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-   -   Is it just me? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/4290-just-me.html)

TrojanHorse May 24, 01 10:59 am

I read this for entertainment purposes only with no intention of replying until I read the comment " no amount of customer service training is going to make one person REALLY care about helping another. only you can create conditions so that the clerk *wants* to help you." I beg to differ with your comment

Customer Service Training can help a person care about helping another as the training will show what is expected of them as part of their job duties as some employees don't know what is expected as they are new, haven't been trained etc. As far as wanting to help, why are they in this job if they don't want to help customers, aren't a people person? there are many many jobs paying similar wages in a 4% unemployment market where you don't have to deal with people. I agree being a (in your terms homey) "dick" about it will most likely hurt rather than help, I think the preferred elite rules should be waived as experience has shown that many employees are not aware of the rules.

If the "elite" level customers don't receive their perks, if the Elite all went elsewhere, where do you think that would leave the chain, where would that leave the clerk who has a bad attitude, who doesn't understand the rules of the game... out in the cold of course.

Now that I have rambled on and on... one last question homey, are you some sort of therapist or something?

Originally posted by homey:
fellow travel enthusiasts,

this turned out to be a good discussion. we have good people in here, i like it. everyone has very thoughtful responses.

here is the summary (i think): no matter how badly the travel company lets us down, no matter how elite-metal we are, we do not have the RIGHT, nor are we ENTITLED to abuse their employees. in short, we should strive to be nice, no matter how tired, how pissed off, how re-routed, and how middle-seat we are feeling. just like they are supposed to be, right? i bet a lot of people are pissed off at the notion that THEY have to suck it up, when they are the ones paying the money. you can stick up for your rights, and point out that the hotel is not honoring the contract, but you cant be a dick about it.

as Fters, we should strive to set a new standard for customer behavior. if i walk up to a desk with an FT t-shirt, i want the clerk to think, "oh goody" not "oh sh!t."

think about it this way - you wont be judged based on how you are treated, you will be judged based on how you treat others.

for those in a rush, quit reading, the rest is all details. for the curious, keep going, but watch out, its long, and kinda preachy.

here is how i approach these things: regardless of the *contract* between me and hotel chain X, when im in the lobby getting my room from the clerk, we are two human beings, with real lives and emotions. at that moment, i am not a number, and they are not a huge faceless corporation. its me and frank, and the goal is to get a good room, and a partially hydrogenated snack. yeah, i can wave a print-out of the perks in franks face, and make a fuss, and blind him with the reflective glare of my well-worn elite card, but what if there was a better way? how the heck did people get good service and perks BEFORE there were frequent traveler programs? by being NICE! (being rich and paying a ton of money helps, but you still get your spat in.)

reducing it to that, me and frank, two humans trying to get something done, here is my final comment on this.

[soapbox mode = ON] http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif

people do not care about your emotional state, they care about THEIRS. its human nature to focus on yourself, and no amount of customer service training is going to make one person REALLY care about helping another. only you can create conditions so that the clerk *wants* to help you. ironically, it isnt about you. thus if you want them to do nice things for you, your task is not to impose YOUR hurting emotions on them. rather, it is to identify and empathize with whatever emotions they are experiencing. if you tap into their emotional state, and if you talk about THEM and not YOURSELF, they will enjoy themselves in your presence, and you will get superior service. thats the key.

understand that it is REALLY HARD! it takes a lot of practice and patience.

hint: do this before they know your name, your elite status, etc. take the initiative and be nice first. then if there is a problem with your reservation, they will think, "this person is a good person. it would be wrong for them to get hosed." and they are way more likely to help you.

for me, the goal is to get a good room, etc, not to hurt the clerk, even if i am hurt myself. thus, the above strategy is the one i use. it works with everyone, by the way, not just good old frank at the hotel.

im not special, im not good looking, im not rich, im not famous, and im a mediocre tipper. all i do is forget about myself and focus on them for a few SECONDS, and boom, stuff happens. my behavior says, "YOU are elite." instead of "*I* am elite."

[soapbox mode = OFF]


zrs70 May 24, 01 12:22 pm

Great topic.

