Do Flight Attendants Know If You Redeemed Miles For Your Seat?

Filed Under: Advice

Reader Randal asked the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:

Do flight attendants know if you’re a revenue passenger or if you redeemed through miles? I am flying Cathay Pacific on business class for the first time soon, so I was wondering if there would be a different treatment to those booking awards using miles. Would flight attendants have a list of names with corresponding booking fares/if booked through awards?

I get the question all the time, which is why I want to address it in this post. The short answer is that on some airlines flight attendants know, while on other airlines they don’t. Regardless, you absolutely shouldn’t notice a difference in terms of how you’re treated.

There are so many different “categories” of passengers

It’s easy to feel like you scored a deal when you redeemed miles for a first or business class ticket, and are worried about whether that ticket makes you “worthy” of the full service. The important thing to understand is that it’s not as binary as there being full fare first & business class passengers and then award passengers. Rather when you look at premium cabin tickets, you have a combination of full fare passengers, passengers who purchased discounted tickets, passengers who booked award tickets, passengers who redeemed miles or instruments to upgrade, passengers who were operationally upgraded, and then employees or other people traveling on some sort of benefit.

In terms of hierarchy, generally speaking paid first & business class passengers are prioritized first, then award passengers, then those who upgraded, then operational upgrades and employees. So the point is, you’re not as far down the totem pole as you might think when redeeming miles.

Full fare, award, upgrade, op-ups, non-revs — there are so many types of passengers

Can flight attendants see if you redeemed miles?

Not only does every airline have a different system for what information they show their flight attendants, but often there are differences in terms of what each crewmember can see. For example, a purser’s tablet might show more detailed information about passengers than the tablets of the rest of the crew. It all depends on the airline.

The policy varies by airline, so let’s use Emirates as an example, since they’re popular with award tickets. On Emirates the crew can see if you upgraded, and they can also see if you were operationally upgraded. However, to them an award ticket shows the same as anyone who outright paid cash for the ticket. So if you redeem miles for an award ticket, you’d actually be viewed the same as a full fare customer once onboard.

On Emirates, crews don’t know whether you’re a full fare passenger or redeemed miles

You should never feel like a second class citizen when redeeming miles

I’ve probably flown well over a million miles on award tickets, and not once have I felt like I was discriminated against for having redeemed miles. Now, I think it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes airlines have systems in place for how they handle passenger priority for things like meal orders. Again, every airline has a different system:

  • On American they go front to back or back to front to take meal orders, with no consideration for status, fare, etc.
  • On Cathay Pacific they’ll sometimes first come around to oneworld Emerald members to take their meal orders, so that they get their first choice
  • On my China Eastern flight yesterday from Shanghai to Los Angeles, the crew specifically told me they were taking my order first since I was the only one in first class who had “paid” (little did they know I was redeeming miles, hah)

Status and fare type can impact things like getting your first choice meal

Bottom line

Your experience in a premium cabin as an award passenger should be no different than that of anyone else, so don’t be afraid to expect the full service. You might actually be surprised to find out that for the airlines that do prioritize passengers for some purposes, typically award passengers come ahead of those upgrading.

Lastly I should mention that all of this applies to the inflight experience. Some airlines do restrict certain ground products to award passengers, and in the event of irregular operations, some airlines don’t treat award passengers especially well. However, once the plane’s door closes, the above is what you should expect.

Has anyone ever felt like they were treated poorly onboard due to having redeemed miles?

  1. A lot of FIFO workers in Australia end up with get lots of points and status with qantas/virgin. So you get a lot of “average” people being able to fly in business class due to their work flying them around so much.
    I believe once when I redeemed or upgraded a Qantas flight on points and I did less quality of service compared to the other passengers around me. It was like the Qantas flight attendant felt as though a young, blue collar working class guy like me didn’t deserve great service or treatment… I did nothing to upset here but honestly felt this way from the change in tone and vibe and presentation I received from this attendant!!!
    I’ve also had a few paid business class fares for comparison and many paid economy flights. Being Qantas gold Ive experience the cabin manager or attendants sometimes tend to come around and personally greet you on the flight and say thanks (for being gold) I’ve noticed on redeemed flights they have never done this.
    Just an opinion from my experience.

  2. @Kevin – I think all (most?) Chinese airlines now show the price on the boarding pass, in order to let the passenger know what the “real” price of the ticket is (since most Chinese travelers still prefer booking through an OTA rather than booking directly with an airline, and sometimes OTA will overcharge passengers). But I’m not sure whether the crew can see it/actually care about the fare you paid if they can see it.

