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September 14th, 2007

The Joys of Elite Status

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to note that my frequent travels for work have netted me the top tier status on United (well, except for that pesky Global Services level): 1K. This means I have flown 100,000 miles in a calendar year and why yes, that is a lot of flying.

So what does 1K get me? The biggest, most immediate benefit is that I get to board first – before The Huddled Masses™ – on a low-cost red carpet. That’s certainly nice. I also get a higher priority on upgrade lists, a private 1K website (meh), and a shiny Mileage Plus card that says “1K” and hopefully has my last name spelled correctly.

But there was another benefit I wasn’t quite aware of: better customer service. I was checking in for a flight this past week and something on United’s website went kablooeyblammo and I couldn’t check in online. So I called United and feared the worst, for their entire attitude towards customer service to me in the past had been, “Who cares? Not us.”

Surprisingly, my experience was not only way better but it was almost awesome. The people I spoke with mostly solved my problem but were kind, courteous, friendly, and even thanked me multiple times for being a frequent flyer. I was impressed and happy to get it but then I thought, “Geez, other people really don’t get great customer service, do they?”

Well, too bad. I’ve advanced beyond all of you Regular Folks and while I’ll be one of 284 1Ks on my normal flights, I can still look down on you. Neener-neener!

Posted in Consumer Commentary, Everyday Life

Steve A September 15, 2007, 5:18 pm

Not to try to sidetrack your thread.

Back when we still lived in VA (pre-1997), my father-in-law was an active pilot for United. If he accompanied us, we could fly space available for free.

One such trip to Chicago had him, my wife and I scattered across the aircraft. I was sitting against the aft bulkhead (just forward of the lavs) with a disabled US Navy WW-II veteran. Being either recently retired or still Navy he and I had a lot in common and spoke throughout the entire flight.

When we were to land, I buckled him in and talked him through, what was to him, a tramatic landing. The flight attendant asked if I would accompany him off the aircraft to his waiting daughter. I had no problem in doing so. As we passed the flight cabin, the pilot handed me an envelope instructing me to open it after the man had been turned over to his daughter.

I got the gent to his daughter with no problems, caught up with my family and opened the mystery envelope. There was a $50 United gift certificate and a note of thanks from the crew for caring for the gent.

I guess sometimes they *do* care. Heck, a flight to Chicago where they actually PAID ME to do so!

Ciao,

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