Monday, March 19, 2007

How to get to first class by holding your breath

Ah, the travel upgrade. We've all heard stories of how persistence, good dress, a connection on the inside, sheer cleverness or all of the above nets a knowing road-warrior something they neither paid for nor deserved.

But what is the best way -- short of capturing William Shatner and taking advantage of the mind control he inexplicably has over lowly hospitality industry employees -- to get bumped up on airplanes and at hotels?

Straight from today's not-quite headlines here are two very different, equally effective techniques:

1. Be better. This year the Salukis of Southern Illinois learned when you go to the NCAA Tournament as a four seed your accommodations include doormen and mints on the pillow, in stark contrast to when you are invited as an 11 seed -- as they have been in their past trips -- and are greeted with moldy bathrooms and infestation.

The NCAA freely admits to providing more expensive hotels to the higher seeded teams. This should come as no surprise -- in all settings the rich, famous and successful get more for free than the poor, anonymous and lower seeded could buy if they wanted to.

2. Be deader. Last week after an elderly woman died on a British Airways flight between Delhi and London she and her grieving family got the mythical in-flight upgrade to first class. Which came as a shock to businessmen Paul Tinder, who awoke from a quick nap to find a ghastly corpse strapped to the spacious seat next to his.

British Airways has apologized to Tinder. Which begs the question: When will CNN apologize to the 21 years of Larry King Live guests the network subjected to exactly the same treatment as Tinder received?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wonder if they made her return her seat to its fully upright and locked position. She would have slumped forward like a ragdoll. Gross.