  3. However, I wish the Alaska miles redeemers were treated as second class flyers. The number of problems Cathay has in the Hong Kong lounges with self-entitled loud Exec Plats and miles redeemers…

  4. Lufthansa lounge check-in agent could see tickets on award and said not very pleasantly “this is a free ticket”. I almost wanted to respond “hey this is not free and this is a result of my constant flights with United and Lufthansa”. It is really stupid to demean customers’ loyalty with “free tickets”. Well it is partially reason why I left United/Lufthansa flights.

  5. I’ve never noticed any difference…dozens of airlines in Y, J and F….except one: Iberia. I’d booked an award ticket in J, turned up to checkin, told no seat ( despite allocated seat, confirmed for months). The head flunky at the desk ( in MAD) told me I’d been bumped because I was only traveling on points. They offered to rebook me on the next flight with seats…3 days later. This was Madrid- New York. I decided to call my ‘home’ airline through which I’d booked the seat, Qantas ,and took out my FF card to find the number. At that point the guy realised that I was O/W emerald ( from the colour on the card). Apparently that status was not in the booking for some reason. Anyway the guy started apologising and said” We would never have bumped you if we’d known you are emerald”. So status counts for something, even on free tickets.
    Eventually they decided to bump someone else.
    From the attitude of one of the FAs , cool to mild hostility, I speculated that the one finally bumped might have been known to her in some way. Of course it’s also entirely possible that she was having a bad day or simply didn’t like the ‘cut of my jib’. But my intuition was that her general miserableness had something to do with the seat issue .
    I haven’t flown on Iberia since. Untrustworthy or incompetent, hardly an attractive choice.
    Slightly off topic but a salutary lesson: make sure status shows in the booking on award tickets, lest you get bumped .

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong but technically speaking award tickets aren’t considered “non rev” by Airlines.
    “Non rev” are truly free tickets to employees, friends, family, etc.
    Airlines still get some money for award tickets.
    When someone tells my free ticket or free hotel room I reply very sternly “No it’s paid with miles/points”.
    Ever since Airlines began selling miles, those have actual monetary value.

  7. Only tangentially, once. On an Aegean flight, I redeemed one of my free upgrade certificates, only to be seated in economy once I got to the plane. The flight attendant informed me that I was the only business class passenger, and they weren’t going to staff business class for one person on a free coupon. I sent them a nasty e-mail (especially because the guy next to me in coach spilled his drink all over me) and received an apology and a promise to upgrade me on my next Aegean flight, whenever that may be.

  8. I recently flew Air Canada on points SYD-YVR-YYZ. On the main flight there was no issue with flying on points. On the YVR-YYZ segment, meal orders were taken in order of AC elites, customers paying cash, and then everyone else, so that only the “dregs” of the menu were left. Elites were prioritized at the top, as the lady beside me paying cash was also down the order somewhat. Definitely felt second class on that experience.

  9. So, do Cathay Pacific flight attendants know if you’re a revenue passenger or if you redeemed through miles?

  10. No. But, once when flying Emirates first (I purchased business and upgraded to first with miles), the flight attendant told me, when asking what time I would like to shower, that paid first was given priority over me in terms of picking shower times.

  11. Flew ORD-HNL in paid F, asked for salad before landing, was told the GS upgrade had priority. So given paying cash is not the top of pole

  12. Almost all of my premium cabin travel has been paid with points (earnt or bought). I have never experienced any different treatment because of it. The crew honestly couldn’t care less who paid for your ticket and how. I’ve never noticed meal orders being taken in any order other than front to back or back to front and come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t get my first meal choice but this may be because of a combination of most flights I take seem to not be full in J or F, and I usually sit near the front both because I want to increase my meal choice options and I want to be fed sooner rather than later and don’t want to sit there for an hour looking up the aisle waiting for the crew to eventually get to my seat (CX J is the worst at this – on a 3.5 hour HND-HKG flight there was only 40 minutes left once I had finished my meal).

  13. We regularly pay for my 1st Class domestic flights on American. So, we reserve our meals in advance.
    One time, as the flight attendant was taking meal requests and got to us last, he ran out of the entrée that we had pre-reserved.
    (Typically, they take note of the pre-reserved meals to assure availability, but it seems uncommon)
    He graciously apologized to us about the unfortunate mistake, and said he would make it right.
    I felt sorry for him as he took the abuse from the passenger that was denied her request, so that he could honor our pre-reserved meal. (This is where you wish you could tip flight attendants monetarily, instead of just the appreciation tickets)
    Anyway… long story short… pre-reserved meals is one way for flight attendants to identify freeloaders from paying passengers.

