larger profits / lower taxes, or Supreme Court Justices aren’t engaged in just straight-up corruption.

    I assume if you hate Nancy’s corruption, you’d be cool with Bernie or AoC?

  14. @Christopher Raehl – personally I’m not singling out Nancy. I’m against insider trading regardless of who it is or their political party. Granted this may not technically meet the definition of “insider trading” but acting on companies who may benefit from acts of Congress with a heads up on how the legislation may go is awfully close. I realize many members of Congress are guilty of this either personally or through family/friends. Not sure the answer as it isn’t practical, in my opinion, to have every member of Congress put not only their investments but those of their family members in a blind trust (like most Presidents before Trump have done). Maybe better disclosure, lower thresholds for such disclosure and broaden the definition of family members that need to file disclosures would resolve it but I somehow doubt it.

  15. Retired Gambler,

    I hear you on that, but perhaps the airfares were higher for this weekend than next week and could be that the PNR had more than 2 in it and was booked by someone else inviting them.

    I know that some of my family flew into LA and drove to Vegas for this weekend. Didn’t want to spend more than they had already spent after making last minute plans to show up and being in a situation of some of them being far wealthier than some others and thus trying to “average down”.

    Yes, I’ve seen a lot of US Senators and a mix of House members flying domestic “first” over the years with DCA as my primary or co-primary domestic airport and sometimes also suffering IAD for domestic flights and seeing some there too.

  16. @David R. Miller

    On Feb 10th you said this site was dead to you.

    Your words apparently mean nothing.


  17. My partner and I do this all the time. She loves the window. I love the aisle. But really it’s to avoid what happened once. She got upgraded and I did not. Leaving me in the middle seat. When the person shows up they never mind getting the aisle seat, and I don’t mind the middle so much when my partner is next to me. Just not so fun when I am solo. And sure, we hope for a middle seat. And despite all my flying and visiting points sites, did not know we could but likely would not book the other seat.

  18. It delights me no end that this awful woman has to fly in coach. The thought of sitting next to her is horrifying, like sitting next to a snake.

  19. It would’ve been interesting to contrast Pelosi’s behavior with Cancun “Ted” Cruz’s.

  20. Nancy shoulda ripped up her ticket, like the SOTU address.

    Paul picked the aisle seat not because they wanted a free middle seat but because he didn’t wanna sit next to Nancy…

  21. You say that instead of just hoping that the middle seat would remain empty, maybe they should have bought all three seats. Of course, if that had happened, the article would have been about how the Pelosis were using their wealth to keep a faithful 49er’s fan off of the plane during a time of high demand.

    They flew on a plane. They were hoping to get an empty seat between them. They didn’t. Get over it. This is not some political scandal.

  22. On our last pond hop, 5 legs in total, we booked aisle and middle (I’m tall, 6’3″, aisle or upgrade are my only options), with the exception of 1 leg, no one booked the window seat. Maybe you should have just written “a Congressman and her husband”, as the comments seem to have become more of a game than the Super Bowl.

  23. How many cocktails did they pound? Did Nancy bring her own vodka? Thank goodness paul wasn’t driving.

  24. @AC
    I’m not sure of your definition of decline but the Pelosi‘s are up over 10% year to date. The Dow is up 3%. Seems like a pretty good success rate to me.

  25. @H2oman – first of all unless you are their stock broker you have no idea. Disclosures lag time periods and also are shown in ranges so you are basically BSing everyone.

    That being said I am up much more than the Dow. Anyone that knows investing understands the Dow is a very narrow measure. I’m more weighted in tech and just investing in a NASDAQ index fund (let alone actually picking specific stocks like I do) can let you easily perform better than the Dow

  26. @ AC — Or worse. Please don’t fool yourself into thinking you can outpick index funds long term. Plus, no one should forget the marlets are rigged by the Fed anyway. Investors in broad index funds face almost no actual risk, as the Fed will always bail them out. It is a sad joke what “capitalism” has become.

  27. @AC
    The Periodic Report filed by Pelosi shows the number of shares bought or sold and the date. There’s this thing you may not have heard of called a calculator. Easy to determine the amount.

  28. Paul Pelosi was chased while giggling and carrying eight mini bottles of Woodford Reserve through premium economy by a man in his underwear with a hammer

  29. @Gene – not fooling myself or anyone else. I have 40 years of investing experience and extensive knowledge of the financial markets and investment vehicles. I have some money in various funds (mainly ETFs vs mutual funds so I can trade them like stocks and they usually have lower mgmt fees) but my main investments are individual stocks. My background is in IT so I have knowledge of a lot of these companies and am comfortable making those investments. I also have a high risk tolerance so am comfortable taking chances. Finally I also invest in currencies, commodities and options (including writing covered calls, covered equity puts and straddles). Trust me my performance over the last 40 years is better than the random indexes (as measured by my results which I track diligently).

    People that truly understand the market, investment vehicles, economics and have the necessary funds+risk tolerance can make money. It really isn’t that hard if you know what to do. Of course the majority of people are wither intimidated by investment or don’t want to do the necessary research.

  30. I’ve bought an extra seat for comfort several times. One of the conditions is that the airline can take it back and refund your money if they can make more money on it such as by overbooking or having to accommodate a pilot.

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