December 21, 2010

It’s official. It kills me to admit it, but in the last two years, I’ve become a snobby traveler. It makes me feel so incredibly pretentious, but it’s  true. After traveling with status, it’s going to be hard to go back. Even now, I have an unreasonable annoyance when it’s assumed (I guess because of my age) that I don’t have status. And then, I feel ridiculous because I’m annoyed that I can’t skip through a line – how elitist does that sound? Either way, status seems to be like Tivo – you don’t realize how much you need it until you have it. You just don’t know what you’re missing.

1) Free checked luggage – I know, who even checks luggage these days for fear of losing it? And remember back in the day when this used to be standard? Either way, I’m a huge proponent of checking bags. I hate dragging a suitcase around an airport and I hate having to fight for overhead space.

2) First class upgrades – There’s a reason why first class costs more. I don’t know if it’d be worth it if I were booking personal travel, but getting upgraded is just about the best thing ever. It’s almost good enough to make up for delays. And if it doesn’t, then at least you can drink to feel better. But more than just the free drinks and extra space (for you and your bags), the flight attendants are nicer, they hang your coat up, you get a pillow and blanket, you get fancy snacks, you get a warm towel, you might even get a meal. You even have a specific first class bathroom. Weirdly, I get unreasonably annoyed about people in coach using this bathroom – and I have no idea why because I don’t ever use the bathroom on planes. Still, first class is still a special thing for me and even with status, I’m sitting in coach more than half the time.

3) Priority everything – From picking seats, to going through security, to boarding the plane – status gets priority and it will definitely be the hardest thing to give up. It’s hugely helpful to bypass lines to check tickets/ID for security and boarding the plane first means your pick of overhead compartments.

4) Check-in gift – Status at hotels seems to get you less, but one nice thing is they usually give you a check-in gift. My usual hotel offers a bottle of water or a snack. At my hotel in Alabama, I got half a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream. But beyond that, hotels are much better than airlines with their amenities. In general, if you ask for something (forgotten toiletries, a higher floor, wake up calls, holding luggage, later check out time), hotels are amazing at attempting to accommodate your request. Airlines should take a hint.



  1. Getting a wide seat in the first or biz class without worrying about the next-seat neighbour’s waist spilling over the seat-handle is totally cool. Going through the priority check-in line and by-passing the longer lines is definitely nice, too. I wouldn’t call it snobby though. Spoiled, maybe. 🙂 It may sound strange, though, that frequent travellers get special treatment. It’s like making a designated lane in the highway for those who go to work everyday. :p

    • It is spoiled, but it’s also snobby when you start expecting it and are annoyed when it’s doesn’t happen. Or maybe it’s more “entitled”.

      Ah but the difference between driving to work and flying is that there’s a significant number of people who aren’t frequent travelers. So going through an airport without special treatment would be like driving to work when all the other cars are student drivers.

      You know that scene in Up in the Air? When he assesses the different security lines, passes judgment, and gets in line behind the Asian businessmen? That is exactly what frequent travelers do because it annoys us when we have to wait behind people that don’t know they have to take out their liquids.

      • I totally agree with your analogy of student drivers and infrequent fliers. In fact I can almost see myself as being one of those asians pictured in that movie who travel light.

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