First Class passage cost $4,350.  Second Class cost $1,750 and Third Class cost $30.  Adjusted for constant dollars (inflation), these tickets cost $102,352, $41,176, and $705.

Famous people who missed the boat

J. Pierpont Morgan  

The legendary 74-year-old financier, nicknamed the "Napoleon of Wall Street," had helped create General Electric and U.S. Steel and was credited with almost singlehandedly saving the U.S. banking system during the Panic of 1907.  

Among his varied business interests was the International Mercantile Marine, the shipping combine that controlled Britain's White Star Line, owner of the Titanic.  Morgan attended the ship's launching in 1911 and had a personal suite on board with his own promenade deck and a bath equipped with specially designed cigar holders.  He was reportedly booked on the maiden voyage but instead remained at the French resort of Aix to enjoy his morning massages and sulfur baths.

Milton Snavely Hershey

The man behind the Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar, Hershey's Kisses, Hershey's Syrup, and the Pennsylvania city that bears his name had spent the winter in France and planned to sail home on the Titanic.  The Hershey Community Archives has in its collection a $300 check Hershey wrote to the White Star Line in December 1911, believed to be a 10 percent deposit toward his stateroom, according to archivist Tammy L. Hamilton. Fortunately for Hershey, business back home apparently intervened, and he and his wife instead caught a ship that was sailing earlier, the German liner Amerika.   The Amerika would earn its own footnote in the disaster, as one of several ships to send the Titanic warnings of ice in its path. 

Guglielmo Marconi  

The Italian inventor, wireless telegraphy pioneer and winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics was offered free passage on Titanic but had taken the Lusitania three days earlier.  As his daughter, Degna, later explained, he had paperwork to do and preferred the public stenographer aboard that vessel.  

Although Marconi was later grilled by a Senate committee over allegations that his company's wireless operators had withheld news from the public in order to sell information to the New York Times, he emerged from the disaster as one of its heroes, his invention credited with saving more than 700 lives.  Three years later, Marconi would narrowly escape another famous maritime disaster.  He was on board the Lusitania in April 1915 on the voyage immediately before it was sunk by a German U-boat in May.

Henry Clay Frick

The Pittsburgh steel baron was a business associate of fellow non-passenger J.P. Morgan.  He canceled his passage on the Titanic when his wife sprained her ankle and had to be hospitalized in Italy.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt

The 34-year-old multimillionaire sportsman, an heir to the Vanderbilt shipping and railroad empire, was returning from a trip to Europe and canceled his passage on the Titanic so late that some early newspaper accounts listed him as being on board. Vanderbilt lived on to become one the most celebrated casualties of the Lusitania sinking three years later.

Theodore Dreiser

The novelist, then 40, considered returning from his first European holiday aboard the Titanic; an English publisher talked him out of the plan, persuading the writer that taking another ship would be less expensive.  

Dreiser was at sea aboard the liner Kroonland when he heard the news.  He recalled his reaction the following year in his memoir, A Traveler at Forty:  "To think of a ship as immense as the Titanic, new and bright, sinking in endless fathoms of water.  And the two thousand passengers routed like rats from their berths only to float helplessly in miles of water, praying and crying!"  


Bruce Ismay became known as the "Coward of the Titanic". He was savaged by the British and American press for having "deserted" Titanic while women and children were still aboard.  Said to be profoundly shocked by the sinking - he retreated from public life, remained in business and later in life made huge donations to seafarers charities. He also sought refuge in Ireland, buying a home in a remote part of Connemara, Ireland in the early 1920s where he spent much of his time.  He died in 1937.


Titanic menu courtesy of Bruce Caplan, author of The Sinking of the Titanic.  Bruce gave a lecture on November 3, 2013 my wife and I attended while transiting the Panama Canal, en route on a 17-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Los Angeles, California.

Menu the day the Titanic hit the iceberg