People Are Stunned By How Expensive The Cheapest Room On The Titanic Was — 'The Economy Is So Bad I Can't Afford A Bed On A Boat That Sank'

Even the Titanic's cheapest and deadliest room was out of reach for a lot of us nowadays.

Titanic S_Bachstroem from Getty Images / Canva Pro

Most of us have up close and personal, day-to-day knowledge of how difficult today's economy is. But every now and then, a historical tidbit comes along that truly puts it into perspective.

Such is the case with a viral video about the Titanic that has left people slack-jawed.

People were stunned by how expensive the cheapest room on the Titanic was, because most of us couldn't afford it.

The Titanic disaster is of course legendary because of the sheer human scale of the disaster. More than 1,500 people of the 2,204 onboard that night in April of 1912 died in the disaster. 


And while the majority of those deaths were upper-class travelers, the third-class or "steerage" part of the ship was proportionally the deadliest by far. Seventy six percent of third-class passengers ended up either going down with the ship or perishing in the Atlantic.

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That's shocking and stomach-turning enough. But the staggering cost of those third-class tickets makes the scale of the tragedy seem even more jaw-dropping, especially since in today's economy, even many of us with decent incomes couldn't afford that deadly ticket.

The top ticket price on the Titanic was more than $50,000 in today's money. 

TikTok account is dedicated to the history and design details of the ship. Recently, it posted a series of recreations of the ship's rooms along with what their stated 1912 ticket prices would cost in today's dollars.



The most luxurious accommodations, a "first-class parlour suite" complete with its own veranda, like the room Kate Winslet's Rose DeWitt Bukater, her shrew of a mother and her snake of a fiancé had in the movie, went for 512 British pounds, 6 shillings, and 7 pence. 


That's a cool $49,680 in today's money — the sort of spot billionaires like the Kardashians and Bezoses of our day would tuck into for the Titanic's roughly seven-day trip from Southampton, U.K. to New York City.

Knocking off the private veranda but keeping all the other finery cuts your ticket roughly in half to $24,033 for you mere millionaires out there, and if you still want first-class fare but don't mind not having any windows you can come all the way down to $2,573. A bargain!

But the cheapest price on the Titanic — a bunk bed in a dormitory-style room — was nearly $783. 

The "below decks" area of the ship had two levels of accommodations. The pricier level, a third-class cabin-style room, offered privacy for families and came with a sink and four wooden bunk beds for a whopping $1621.74.

But if you were among the poorest people on the ship, like Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson in the film, you were hanging your hat in a dormitory-style room with other random passengers on metal bunkbeds with no bells and whistles whatsoever.


And for this, you would have paid £8, 1 shilling, and 5 pence or a staggering $782.98 in today's money. The fact the majority of third-class passengers on Titanic were immigrants fleeing political unrest and abject poverty in parts of Europe makes this even more shocking.



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To be able to afford the equivalent of $783, those immigrants, many of whom were literal peasants and subsistence farmers, must have sold everything they had and saved, begged, and borrowed for months or even years to be able to make that voyage only to end up drowning on the way. 


But many online were equally staggered by how expensive the cheapest room on the Titanic was because it's totally out of reach even to many of us who are far from "peasants" nowadays — people with full-time employment and incomes. 

As one TikTok user put it, "Today I learned that I’m too poor to have died on the Titanic."



It's a shocking commentary on our contemporary problems like inflation and wage stagnation, and it brings to mind things like the oft-repeated statistic that roughly one in three Americans cannot afford a $400 surprise expense let alone a Titanic ticket nearly twice as expensive.


"The silent generation, Boomers, and capitalism, in general, have [messed] up the economy so badly that millennials and Gen Z cannot even afford to buy a bed on a boat that sank," TikToker @2brown2gaf said in his response to the Titanic video. "Like, millennials are too poor for a different century. Let that sink in."

Of course, it's not like fleeing European peasants simply had the equivalent of $783 just lying around. They likely scrounged and saved over lengthy periods for their tickets, just like most of us would have to do today for a similar venture.

Still, with so many of us living paycheck-to-paycheck or going into debt just to keep our basic needs met, it's pretty shocking to think that what peasants paid to escape is out of reach for so many people living in an advanced economy the third-class passengers on the Titanic could only dream of.


It makes you wonder what they'd think if they knew how much times have changed. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.