Everyone has said it, but no one the way I can say it!

While I enjoy the perks of status, I cringe whenever I hear, "I'm gold elite and I desserve blah blah blah."

Guess what???? The agent looking at your record KNOWS what status you are.

I, for one, am sick of the word "status." It makes those without it feel like second class citizens.


LAOCA May 24, 01 12:34 pm


Originally posted by zrs70:
Great topic.

Everyone has said it, but no one the way I can say it!

While I enjoy the perks of status, I cringe whenever I hear, "I'm gold elite and I desserve blah blah blah."

Guess what???? The agent looking at your record KNOWS what status you are.

I, for one, am sick of the word "status." It makes those without it feel like second class citizens.


But that's how the system is created. I mean really, you can't possibly expect great service because of your patronage, just a little less bad service.

It's a commodity business now.


kokonutz May 24, 01 12:56 pm


I note that the "From:" fields for the posters in this thread are quite unusual for FT, if you know what I mean, and I won't elaborate more than that.
I'm not really sure what you mean, but if you are referring to the fact that many FTers put their statuses in the "From" field, there is actually a very sane, rational and well-thought-out reason that has nothing to do with ego. Since this is a board about FF, it is simply a shorthand way for a reader to put the comments of the poster in perspective. It's something that I encourage all FTers to do.

As for the overriding theme of the thread, I am a big ol' eliteist and will not apologize for it. Heck, I'm a status whore!!! The service providers set up expectations that ought to be met when you meet their criteria. And, IMO and IME, those are (and sould be) MINIMUM expectations. When minimum expectations are not met, one is very justified in complaining. I dont "get off on it" that I'm gettting a perk that someone else isnt. When one travels so darn much it just gets very, very exhausting unless you are able to do it in a little bit of style. Service providers recognize this and are willing to trade those perks for my loyalty. This is a win/win here.

I wholeheartedly agree, however, that as a customer, I get far more from being nice then by being surly. Sure, I whine when things dont go my way. But in general getting .....y takes a bad situation and makes it worse.

homey May 24, 01 2:09 pm

re: TrojanHorse

good points! i think you and i agree, and we are saying the same thing from different angles. you are correct, lots of training helps people understand their job, and how to provide great service, and what it is, and all that. i agree. my comment was directed more towards actually making a connection with a clerk, as humans. whether they care about me or not, their training will help them help me. but if they feel good in my presence, they might go the extra mile for me, or decide not to mess with me.

i think about it like this - you know when you are working, and you dont even realize time is passing, and boom, its 8pm, and you worked all day! it happens to me when im happy, and i enjoy whatever it is im doing. it isnt really *work* when it is like that. my goal is to put that clerk into a mode of, "helping this guy isnt work, it is gratifying!" then it is effortless. do i make sense? i hope i wasnt confusing...

oh, and i am not a therapist, even though i sometimes sound like one. i am an engineer by training, and take a deep interest in people for fun. (applause) http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/biggrin.gif

AirGurn May 24, 01 2:24 pm

I, for one, like to think that I'm the most important person in [i]my[i]world. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/wink.gif I guess the point to me is that everyone is the hero of their own story to some degree. You get what you can, benefits wise, from these programs, but don't expect someone to give you the world when the plane's full and they've worked a double shift on Thanksgiving weekend. I don't care if you're double-secret-triple-dog platinum with 3MM miles, you're either part of the problem, or part of the solution that makes that person's job easier. Maybe then, you'll get your upgrade http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif

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There's no substitution for a genuine lack of preparation

pynchonesque May 24, 01 6:30 pm


I'm not really sure what you mean, but if you are referring to the fact that many FTers put their statuses in the "From" field, there is actually a very sane, rational and well-thought-out reason that has nothing to do with ego. Since this is a board about FF, it is simply a shorthand way for a reader to put the comments of the poster in perspective. It's something that I encourage all FTers to do.
Perhaps. But is it really used that way? I know that when I look for advice on a topic here, I don't even look at people's statuses -- I tend to look for either good specific arguments, or for "brand name" posters, such as you, Rudi, and others. This is the internet: anyone can claim to be anything they want, including 1K, diamond, platinum, whatever. But a well-reasoned argument, or a history of informative posts, can't be faked. In fact, not only is ff status fakeable, but even when real, I don't think it correlates with knowledge. Having your butt in an airplane seat for 100,000 miles a year doesn't automatically make you knowledgeable about travel or ff programs.


