The happiest anyone has ever been to fly United?

As part of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” giveaway, the whole audience won a cruise on Royal Caribeean’s “Allure of the Seas” with flights on UNNNNITTTTTTTED AIRLINES (see the video here). Have you ever seen anyone that excited to fly United? šŸ˜‰

In all honesty, can anyone rationalize the audience responses on Oprah’s show? Yes, it’s exciting to win a cruise, but you’d think their lives changed forever based on their reactions.

(Tip of the hat to Michael)

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  1. I think it’s very easy for those of us who fly frequently for liesure that many, many people in this country can’t afford to do so. Particularly these days. This cruise might indeed be the trip of a lifetime for those in that audience, and I think it’s a wee bit condescending to imply that they shouldn’t be excited about it.

  2. @ as219 — First of all, certainly didn’t intend this in a serious way; I was trying to be funny, hence the wink.

    That being said, should people really be excited about this? Don’t they still have to pay taxes on their winnings? I mean, a seven night cruise is worth maybe $600 per person nowadays. Figure a flight can be had for $250. So the prize is (realistically) worth maybe $850. I assume the cruise won’t be “ideal” for most of the people going. In other words, they won’t be able to take their families, they’ll have to go during an inconvenient time, and ultimately they’ll have to miss work for it.

    Sure, it’s something to be happy about, but are tears with no end in sight appropriate?

  3. I have to agree with as219 on this one…

    While Oprah can be ridiculous and over-the-top, who are we to judge how excited the audience got? Their lives may not have been changed forever, but I think I’d be pretty excited to go on a free trip…

    I think we (the FT community) can get a bit too entitled sometimes. I’m not saying it’s not within our rights, but at the same time, why should we judge someone else’s excitement regarding a free trip?

  4. My wife made me watch both Favorite Things and she mentioned that these people are her ‘ultimate viewers,’ meaning they love Oprah and they have done a lot to ‘pay it forward’ by volunteering, sacrificing a ton of themselves, etc… A lot of them have never experienced any sort of luxury, so when they ‘won’ the cruise, it was likely a once-in-a-lifetime gift for many of them and a token of thanks for giving a lot, so they were probably overcome with a lot of emotion. They also won a lot of other really cool stuff…

  5. @lucky — I gathered from the wink that you meant it somewhat less than completely seriously, and yet it still sounded like you were kind of poking fun at them.

    I just think it makes sense, every once in a while — particularly at this season of Thanksgiving — to acknowledge that those of us who are among the infinitesimal percentage of the traveling public that gets to fly in the premium cabins of the world’s best airlines, stay in the world’s best hotels, and/or cruise on the world’s best ships should consider ourselves very, er, “lucky,” and that what may be ho-hum, “low class” or uninspiring for us may be the experience of a lifetime for someone else who doesn’t have the time or the means to travel. (By the way, Oprah is paying the taxes this time…)

    I’m virtually certain you wouldn’t disagree with these sentiments, but the tone of your OP — wink notwithstanding — seems to suggest otherwise.

  6. @ as219 — And I do completely agree with you, you’re spot on. We do often take premium travel for granted. I’m poking fun at it in the same way that SNL skit is, though perhaps this isn’t the time to do so. For what it’s worth, my happiest airline moment in the past few months was from Los Angeles to Maui, where I was in seat 6C, and surrounded on all sides by a non-rev family of six, all of which “cleared” first class for the flight. Seeing their happiness was refreshing, since premium cabins are often something I (and many others) take for granted. The employee, a customer service agent, was traveling with her husband, mother, and three kids. Mom asked what her what they would do for such a long flight, and she said there are movies, food, and free drinks. I smiled when mom’s face lit up as she said “there’s free food?”

  7. But how do you justify the same crying and hysteria for the other gifts – the CDs, jewelry, Netflix subscriptions, etc? Let’s not pretend that rampant materialism does not exist in this country.

    Wanna bet we see another Black Friday riot this week as people scramble to pick up bargains, many of which were featured on this episode?

  8. @Stevie G. I hope you took the hint. Why do you think your wife made you watch the show? Wink!!
    If I were you, I’d spend time researching where to buy those things, rather than reading bb’s. LOL.

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