Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Why be elite?
I recently obtained Premier status with United Airlines. I now expect all non-elite travelers to kneel before me as I walk by. I was surprised to find that the first time I graced the New York Port Authorities LaGuardia airport that people aren't required to worship my existence at airports. This was exceptionally disappointing.
Not too long ago the airline industry decided that it wanted to be broke. So it let itself go broke. It started charging people for bags that were overweight, then, it started charging people for bags period, then, it started punching every passenger in the face during the check-in process, then, it started charging each passenger 4$ for the punch... that was when they went too far.
However, as a premier member, I am exempt from the $35991234235 "baggage handling" fee. I'm not sure why the baggage handlers now require a fee. I thought about requiring the airline to pay me a fee every time it charges me a fee. What do you think? Well... I suppose it doesn't matter anymore.
Again, not too long ago, domestic flights had 2 classes on-board, and international flights had 3. There were some exceptions but this was pretty much the norm. Economy, Business, and First. The First class passengers are treated to gourmet meals for free, unlimited alcohol, and comfortable seats. They are also given parachutes, harpoon guns, and personal ejection seats in case the plane doesn't work anymore during a flight. The flight attendants are required to remind first class passengers that their lives are more valuable than the rest of the passengers, and to make sure that in the event of an airplane disaster, they are to use the economy class passengers as flotation devices.
Now, the airlines have introduced a 4th class. They bumped the economy class back one and inserted an economy plus. The economy plus seats sell for about a hundred bucks more (depending on the trip) and are about .0000004% less horrible than regular economy.
Premier members are able to pick these seats for free at check-in or booking.
The last reason to seek out that elite status, at least with United Airlines, is boarding priority. Most airlines have a seating priority for boarding. United goes as far as literally rolling out a red carpet for First class, Business class, Global services members, and 1k members. After these people are allowed to cram themselves into the plane via a separate entrance and take all of the overhead space, they continue boarding by the following priority; white men, white women, ethnic minorities except for Jews, followed by Jews. Even though I am still a Jew, my premier membership somehow affords me the luxury of now always being a member of boarding zone 1, which follows directly behind half of all the passengers.
There are other benefits that I'll go over in other blog posts, but these three reasons alone make it worthwhile to stick with one airline. And that is my advice.