  14. BA, 10 years ago. I got a pleasent upgrade to the upper deck. I would have understood giving me last choice for menues and be fine with it, however, the crew made it a point to give everything last to me (and they did quite a zick zack in that cabine which made no sense): from handing out the hot towels till handing out the paper menue.

    All things which clearly are well enough stocked and have nothing in them to be limited about. That really irked me. Plus even though it was a free upgrade handed out to me, I was actually catched by a person at checkin telling me” oh so you are flying quite a lot with us this year, would you like to experience Biz with us?” aka clearly triggered by revenue management in hopes to convince me that I would do more in this regard. Well, not from that snotty type of behaviour … 🙂

  15. If you’re anything like me, I suspect the fact that you’re giddily trying everything, taking photos, and resisting sleep so that you can experience every moment, will be the giveaway that you redeemed miles for a premium cabin seat; not the airline computer system. 🙂

  16. Do I or the family feel different, from purchasing, or getting an upgrade, to First or Business class, Well sometimes, I feel its more where you sit, on the flight,as sometimes, either way of travel, if at the back, food service, you get last choice. which can be annoying, if say your first choice, not available, and you have paid full fare? but I take it with pinch of salt, The most annoying, which very rarely happens, is flight attendant comes up, and in front of others, says, Oh, i see you have been upgraded,which I feel, is not good manners, what do other people think, ps most times no different treatment,and flight crewe,s are very may differ with airlines, of course.

  17. Do the limo people with Emirates at DXB know if you booked first with points? You can no longer book limos ahead of time on Emirates website or by calling if you booked with points, but if you show up at the limo area with your first class ticket, will they still take you where you want to go?

  18. I’m diamond member of CX marcopolo club. According to my crew friend, they know what tickets you got. But basically they give priority to diamond and oneworld emerald for meal choice. Other than that, I don’t notice any differentiation on service. Some inflight manager only greet diamond, but some greet to all of business class pax which I find good attitude.

  19. The Cathay attendant rolled her eyes when I ordered a lot in the first class dinner. Only 2 people in 6 people cabin.

    Talk about being a bitch.

  20. @ Trevor — They can pull up your ticket information there. So whether or not they allow it probably depends on how closely they look.

  21. In my experience, AA in international first will actually give meal choice priority to say a CK member over a OWE.

  22. In United, doesn’t matter if it’s paid or miles ticket, Mileage Plus 1K members (even with GPUs) get service first, then paid.

  23. you have a combination of full fare passengers, passengers who purchased discounted tickets, passengers who booked award tickets, passengers who redeemed miles or instruments to upgrade, passengers who were operationally upgraded, and then employees or other people traveling on some sort of benefit.

    And even then, how much of a volume discount is Morgan Stanley or Accenture getting on tickets to (for example) China? In my experience, their negotiated hotel rates can be half of the going rate. For an airline, at 120k points, they would be getting around ~$2400 for a $6k ticket. I bet that’s not too far off from what their more frequent flyers are paying.

  24. I have top-level diamond status on Delta. I’ve flown international business-class before and have noticed on more than one occasion a pursuer selectively taking orders from passengers based on her reading of the manifest. It definitely wasn’t by row nor by elite status. TAP Air Portugal seems to do this as well, as I flew them twice in business-class last year. I paid for an upgrade and was among the last to be asked for my order on both flights, despite being seated in the middle of the cabin.

  25. 1K here. UA FAs, biz – often ask for my 2nd meal choice just in case. Have to remind them that I’m 1K. / Had UA FA say recently, ‘Everyone’s 1K out of SFO’. (Everyone, really?). 🙂

  26. Few years ago I flew CX J on a ticket redeemed using miles and during the meal service they went right by my seat. When I asked why I had not been served I was told to wait as they could not serve me until everyone else had been.

    I demanded to speak to the in-flight cabin services director and complained. Seems they had a mix up on their system and my seat showed me as CX staff which I was not.

    Profuse apologies followed along with a meal from first class.

    Not being served a meal because you are on a redemption ticket would have been a first!

