Here is a little sound bite I took when I had the opportunity to ride on the London Eye. We were there the end of November 2009 and while there was a bit of a line there we chose to pay the 'extra' fee and get ahead of the line. Our time was limited and the extra money wasn't a big deal. We managed to walk up and just got on a car right away. We shared the car with a family of four so it was a nice ride as we seemed to be in sync with what we wanted to see and managed to be out of each others way.
Should everyone pay the extra fee? I think that would be up to you. The trade off for me was that we had more time to check out the area. We picked up a Big Bus Tour which took us on a well informed tour. We picked up our bus just outside of Piccadilly Circus train station so it was an easy off and easy on for us also.
When you travel you may or may not return to where you are visiting. This is a prime example of you get what you get. I spent quite a bit of time with my cameras and lenses taking lots of photos while on the ride. I'm pretty sure this was my only visit to the Eye and I wanted to make the most of it. I was thinking that the weather conditions were miserable and yet I did manage to get one of my better photos of our three month trip while on this ride.