Every traveller dreams of flirting their way to a business class upgrade. But that’s not how it works anymore. These days, when cattle-class is overbooked and there’s a spare lie-flat seat, it will be offered to loyal economy flyers when they check-in online.
So far so reasonable.
The problem is, even though the old system of check-in attendants upgrading passengers based on their social sensibility (and dress sense) was ‘classist’, its removal has left us with a worse problem: economy passengers travelling in business who don’t deserve to be there.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I love barefoot beer-swilling, I (occasionally) pick my nose and – once – I even asked a fellow passenger to take a ‘basic bro’ photo as I posed in my Qantas pajamas.
In other words: I am not here to condemn degenerate behaviour. In fact, as we reported earlier this year, Pointy End passengers are just as (if not more) guilty of this than anyone.
However, as the following Tripadvisor flight reviews reveal, not everyone who gets upgraded in this new era of “loyalty rewarding” deserves it. Worse: these business class newbies are putting an avalanche of misinformation online.
Why? Well, coming from economy, many upgraded passengers see business class as a Whole New World. What they don’t realise, however, is that although The Pointy End is an adult playpen of ergonomic delight, it’s still subject to flight delays, excess baggage charges, crying children, disruptive passengers and even (in rare cases) salmonella.
Barring food poisoning – none of that is the airlines’ fault. But of course, reading the reviews, that is not the impression one gets.
From the above review, which bemoans a missed connection (which reflects badly on the airline but not, as the customer suggests, the QSuite), to rants further down the page, nue age business class passengers appear to have expectations beyond what any cabin – premium or not – can provide.
Not only that; some copy and paste the same negative review across multiple websites (from Tripadvisor to Trustpilot), proliferating Fake News to even more frustrating levels. Our favourite? The man who believes he was “mis-sold” his upgrade.
“Shame on you Qatar – more lost passengers. Enjoy the CHF 400 you conned out of me – it will be the last time,” the review finished.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, this wasn’t the last time someone wrote a dodgy business class review. In fact, the angst just keeps pouring in, with (presumably) The Recently Upgraded holding airlines accountable for everything from other passengers…
… to their codeshare partners.
The conclusion? Although we don’t need to go back to selecting passengers for business class upgrades based on their clothes, we do need a society-wide rethink of our premium cabin expectations.