As for the overriding theme of the thread, I am a big ol' eliteist and will not apologize for it.
Fine. And others won't apologize for poking fun at that. To each his own.


I wholeheartedly agree, however, that as a customer, I get far more from being nice then by being surly.
Homey makes the same point. I also think that as far as things the individual employee can influence (this excludes bonus miles or SWU's), I get far more out of "people skills" and a passing knowledge of psychology than I do out of all the super-duper-platinum-status cards I have.

UAL Traveler May 24, 01 6:46 pm

cigarman opines

I find a certain airline seems to have a high percentage of these elitists. Currently they have posts about linen service slackers and missing godiva chocolates... say hello to UA flyers...
OK, granted that the table linen and the chocolates issues show UA's massive disregard for supplying the basic necessities of onboard life, but please, lets put this in perspective. Or have you forgotten about 1000's of posts that thoroughly castigated UA when they committed that most egregious of all sins, and engaged in what can be described by nothing short than medieval barbarism when the plastic salt shakers were replaced by PAPER TUBES!!!

OK, now the record is straight. I will shift topic a bit and just say that in additional to cultivating empathy, and hoping that the employee is well trained in customer satisfaction, that most elites engage in a rather complex and ritualistic dance that precedes their ultimate encounter with the agents at the airport. By that I am referring to the myriad of strategic and tactical planning that underwrites a positive travel experience. It may involve researching the best opportunities for upgrades, working with customer relations to help secure those upgrades, understanding the situation (weather, load factors, flight arrival/departure delays, etc.) prior to leaving for the airport, and making final adjustments to schedule. When all of the above is, for the most part, well executed, with a small amount of luck the likelihood of feeling the need to moan and groan and throw status around is reduced to near zero.

dallasflyer May 24, 01 7:37 pm

This is a great topic.

I agree that some people are obnoxious. FF flyers, tourists, non-revs, etc. I have never said I'm Platinum or Gold or whatever to anyone in order to get anything. I think you look foolish. I do however think that you should receive the benefits that are earned by making the various level of status programs.

I use the from section to tell people what status levels I currently hold. I am proud of it and as a road warrior, self-employed, as if that really mattered. I use the from section to try and see where the poster may be coming from.

I like the perks and I usually get them. I pay what I need to to receive the service level that I want within my budget. I have never ask for compensation for a mistake, never moved rooms because I didn't like them. I just don't use that airline or hotel anymore. Some people complain and if they are satisfied they stay with them. I don't move my business at the drop of a hat, but if I don't like the service I receive I start looking for an alternative. I not sure the airlines and hotels don't prefer the complainers. With them they actually may get more chances.

As to the perks, I like them. Bigger is better. Getting on first is better. Getting off first is better. First class service and food is generally better than coach. I know I have been in both. In first the seat is wider, thats better. There is ussually more leg room. That is better. I meet more interesting people in first. The conversations with my seat mates seems to be better. We can relate in many cases.

I leave you with this thought. I forgot that my kids last day of school was today. I was in Tampa this morning. My ticket do to fare was TPA-MIA-IAH-DFW. I wasn't going to be home until 6 pm. I got up early went to the airport. Asked to standby to MIA. GA said no problem, got on with the upgrade. In MIA went to the GA and asked to standby for direct to DFW. She gave me a boarding pass upgraded right then. No fees, no hassle. Being nice helped, status made it happen. Great flights, got home at 1:10 pm, went and say my kids get awards at school.

I have flown many miles on many airlines with out status. Status makes a difference, it makes my traveling and my life easier and more effective when working.

I don't care about the wine or the chocolates, some do. I care about priority checkin, boarding, upgrades, and standby.

I try and be nice. I respect everyone and want to be respected. Fly with status for a year, then without for a year, I think you will rethink some of the things that you laugh at now.

