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Paying vs Freq Flier customers treated differently?

Paying vs Freq Flier customers treated differently?

Old Sep 1st, 2002, 10:49 AM
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Paying vs Freq Flier customers treated differently?

Hi. I've heard that the flight attendants have a manifest that lists which passengers are traveling for free vs paying. Has anyone been treated differently based on this? Also with the check-in personnel. Would they be more likely to give someone a better seat if they are on miles or paying? All other things being equal, of course. Thanks
p.s. I'm not taking about "regulars" who have zillions of miles and the airline crews know them, I'm referring to occasional fliers who travel on miles once in a blue moon.
Old Sep 1st, 2002, 11:07 AM
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From what I have seen, it makes no difference whatsoever if you are flying coach. It does make a difference in business and 1st class. There they take care of the full fare paying customers or those on some type of elite status first, for example in giving meal choices. To me, that is understandable as these are their "best" customers.
Old Sep 2nd, 2002, 10:36 AM
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When I worked as an airline employee, my experience was that the flight attendants used the manifest to see who was flying non-revenue (usually airline employees or their families) more than they did to see who was flying using miles. When I was flying non-rev they knew it and were usually pleasant and collegial, but knew they didn't have to try as hard to please me as they did paying passengers, esp. when I was flying free in First. Once I was flying non-rev and ended up being the only person in First, and the FAs sort of did their own thing and left me alone, which was totally fine -- but I know that if they hadn't seen on the manifest that I was non-rev, they would have been smothering me with service.

Unless you are Platinum or Elite or whatever, I doubt they will treat you any differently when travelling on miles than when travelling as a paying customer.
Old Sep 3rd, 2002, 03:43 AM
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If anything, people flying on FF miles should be treated *better*. Remember how they GOT those tickets -- they usually either ARE or are close to someone who flies a lot.
Old Sep 3rd, 2002, 08:05 AM
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I've sure noticed the difference, esp. in one episode at Gatwick. We were late from CDG through no fault of our own (baggage handlers' strike), flying on American awards connecting from BA to AA. We rushed breathlessly to the AA counter with less than 40 min. to make the connection (before 9/11), and the AA staff made a point of noting that we were flying on miles -- cranking out endless questions about whose miles they were (my husbands'), where he had flown to get them, how long it had taken him to collect them, was he Gold or Platinum (you'd think that would have been on the manifest) -- No? well, too bad, we were the last people to check in and there were no guarantees about making the connection, etc. etc. All that harangue ate up even more time, and we would definitely have missed the flight if a Delta employee hadn't taken pity on us (learned about the situation from Delta passenger behind us in line for metal detector passthrough) and used her "fast pass" to get us to the head of the line and out to the gate.

I was infuriated because the AA agents insisted they had no way to help us, tough tough tough on us, but the Delta employee said everyone has a "fast past" to help passengers caught in a bind.

It was clear that had we not been flying on miles awards, we would have been treated at least a little better.
Old Sep 4th, 2002, 11:57 AM
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Interesting responses, thanks!
Old Sep 4th, 2002, 12:21 PM
J Correa
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I haven't noticed a difference when flying using FF miles or money, but I have noticed a difference when my FF account was upgraded to premier status after I flew so many miles in a period of time - I used to fly to Japan for work so you rack up miles pretty quickly.

Now when I call the airline they are so much nicer to me, no hurry to get to the next customer, much more pleasant, and so on. They even mention something about "Oh, I see you have premier status". At the counter too. Last time I flew with my husband, I noticed that my boarding pass was even a different color from his and said "premier" on it.

Old Sep 11th, 2002, 04:32 PM
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I flew several flights on business and first class using FF miles and was treated exactly the same as everyone else.

I think its on the ground that you get less respect!
Old Sep 12th, 2002, 05:11 PM
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abc - you are correct that the flight attendants (at least on AA)have a manifest which identifies passengers and indicates their frequent flyer status, whether the passenger belongs to the airline's club lounge, whether the passenger is a million + miler and whether the passenger is travelling on a free ticket (or in the case of business/first class has upgraded or paid for that class of service). However, in my experience I have never seen anyone treated any differently because they upgraded or because they were travelling on a free ticket (although not exactly free since as someone said they had to earn those miles with previously purchased tickets). With respect to meal choices, planning in advance with seat assignments and knowing how the meal orders are taken can assure one of getting their desired meal choice. On this issue, it seems that the airlines are no longer taking special meal requests (as they once did) unless the passenger has a dietary or religious need.
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