  27. I was on a UA/MP award on Sunday in business, SA between JNB-GRU and AC from GRU-YYZ. Curiously, the boarding passes had both the cabin class and the fare class (J/I). I experienced no perceivable difference in service and the In Charge on both flights introduced themselves and said they were appreciative of my patronage. I had also put my AC Altitude lifetime Elite on the file so it showed my STARGold and the AC I/C was particularly appreciative and engaging in conversation. So most airlines should recognize that an award ticket represents many flights and thousands of dollars of spend with the airline or its partner alliances.

  28. At BA, no.

    The crew will only know if you’ve been upgraded as an invol, customer service recovery or as a paid at airport on day of departure.

  29. @dcaguy

    Non Rev refers to unpaid, or service charge only employee and family/friends pass travel. Award tickets definitely were generated by revenue.

  30. “However, I wish the Alaska miles redeemers were treated as second class flyers. The number of problems Cathay has in the Hong Kong lounges with self-entitled loud Exec Plats and miles redeemers…”

    First, I think people who act entitled will act entitled regardless of how they pay for things.

    Second, I’ve done multiple Alaska -> Cathay redemptions with AS miles I earned overwhelmingly with BIS Alaska and partner flights, and just a bit of AS/BofA card spend. I do wish – especially after the overnight doubling of EK redemption prices – that AS would find a way to prioritize or reward actual AS fliers in Mileage Plan redemptions over people who just buy AS miles.

  31. I think CX flight attendants know. I was specifically asked about this by a purser while in CX F. Not sure why she wanted to bring it up though…

  32. UA ORDLHR a couple of days ago in biz, full flight. Award – no current status. She was flitting around the cabin like a hummingbird. I was far from the first to be asked but not the last.

  33. I believe ones status counts for a lot. I made AA EXP for the first time the last two years after spending five or six years as PLT. I can’t say I was treated badly as a PLT but I notice that the FAs make a point to thank me for my loyalty now and are more friendly. A colleague has CK status and when I’ve flown with him, it’s a special treat.

    I’ve witnessed crews treating some premium passengers with impatience or refusal to grant special requests. And in those cases, it always seems as though the passenger is overly needy or is demanding in tone. I don’t believe it had anything to do with ticket status.

  34. I flew ANA First Class LAX-HND-LAX on miles and the service was phenomenal. Of course, only 3 of the 8 seats in F were taken on both flights.

    I also flew Brussels Airlines in Business. Sat up front on the outbound and sat in back on the return and did not notice anything. Everyone was served equally.

  35. Flew HKG – SIN roundtrip on Cathay Pacific. Redeemed business class for two adults and toddler. Toddler had the seat across the aisle from me. I asked the FA if she could talk to the toddler directly since I want my kid to communicate directly with the FA. The FA did exactly that, was very nice and warm, and the toddler behaved well. No difference in service just because it was an award flight.

  36. Miles effectively are a currency, and when you book award flights with partner airlines those airlines are compensated for it by your FF program. There is nothing “free” at all about either earning or redeeming miles.

    As for upgrades being low on the list I don’t get that. Upgrades would be the highest status customers…shouldn’t they be the ones being treated the best?

  37. The only time that I’ve had worse service on an award ticket was last year on Cathay Pacific. I’d booked award tickets for my wife and I in Business about eight months beforehand, then upgraded the long haul home to First Class a couple of days prior to departure. I used Alaska miles, then went online to reserve specific seats, so the seats I got were great. Upon arrival for DPS-HKG, we were told that we were being involuntarily downgraded to PE. My calm protestations that we even had specific seats reserved for over half a year was met with apologetic shrugs. Our tickets were award tickets, so tough. My wife cried. I told her it wasn’t so bad, which just made her cry more. I felt like a heel. As compensation, they offered last-minute standby upgrades on a future Cathay paid ticket, a $100 USD per ticket differential, and a refund of the mileage difference. The only thing worth a damn was the $100, except that they gave it to us in Indonesian Rupiah, which no money changer in Hong Kong will touch. As a Hong Kong based airline, they might have seen fit to mention that. The whole episode left a really sour taste in my mouth. We’re trying Cathay again this Summer, even the same flights. Hopefully we won’t see a repeat.

  38. I flew Korean Airlines First on a mileage redemption and despite there being a full separate coffee menu, I was told the espresso machine was broken. When the guy two rows ahead of me ordered, the machine magically wasn’t broken anymore.

  39. Air Canada does take meal orders from their elites first. Then paying passengers and award ticket passengers last. I have experienced this many times.
    On my last flight with Swiss in business, award ticketed passenger were last to order their meals. I find Swiss flights between YUL and ZRH to be very sub standard as compared to JFK to ZRH.

