In our last blog we suggested that a friendly attitude goes a long way when asking about free flight upgrades.
Years ago I was checking in for an international flight. I was on my way to conduct a television interview with the new CEO of the national airline I was about to board. The agent looked at my ticket and asked me to wait. She came back with a supervisor. “I’m sorry, Sir,” the supervisor said. “But your ticket is no good. Would you please follow me?”
Before I had time to get upset I was waiting comfortably in the empty First Class lounge as a hostess brought me coffee, juice and a wonderful selection of breakfast pastries. “Your new ticket, Sir. Seat 1-A,” said the smiling supervisor. It had all been arranged as an obvious bribe in exchange for a positive slant in the upcoming interview with the new CEO. Who was I to argue?
Just prior to pulling away from the gate, I was invited to join the flight crew in the 747 cockpit. The jump-seat was waiting for me. What a fantastic ride!
Arriving for the interview the CEO’s media representative and company “Yes-Men” were nervous. This was the CEO’s first TV interview. I was diplomatically informed that the boss had no personality, was very reserved and never smiled. And they were right. He was all business.
At the end of the interview I had one last question. Mentioning the very nice flight over on his 747, I wondered if I might sit in the co-pilot’s seat on the return flight. I was asking for an upgrade. There was an audible gasp from the CEO’s “Yes-men”. No one had ever dared to joke with him before. A stern look came across his face.
“Sir”, he began. “They don’t even let me fly our planes … and I’m president of the airlines … but it never hurts to ask.” With a faint chuckle, he cracked a slight smile. When they realized their boss had actually told a joke the room full of nervous company executives broke into an uproariously relieved laugh.
The new CEO was right … free flight upgrades … it never hurts to ask.