The tribe of Frequent flyers has its rite of passage, its unspoken rules and of course, like any group of grown ups with privileges, its first world problems. It could be an ever ending list. Here is a list of 10:
1. When you’re told at check in that you cannot have a priority tag because you travel economy.
What?!? And you haven’t spotted that gold card on my bag tag? Neither have you looked at the shiny gold card I’ve handed with my passport? That economy flight was paid with miles collected through another airline because my credit card gives me more miles on this loyalty program. And it’s only a two hours flight so I can actually bear economy. Duh.
2. When you realise the only fast track is for crew. Or even worst. When everyone can buy a fast track.
Frequent flyers collect privileges. Like kids collect stones or seashells, it is something very important. What loyalty program gives you in return of your precious time spent with them. It is not only about award tickets but also about how it enhances your passenger experience. Little extras that make you feel special. Such as jumping the queues whenever you can.
3. When you realise you’ve picked the wrong queue.
As a frequent flyer, you know which queue to pick (to optimise your time drinking champagne at the lounge).
You’ve carefully avoided the families (they always tend to pack litres of shampoo, when yes, you’re only allowed 100ml bottles in a small sealable see through bag and who needs so much shampoo anyways?), and the unfrequent traveller (easily spotted by the nervousness, the printed tickets and boarding pass, the slight panic and a general sense of not knowing where to go or what to do).
But sometimes you miss a detail. Like that young couple who seemed like they didn’t have a carry on but actually managed to forget a swiss army knife in a side pocket. BUSTED. Duh…
4. When your bag’s locks get jammed at security.
It’s embarrassing. You look like a total newbie and all the other Frequent flyer stare at you like you’re in your pink underwear in the middle of a business meeting.
5. When you didn’t pack your stuff in smart pockets.
And your bra jumps out of your suitcase. Why do bra come to life at security point? No idea. But it happens.
6. When you realise that you have to pay for your alcohol in the lounge.
To my horror I’ve realised that domestic lounges in the US do not seem to offer hot food (even before international flights) and you sometimes even have to pay for your alcool. (Don’t ask me how this is possible, I’m still in shock.)
3. When you left the lounge and at the gate you’re told your flight is delayed “but stay at the gate because we might be boarding soon”.
Yeah. Right, so you’ve just left your little bubble of tranquility and now you have to wait with the rest of your fellow passenger at the gate? No thank you. Call me when you’re boarding and I’ll make my way to the gate.
6. When you fly a new airline for the first time.
And you need to ask the FA where the plug for the headset it located. Or how to unfold your table. Again. The other FF stare. Like: oh that’s the economy pax who got a free upgrade. The utmost humiliation for a frequent flyer.
7. When you realise you are the only woman under 65 in the business class cabin. Or the only woman at all. Again.
Then I’m usually like: What the..?!??? There is a lack of woman sitting on executive boards and it shows on airplanes. Not to mention all the condescending looks. As if my sugar daddy was paying for my ticket.
8. You have lost hope of sitting next to an Adonis/Venus on a commercial flight.
If you spot a good looking guy/girl at the gate, you can be 99% certain he/she is travelling coach, and 98% sure that he/she won’t be sitting next to you if you happen to be so unlucky to fly coach.
The only time I actually sat next to a Pierce Brosnan look alike, it was on an Easyjet flight at the time where it was free sitting for all. Just for the record. And I fly a lot.
9. When you meet someone for the first time and after 12 seconds you start talking about how to optimise your miles.
I realise that I am a geek. Most of the time my friends and family accept this about me and they’re nice so they don’t make me feel like I’m a total alien. It’s when I meet new people that it gets awkward. Every time.
10. When you meet people for the first time and when you start talking about miles optimisation, they instantly mention how they went to Hong Kong for a mileage run.
Then you know you found a new friend.