  40. I will share my experience on a CX flight HKG-DXB (Hong Kong-Dubai).

    It was on a 70k Alaska first class trip even if the HKG-DXB flight is business JFK-HKG-DXB.

    Lots of migrant workers and chinese upgraded last minute with economy oversold. The flight attendant came up to me while serving dinner/breakfast to ask what I wanted first before them since I was a “real customer”.

  41. CX cabin crew absolutely know the ticket type each passenger holds.
    I just took 6 full fare j class flights one of which was delayed resulting in a connection issue.The cabin crew discussed the connection procedures with me on board and knew the full details of my ticket . Interestingly two weeks earlier I was on a rewards Business Class ticket and there was a clear difference in service specifically relating to Crew attentiveness. I am a Diamond Marco Polo member .

  42. You are completely wrong as it relates to a Emerites. Having redeemed Alaska miles for first and business class award tickets, the host(s) at the First class lounge in Dubai was extremely rude and even stated very loudly that “I see you are on an award ticket”, even added a smirk before she let me into the lounge.

  43. It’s very funny, that they deem some of us as worthy or not.
    Personally as a fiesty man of Scottish origin (well not all the way back, but that’s another story), I would have a go if any ignorant member of staff dared confront me over how my ticket was purchased. What a bloody cheek, you do your job, and I’ll do mine.

  44. My experience with CX redemption tickets is that you will be seated at the last few rows of business class, hence you will receive your meal service last, and therefore may have less options available. Other than that, no difference in actual service.

  45. Very useful post, thanks Lucky.

    I think we should collectively only determine “differential treatment” over a number of flights with an airline, and not just one experience. FAs and cabin crew are people too, and one day’s mood can change from the next based on whatever reason.

  46. AC crew know exactly the status of every psgr. It’s on the psgr manifest that is given to the in charge purser just before departure. Super elites are God and then it works its’ way down to the no status economy psgr. If you have star alliance status with any star carrier they know your status also. It comes in handy for them to know how to treat you and if there are any problems with a psgr.

  47. I’ve never noticed a difference. If you think about it, trying to treat passengers differently just creates more work for flight attendants. You know how most of them feel about taking on more work. It is easier to just treat everyone the same. The priority meal ordering on some airlines is probably a policy that came from complaints.

    On the ground it is sometimes a different story. I once booked an F award ticket on AA for SFO-JFK for a friend. The check in agent told my friend that they did not have lounge access on a “free ticket”. This was incorrect, but my friend spent $20 eating at a restaurant in the terminal because of this bad information.

  48. Last year on a FC award ticket with Singapore I had reserved my window seat in advance. Entering the plane, they tried to guide me to a middle seat away from my reserved window seat. I was hurriedly given an amenity kit which had a seal on it and which had simply a small bottle of cologne–nothing else. My Book-The-Cook arrived with almost 1/2 of the lobster missing and it was mostly shell. No opening of the toilet doors by FA’s as they had done with a paid previous Singapore FC. I’ll probably never fly them again and, yes, I did send a letter to SI customer relations = nothing. Sorry to get political, but the service to me as an American seems to have slipped a bit over the past year with some foreign carriers (e.g. Lufthansa FC definitely)-couldn’t possibly have to do with how we are newly perceived?

  49. @debit
    The FA you complain about may read this blog, so she knows what an ignorant bitch she has the misfortune to be stuck with.

  50. 99.44% of all passengers in First or Biz didn’t pay for those seats. They’re either mileage upgrades, status upgrades, award tix or non-revs.

  51. Many airlines show the booking class (not only the cabin class) on the BP and also on the manifest. So if crew knows the awards booking classes, they can tell. Most cabin managers/pursers would know the respective booking classes, more junior cabin crew rather not.

  52. Is AA still continue to take meal order in Business & First from front to back on eastbound flights / back to front on westbound flights, domestically and internationally even though you can pre-order your meal 30 days out?

  53. I’ve learned over the years, dress like a paying customer, and you will be treated like one. No one needs to know (although they may).

  54. Follow on to my last post:
    On a recent UA flight from EWR to HKG, a “poorly dressed slob” pestered the gate agent every 10 minutes if he was getting upgraded to Business Class, even though the monitor clearly indicated said upgrades. Believe me, EVERYONE on the flight knew he was NOT a paying Business customer.

  55. They stamped the price right on the ticket for everyone to see–or AWARD–or it. Certainly, it can affect service. That’s reality. Sucks, but reality.

