People never cease to amaze me. After a successful International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) trade show in Denver I was traveling home with my father, who happens to be a business partner. We were at the ticket counter checking our bags in the Denver airport and decided to inquire about upgrading to first class.
The counter attendant said she had two seats left. Because we were having to check the booth and our bags, the price to upgrade would be nominal because bags are free on first class. We were in!
As she was working to get things completed she had multiple computer problems and the bag tags wouldn’t print. It wasn’t her fault, but it was frustrating. Good thing we were a few hours ahead of our departure time because we spent about 45 minutes with her. She booked my first class ticket and, when she went to book Dad’s ticket, she said, oops, there are no more seats. She added my Global Entry number on my ticket as well so I had TSA pre-check as well as first class. Dad doesn’t have a card, so we assumed he was in standard.
I understand that these things happen, but I couldn’t help but think that maybe if she’s been more efficient that other seat would be available. Was she really as competent as she should have been?
Separate and Definitely Not Equal
It’s interesting how we segregate in society based on class. Pay more and you get shorter lines and less hassle. As Dad was standing in the long line for TSA, he looked down and saw pre-check printed on his boarding pass.
Seeing that on your boarding pass is like opening a Willy Wonka chocolate bar and finding the golden ticket. Dad quickly left the standard line and moved to the pre-check line.
Maybe it was because he flies quite a bit, or maybe as a senior with no record they figure he’s not a risk. Either way, he quickly breezed through and met me and our other partners who were waiting in Elway’s restaurant.
Upon settling at Elway’s with a lovely adult beverage we quickly forgot our issues and figured we’d see if we could score a second first class set once we got to the gate. If not, I’d give my first class seat to dad and fly in coach.
After dinner and a couple of drinks, we made our way to the gate. Dad stopped for a shoe shine and I made my way to the gate. I told our story to the gate agent and lo and behold she had another first class seat. I quickly paid and she said she’d try and switch seats with another passenger so we could sit together.
Rude Passengers Must Have Bigger Issues
As we lined up to board we were talking about how we hoped the gate agent was able to switch seats so we could sit together. Suddenly the lady in front of us in a green jacket turned to us and said, “Why would you want to do that?”
Stunned, Dad and I looked at each other and answered, “Because we like each other. We are father/daughter, we work together and we live next door to each other.” She looked bewildered at us and said, “Take a break from each other.”
We were stunned. She kept muttering about the incompetence of United Airlines and how if they didn’t move faster we were going to be stuck in Denver because thunderstorms were approaching.
We laughed and the line moved forward. The gate agent hadn’t made the switch so we asked another passenger and he did—nice of him considering a Travelocity survey found that 42 percent of participants don’t feel obligated when asked to switch seats with someone. The rude passenger in the green jacket made her way back to coach still carrying that ship on her shoulder.
Fun Flight Crews Can Make All the Difference
Once settled into first class we were treated in the lap of luxury: Free adult beverages, warm nuts, hot towels, and a meal. We met Natalie and Tomme and told them the story. They were laughing because they had heard from the other attendants about a rude passenger who grabbed the bottle of wine out of her hand and mumbled about everyone being incompetent.
We had a good laugh and all agreed that rude passengers must have other issues in their lives. While I am not into passenger shaming, I thought this story deserved to be told.