Who Really Are the Entitled Spoiled Brats of Airlines?
“A re airlines creating a class of entitled spoiled brats” is the question being asked in what I believe is the most ridiculous article yet for the entire year of 2016 — so ridiculous that when I forwarded a link to it to Gary Leff, he declined to write about it despite his prolific posting of articles daily at View From The Wing.
Apparently I am not the only person who feels this way. Just read the comments posted at the bottom of the aforementioned article for some rather blunt — and quite entertaining — opinions.
A Question 30 Years Too Late?
First of all, if this question actually needed to be asked, it is perhaps 20 or 30 years too late. While there have been some advances — such as the ability to take a shower aboard an airplane during a flight; or ride in a luxury car to connect from one flight to another — the benefits of elite level status have actually decreased in recent years. Upgrades are significantly more difficult to secure. There is now a premium economy class which is creating a divide between regular economy class and business class on some airlines; and that concept is spreading. In fact, elite level status in a frequent flier loyalty program of an airline became significantly more difficult for many people with the advent of introducing a revenue component to the equation of earning it — and right or wrong, that concept is spreading as well.
“Back in the late 60’s and early 70s, American had the VIP and Delta the Colonels and Eastern something else”, posted FlyerTalk member BeatCal. “Private lounges, always upgrades (I got VIP from parent’s friend who was bigshot AA) and flew student standbye and got upgraded to first – even to Europe every time.”
Lamenting the good old days, BeatCal then wrote: “Then someone sued American and the lounges became open to anyone (who payed) and then the FF.”
The Entitled Spoiled Brats are Not Who You Might Think…
While there are certainly people who brag about and flaunt their elite level status amongst the unwashed masses of “regular” people as though they believe that they are better than everyone else, the “entitled spoiled brat” syndrome is really more pervasive amongst those who possess the lowest level of elite status, based on my numerous conversations conducted personally over the years with gate agents and telephone reservations agents.
“When I was in reservations, that was my observation for the most part”, posted FlyerTalk member DLMiddleSeats. In terms of Delta Air Lines, customers who earned either Diamond Medallion or Platinum Medallion elite level status in the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program “usually know what they want and what is possible, and have learned that if you want good service and maybe some rules bent or broken asking politely will get you a lot further than screaming and then demanding a supervisor.”
DLMiddleSeats “knew a call was going to be bad when the person said the phrase ‘I’m Silver Elite’ not that they are an FO but that exact phrase. I never heard that phrase without being yelled at for something way beyond my (and usually anyone’s) control.”
Yes, Gary — I took the bait and wrote this article.
While I personally have no qualms or animosity towards Christopher Elliott — who was the source of much of the content in that article — I thought that the article itself as written by Sid Lipsey of Yahoo! Travel was rather overgeneralized and sensationalistic.
According to Christopher Elliott, “It all starts with the loyalty programs. Once you start segmenting your customers and calling them ‘Silver,’ ‘Gold’ and ‘Platinum’ — and saying, ‘Because you are Platinum, you are more special than you who is only Silver or you who doesn’t have any loyalty designation or elite level’ — that kind of elitism is an incredibly dangerous thing.”
Hmm…I do not remember the last time I did not hold elite level status in at least one frequent flier loyalty program of an airline or at least one frequent guest loyalty program of a lodging company. That must mean that I am an entitled spoiled brat — and that is apparently an incredibly dangerous thing.
Eh…I can live with that…
Graphic illustration ©2012 Brian Cohen.