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Sending a drink to a passenger in coach: pretentious?

Sending a drink to a passenger in coach: pretentious?

Old Apr 17, 2023, 8:09 am
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Sending a drink to a passenger in coach: pretentious?

My wife recently ran into a neighborhood acquaintance on a flight. My wife was in first class and the acquaintance was in coach.

When drinks were served, my wife flagged down the coach flight attendant and said, “please give the passenger in Seat __ whatever she wants and here’s my credit card.” (The credit card issuer reimburses up to $X in airline incidental expenses and we never use that benefit so it cost us nothing.)

When the flight landed, my wife ran into the acquaintance and the acquaintance said, “you didn’t have to show off by sending crumbs to the beggar in coach”.

So apparently sending a drink to a passenger in coach is entitled/pretentious/whatever?
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 8:34 am
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I think this is personal and is going to always depend on the receiving person. If they took an act of kindness as bragging then I guess it is. But I think if I saw a friend on a flight and they sent me a drink I would think it was nice. But then I'm not bitter and can buy first class tickets if I really wanted to I just don't think it's worth the extra in many cases. Also, I can't help but wonder if the acquaintance was a man and it damaged his fragile ego.
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 8:46 am
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There are some really fragile egos out there, but that’s not always why some people may respond like that.

Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler
My wife recently ran into a neighborhood acquaintance on a flight. My wife was in first class and the acquaintance was in coach.

When drinks were served, my wife flagged down the coach flight attendant and said, “please give the passenger in Seat __ whatever she wants and here’s my credit card.” (The credit card issuer reimburses up to $X in airline incidental expenses and we never use that benefit so it cost us nothing.)

When the flight landed, my wife ran into the acquaintance and the acquaintance said, “you didn’t have to show off by sending crumbs to the beggar in coach”.

So apparently sending a drink to a passenger in coach is entitled/pretentious/whatever?
What was the wife’s and your response to the comment? A friendly explanation should ordinarily work with people who even may respond like that acquaintance did.

When I am to give my hotel amenity credits to cover some or all of the food/drink bill of someone with whom I have been chatting but who isn’t a close enough acquaintance for me to know their general disposition, I try to explain upfront that I have an unused credit/coupon that expires if not used so would they let me use the credits/coupons before the credits go to waste. If the acquaintances understand what is being said, then it works out and the chances of it leading to friction drop. Amusingly, I’ve also had some offer to pay me cash to use the credits, and then I have to re-explain that the hotel/bank/whatever is paying so they don’t need to worry about reimbursing me since it’s not coming out of anyone’s pocket but the hotel/bank/whatever.
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 9:01 am
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Thanks. My wife was startled and offended and I’m not sure what she said other than “so nice to see you.”
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 9:51 am
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This one is somewhat subjective based on how you define acquaintance.

I'm thinking of my own neighbors, I'm not particularly close to any of them and if I saw them on a flight we'd likely head nod as acquaintances but I can see how sending a drink to them could be perceived as trying to show off even if it wasn't intended that way. A neighborhood acquaintance likely doesn't know how much I travel and doesn't know that most of the time I'm in FC because of free upgrades or earned upgrades -- aka RSUs/PPs/etc.

On the flip side if I saw a close friend (or close acquaintance) on a flight and sent a drink back, it would be welcome because there's a more personal relationship and both parties know that you're just spreading the wealth and helping to save the friend in coach a few bucks on having to buy a drink themselves.
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 10:00 am
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Of course, one does not have to be traveling in First Class to offer to buy a drink for (another) passenger in Coach.

Perhaps if the recipient had been informed (in advance?) that the cost of the drink was covered by credit-card credits that the wife does not otherwise use, the recipient's reaction would have been different. Or maybe not.
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Last edited by guv1976; Apr 17, 2023 at 10:50 am
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 2:54 pm
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ignore the fact that you're in an airplane. the *unsolicited* offer of free good to a specific person (vs, say, an entire bar) does make it awkward on the receiver.

if i spotted my neighbor across the room at the cafe, and later he (silently) offered to pay for my breakfast... that is indeed a weird gesture. even if we're on same 'footing' at the cafe.
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 3:16 pm
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I took that as a joke from the coach passenger to your wife
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 4:29 pm
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I wouldn't think anything about it....I'd appreciate the drink. My friends and I know the game - we've all been on both ends of an F upgrade list. No one would think it pretentious....it's not much different than the guy who had the best night at the craps table buying the first round of drinks at the bar.

The only concern I'd have with doing it is logistics...sort of an awkward/unusual request to make of the FA in F, and he/she probably has to go communicate with an FA somewhere in Y and hopefully get the message to the right place, with your credit card, and then get your credit card back to you. A lot of work for a drink.
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 6:11 pm
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Sending a drink is purely the prerogative of the sender. Whether someone chooses to accept it is purely the prerogative is the recipient.

I wouldn’t attach any significance either way.

(And I would never bother to put this on a post to FT.)
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Allan38103
Sending a drink is purely the prerogative of the sender. Whether someone chooses to accept it is purely the prerogative is the recipient.

I wouldn’t attach any significance either way.

(And I would never bother to put this on a post to FT.)
You aren't the OP, tho. Presumably he did have his reasons for putting it here.
I agree with pinniped upthread, it was probably more hassle for the FAs than it was worth. I think the situation could have been handled more smoothly if your wife had explained that she wanted to use up some coupons that would otherwise go to waste, after the comment about sending "crumbs" back to Y. That was a hella rude comment, btw. If someone buys you a drink, just say thank you and be done with it. It probably was a joke, but a pretty bad one, IMO.
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 7:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Allan38103
Sending a drink is purely the prerogative of the sender. Whether someone chooses to accept it is purely the prerogative is the recipient.

I wouldn’t attach any significance either way.

(And I would never bother to put this on a post to FT.)
+10000000
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Old Apr 17, 2023, 9:26 pm
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Prefacing that I’m not an American- it would feel a bit weird from my point of view!!
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Old Apr 18, 2023, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by nancypants
Prefacing that I’m not an American- it would feel a bit weird from my point of view!!
Prefacing that I'm also not an American - and humour here can be a lot sharper/more brutal and often doesn't translate well across the Atlantic - if I did this to a friend in economy it would explicitly and only be because I was taking the pee out of me being up front and them down back - nothing nice about it at all! I would fully expect it to be taken as such, and I would fully expect the sort of comment that OP describes in return... all of which would be in good humour and with a laugh.
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Old Apr 18, 2023, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler
My wife recently ran into a neighborhood acquaintance on a flight. My wife was in first class and the acquaintance was in coach.

When drinks were served, my wife flagged down the coach flight attendant and said, “please give the passenger in Seat __ whatever she wants and here’s my credit card.” (The credit card issuer reimburses up to $X in airline incidental expenses and we never use that benefit so it cost us nothing.)

When the flight landed, my wife ran into the acquaintance and the acquaintance said, “you didn’t have to show off by sending crumbs to the beggar in coach”.

So apparently sending a drink to a passenger in coach is entitled/pretentious/whatever?
Clearly, she has class issues.

I’ve had patients buy me a drink at several restaurants over the years and was completely surprised. And gracious. She’s got issues in her head.

Had I been in your/her shoes, I would’ve responded, “what are you, an .......? The proper response is thank you.” Also note, I didn’t call her an ....... but asked a reasonable question.
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