Monday, November 24, 2008

Friendly Skies

So here is another post about the injustice in the world, albeit a bit more light-hearted this time. I was in an airport recently in pursuit of a standby seat from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. For those of you not familiar with the challenges and pitfalls of airline travel, specifically business travel, standby is what you do when trying to get on an earlier flight than the one you are booked on.

Sometimes I luck out, but sometimes I'm left to sit outside the gate wishing and hoping that some fellow traveler is delayed, ill, or has decided not to take that flight. On this occasion I was left to sit and wait until the very last minute when the gate agent shut the door to the jetway and confirmed I was not going anywhere early.

As usually happens when I am the only person sitting near an empty airport gate area, the man across the aisle from me struck up a conversation. He was also going standby but was confident that I would be allowed on board the flight before him because he was a "non-revenue" ticket. I learned that this meant his brother was a pilot and so he was floating around the airport waiting to scoop up any available seat to Milwaukee. Once the jetway door closed it was clear that neither of us was going anywhere, revenue or non-revenue.

About two hours later I met up with this gentleman again outside the gate for the flight that I was booked on and that he was hoping to get on. As we were sitting there waiting to board, he was called up to the podium and presented with a first-class seat. He was positively giddy when he returned to tell me he had been bumped to first class.

Now, I realize that a first-class seat on a 44-minute flight is no prize. However, as someone who has racked up thousands of frequent flier miles flying for business, I was seriously disturbed that one of us revenue-generating frequent fliers who regularly slogs through airports tolerating bad service, delays, weather and cancellations was not bumped ahead of someone whose brother works for the airline. Are you listening airline executives?

1 comment:

Ms. ~K said...

Love those Labbies!