  56. @Ken you can either respond the agent the other way, acting like I am really a bad-ass, i get free tickets… yeah yeah yeah. (LOL i usually just tell my friend, yes it is a free ticket 🙂

    ps i am really pleased that cathay treats the miles-first-class quite farely.

  57. @Robert Crandall. Once upon a time that was true. But not anymore. The airlines have gotten very good at yield management and that has extended to first class. Maybe you should read this blog once in a while. @Lucky talks frequently about the increasing percentages of paid travelers in the first class cabins.

  58. Recently flew SEA-ICN Delta business class using Skymiles . Continued ICN-BKK on Korean .Even though this was a business class redemption Korean would not allow seat selection and crammed us in some non recline seats in economy . They ran out of our chosen entres . We arrived in Bangkok two hours late .Our luggage was delivered to hotel 25 hours later . I had remarked to the GA at ICN that this was Korean Airs first ( and probably last chance) to make a good impression .Right now both Korean and Delta can burn to the ground as far as I am concerned . (people out first )
    Savannah , be sure to be at the CX Hong Kong lounge on March 27th so you can remind me how much more important you are .
    Any other time great treatment regardless of economy , business , award or cash .

  59. As Ben F posted air canada does have a peculiar system of elites being served on an upgrade certificate ahead of full fare passengers. Air canada flight attendants definitely know award passengers.

  60. I had a LH staff at checking in, refusing to enter my *A elite membership number (its not LH but another *A member), because its an award ticket and his rationale was because it will not accrue miles.

    I told him his is not recognizing my *A status by doing, but he flatly refused and i almost could not check-in if i did not let him have his way. Sorry LH, you are damn xxxx up. I do not buy that 5-star skytrax rating at all.

    Extremely unimpressed with LH.

    At CX, even on award tickets, i have received good treatment as OWE, and even received meal choices earlier on flights i could recall being on.

  61. I was a CX crew, I can assure you all that CX won’t disclose any sort of tickets u have to cabin crew, only if u are the check in upgrade, ID staff ticket, VIP, VVIP will b shown on iPad.

    For CX crew practise, when we notice some of the diamond passengers seated at the Back with no status passengers surrounded, we always take their meal orders but does not mean that the rest are non revenue passengers.

  62. I was a CX Crew, I can assure you all that, CX won’t release any kind of ticket you have to cabin crew. On iPad it will be shown if you are the OW, MPO member, Staff ticket, Interline staff ticket, VIP, VVIP, Free Upgrade only. Also, you previous complain / compliment will be appearing on iPad briefly.

    For CX crew practice, we always take their meal order for DM passengers who seated at the end with no status passengers around, but it does not mean those are non revenue passengers.

  63. not exactly second class treatment but I was on an award ticket in LH F and asked for some snacks in between meals…they said there will be dinner in 2 hours so how about waiting until then, they don’t really have anything else for in-between. I thought that can’t be true but didn’t want to cause a scene also given that I was on an award ticket…

  64. They quite certainly know which passenger has the freebie, upgrade, miles nonsense. How come our seats are in the back, near the toilet stink, near economy? Running out entrees, broken seats, non working, or problems with the TV screen, etc..? Then stink eye by some FAs. Then certainly know, dont know how, but THEY know who has the freebie tickets, the upgrade thing, or the miles games. Unless you’re a famous person or have a lot of fans with the freebie 1st class thing, then you’re screwed. Enjoy the toilet stink. This has happened to us several times with upgrade/miles ‘awards.’

  65. I was on UA business class with an upgraded ticket, from SFO to TPE, and was the last one to select meal even my seat not at back. I was told that I “can have a meal from the main cabin” as they ran out the choices and I didn’t like the one left. Not only taking order by status, but also serving by status…

    Just back from another business class trip on AA, also with an upgraded ticket, HKG to LAX. FA took order (and served) from front to back, left to right, no difference at all. Great services.

  66. No seats are “freebies”. You or someone else “earned” those miles whether through spend or butt in the seat. You entered a contract with the airlines and they “offered” you miles which you “earned”.

    FAs need to understand that.

  67. At the Pier F lounge, I tried to change to an earlier flight, but the maitre’d noted that this wasn’t possible since I was on an award ticket. So at least the ground staff knows you’re not paying $.

    In the air, I surmise the FAs can also tell whether you redeemed miles. That won’t matter in J since there are so many people. In F, the service culture should be so ingrained that you won’t suffer on an award F ticket.

    Still, we don’t have a definitive answer for the question posed by article.

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