BoSoxFan45 May 24, 01 8:12 pm

Welcome to Flyertalk.

I'm a young guy, and I love, love, love, love my elite status. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif

I think it's great. We get treated like crap so often in life nowadays, that sometimes it's nice to feel special. When a company makes me feel special, well, that's fabulous. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif

I like flying in larger seats, being first off, having a shorter line, being upgraded to huge suites, etc. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif It doesn't make me a bad person to like such things.

Maybe it's just that I grew up without such luxuries, and only in my wildest fantasies would I experience such things, so I don't take these things for granted.

I don't know why, but flying first class for $200, then getting a huge suite at a free stay at a super hotel makes me feel special, and makes me feel good. I wouldn't pay the $1800 a night they sell that room for, nor the $2800 they sell the ticket for, but my elite status allows me to experience things I never dreamed I would be able to. I feel like Cinderella, and so long as my travel companies of choice continue to do so, they'll not only get my substantial business, but the business of many of the 4 or 5 people a month who ask me for travel advice. And they'll likely get the business of the people who ask those for advice as well.

So far as your comments about other businesses not giving better service to its better customers, what planet are you from? Have you been to a sporting event in America in the last 10 years? High-ticket businesses treat their best customers better than others. At least the smart ones do. You also appparently haven't followed American politics for the last 30 years. You have a prime example that just moved from your hometown to a larger residence in large part because of how he treats his "high rollers". http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/wink.gif

Sorry, but I own a business. While every customer is valuable beyond words, if you give me $150,000 of business a year, you can be sure you will treated with more attention that if you give me $150 a year of business. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

Finally, to whoever posted about company paid elite members, I offer this. I used to be a company-paid member, and now fund my own travel, and my tune has not changed.
When my old company would send me somewhere for a week, I chose what airline I flew, and what hotel I stayed in. More to the point, it was my butt in the seat for those 60,000 miles last year, and my family which paid the price for spending 80 plus nights on the road last year - not my old bosses.

Not only that, but the reasons road warriors get sent places are generally one of two (and often both).

A) They have special skills.

B) They are doing work that someone above them doesn't want to do, often because of the travel involved.



[This message has been edited by BoSoxFan45 (edited 05-24-2001).]

Punki May 24, 01 8:58 pm

I hold top status on two airlines and two hotel chains. I always get upgraded and I love it, love it, love it. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif

In order to achieve this, I play all the cards:

1. Earn top status--the hard way,
2. Be as charming as possible,
3. Dress nicely (look like somebody upgradeable),
4. Make as many travel friends as possible,
5. Make people laugh and feel happy,
6. Say please, thank you, m'mam and sir,
7. Return favors with thanks and small gifts,
8. Address people by name and ask them questions that make them feel very smart (they are),
9. Smile until you all feel good, and
10. If after you do all that you still don't get an upgrade, smile even bigger and say, "So, do you all happen to have any upgrades today (night)?"

In Vancouver last week at the Westin Grand (after accomplishing #10) the clerk said, "What do you mean?" I replied, "Oh, I thought it was the policy to offer the best available suite to Platinums". She said, "Oh goodness, your status isn't listed. What is your number?"

When I rattled it off, she said, "Wow, I am impressed. Just a minute. Oh yes, Mrs. P., we have a deluxe king suite available, just let me make you new keys".

The true elitist makes everyone around her/him feel elite as well.

I learned this from the people who import beer into Zurich. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/biggrin.gif



pynchonesque May 24, 01 9:44 pm

Punki, excellent post. Never underestimate the power of making people smile.

duplojohn May 24, 01 11:03 pm

Whats status mean?

mudgal May 24, 01 11:17 pm


Originally posted by BoSoxFan45:
. . .flying first class for $200 . . .
I've been reading these boards for a few months now; this is at least the second time someone has posted this F tix for $200. I still don't get how . . . ????????????

(and speaking of BoSox -- too bad they couldn't get ahead of NY these last 2 nights!)


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Rudi May 25, 01 5:20 am

many special discounted (example: weekend fares) return-trips in eco don't cost over $200 and can be upgraded with vouchers or miles to first-class (on two-class-flights).


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