If you’ve ever been on a flight and witnessed someone from economy getting ushered up to the first cabin, you may have wondered why they were so lucky. In these situations a few things are possible, but there’s a very good chance it’s not pure luck, and rather something that the flight crew knows about that passenger. There are quite a few things you may or may not realize take place behind the scenes…

two men sitting on an airplane

Did you use miles for your seat? They know that. Are you an elite with any airline in their alliance? They know that. Is your employer a contractee of theirs? They know that. Have you ever been an irate passenger? They definitely know that one! Manifests are delivered to the crew with designations for simple things like special meal, seat assignment and elite level, but each airline has it’s own system of notifying the crew of any important or interesting additional information. To answer my initial statement, if you’ve seen someone get bumped from coach up to first, it’s likely because they are the highest ranking elite on the flight not up in first already. Courtesy bump. I find it fascinating that crew sometimes even know if you’ve had difficulty on a previous flight or connection. It’s the airlines way of giving the cabin crew a chance to brighten your day (whether they choose to or not). On that score, you may be labelled an irate passengers without knowing it! I always keep discourse respectful with airline issues but I was once told “I’ve seen your file sir” in an effort to tell me I am a difficult customer. I’d like to label that individual a terrible employee but I have very little recourse…

a man and woman at a check-in counter

I recently had a reader ask about tips for trying to get upgraded for free, once boarded. Though you might have a better chance at marrying royalty, it’s always worth a try if you have a case. If your company does major contract business with the airline, you are an elite flier and or most importantly you are a nice person, miracles do happen, never hurts to ask.

a woman in a red shirt on a bed

What’s most important to me is that regardless of fare class, award ticket or elite status, everyone in their respective cabin should receive relatively the same treatment. I think recognizing loyalty with a flier of your own alliance or airline is fantastic, but my glass better be as full as theirs!  In general, I find most crews to be very respectful and frankly, I think a lot don’t bother reading the fine print on passengers unless it’s David Beckham…but that one is pretty obvious. 

Get in Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com

HT to ThePointsGuy on this one.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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