Regarding fellow passengers…

Surprisingly enough, the more flying I do, the more I have a hard time putting up with other passengers. No, not in terms of the traveling publicĀ losing all manners the second they step on a plane, but rather in terms of misinformation by other frequent flyers.

This past week I had a flight where I was talking to one of the lovely flight attendants in the business class galley of a 777. I quite enjoyed her telling me about her life in Huntington Beach, where she’s the only one without a Hummer and fake boobs (true story). A guy comes up to the flight attendant and asks for a cheese and cracker plate. Now mind you, this is a breakfast flight, and they simply don’t have that catered. The flight attendant was fantastic, so she got him something to nibble on from coach. As she was doing that, he started talking to me.

First he bragged about how much he flies. Yeah, he’s a total badass. He has done a whopping 30,000 miles this year and has hardly been home. Fair enough, that I can handle. Then he asks where I’m from, and I say Tampa. He mentioned how he’s taking a business trip next week to Tampa and can’t figure out whether he should fly United (the airline he flies 99% of the time), or Virgin, because they have a nonstop from Los Angeles to Tampa. Well, not only do they not have a nonstop, but they don’t even fly to Tampa. Now obviously he was looking for some feedback from me, and I didn’t know how to respond. Do I say “yeah, Virgin’s pretty cool, give them a go,” or do I say “sir, you have no clue what you’re talking about, they don’t fly to Tampa?” Of course I contained myself and went with the former. Then again, that wasn’t a huge issue.

He continued. “You know, United really treats me well for the most part, but I was frustrated a few days ago at Dulles in the Red Carpet Club. I had a flight a few days later and there were 30 empty seats in business class, and I just wanted them to put me in seat 8B because I really like it, and they refused.” Well, sir, how convenient — you should clear my upgrade because I have a favorite seat! Yet again, I didn’t know how to respond to that. Do I explain to him how ridiculous his statement is, or just agree and say “yeah, that’s unfortunate?”

Anyway, he went on and on, next explaining how an agent refused to check him in for a flight in three days, even though he knew the agent really could. On a case-by-case basis I can handle it, but it’s frustrating to always be stuck talking to frequent flyers that have no clue what the hell they’re talking about.

So what do you guys do? Correct them, just always agree, or excuse yourself whenever they start talking to you?

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Call ’em on their BS. Not in a “rude” way but more in the:

    “I had the same problem last week with the 1K line. The told me that because it was outside of the upgrade window, I would need to wait until then to have my upgrade processed. Don’t you hate those upgrade windows. What isn’t it something like 50(?) hours for you as a 1P?”

  2. For people that are very stuck up and cocky bragging about how much they fly and how experienced they are I do as you and leave them clueless when they are obviously wrong. When I was a 3K GS I had it happen quite a few times that my seat neighbour in F told me that one day when I am a Premier or Premier Executive like them and fly a lot I will get treated very well. One guy shut up after the captain came back and thanked me for my business and gave me his business card whereas my neighbor didn;t get one.
    Some people though have the right attitude and I will explain as much as I can and set them right if I know the answer.

  3. I’m a very very polite jerk. People need the truth. What they do with it is their own business. But they might improve their lives as a result.

  4. I had an octogenarian sitting next to me Friday on a flight from LAX-LAS and he was going on and on about how much he flies. Last December he was at 87K miles and he spent $1000 on a flight to SYD to make it to 1K and he’d do it again this year as it was the best $1000 he ever spent. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there were 2 DEQM periods last year and he probably was well over 100K if he had registered for either of them. My only comment was that my last year total was 302K. That quickly ended the conversation.

    I find that my EQM total from last year is usually enough to stop the conversation from those who are trying to feel superior.

  5. I’m not a frequently flier and am just starting to learn more about flying and mile and all that good stuff. I’ll have to remember to avoid these people so I don’t get bad info. Thanks for the warning.

  6. It depends. If I am faced with a know-nothing-but-thinks-he-knows-it-all, then no matter how politely I try and correct him, he will be sure that he’s right and I’m wrong so why waste my energy.

    If on the other hand it’s naivety or someone who I genuinely think will pay attention then I am happy to help.

    Few (if any) of those lucky (rightly) bemoans are in the latter category.

  7. Excellent. Yet another item to add to our already loooong “Annoying things those of us who fly biz/first class must endure” list. Life just isn’t fair.

  8. I read somewehere in a magazine or newspaper article saying something like this:

    Frequent flyer status transform a bunch of “nobodies” into jackasses at the aiports and on the planes around the world. The sense of self-importance or trying to be somebody are two of the main reasons people throw good money flying around the world to become somebody.

  9. HA HA HA. seriously like… seriuously?? He thinks 30,000 is a lot, I have travell more and Im just younger
    Well any way, I don’t think he is really frequent traveller. But it was quite funny.

  10. In these cases, it is best to simply find a way to shorten and disengage the conversation in a polite manner.

  11. For this exact reason I usually have my ipod earbuds in my ears from boarding until deplaning. 60% of the time I am not listening to anything, but the chatty Kathys don’t know that.

    It really takes a nosy person to tap you on the arm to start a conversation.

    I also think airlines should start “quiet” flights like Amtrak does with quiet cars in the Northeast. Hell, I would pay more to fly on a flight where my seatmate couldn’t give me their life story and the single mom isn’t traveling with 4 kids. That would be pretty close to heaven on earth.

  12. It cracks me up when people talk about how many miles they have flown like it’s some sort of accomplishment. I lol when people say that kind of stuff.

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