Friday, December 8


Is It Wrong To Leave Girlfriend’s Parents In Coach When You Upgrade To First Class?

In travel, like in life, you can be happy for other people when they get to experience something you don’t and it costs you nothing or you can be bitter and resentful. You don’t even have to be happy! Just be indifferent!

Or, like the parents of one man’s girlfriend, you can resent that your daughter gets to travel first class while you’re stuck in coach. The boyfriend shares the story of how he surprised his girlfriend with international first class tickets on a trip they were taking with her parents. He paid their way, the parents bought their own travel.

  • He was an NCAA Division II Tight End. He’s a big guy. He values the extra space of premium cabins more than most. He travels a lot for work. They buy coach, but he often upgrades, and he “make[s] a decent enough living.”
  • They were taking a 7 hour flight. He told everyone he’d paid for tickets for himself and his girlfriend in business class, and her parents purchased economy. Everyone was good with this.
  • Since his girlfriend had never had the opportunity to fly first class, he managed to confirm an upgrade from business to first.

So we get to the airport and when the first class passengers are called, I looked at my girlfriend and told her “let’s go”. She said they didn’t call our cabin yet, and I told her to look closer at her boarding pass, she looks and is stunned.

Her father “just laughs and shakes his head,” while her mother “is stunned but doesn’t look happy.” They loved first class and the girlfriend gushed over it “again and again.” Her only regret was that she hadn’t “dress[ed] more bougie.” (While you should dress comfortably and modestly, you don’t need to dress up to act the part.)

At the end of the flight, things took a turn for the worse because her mother was angry.

She said how could you leave [them] to rot in coach while we live it up in first. ..[H]e said he slept the whole way [and said] he’d have left us too if he had the money.

[She] said we should all go first together or not at all, that it isn’t really fair or a good look to have two parties be in different classes like that.

His girlfriend’s mother said he should have paid to upgrade everyone rather than invest in first class for the two of them. And that spoiled the experience for his girlfriend, who decided that he “should have saved it for a private trip for the two of [themm] rather than with her parents.” Let’s be clear:

  • This wasn’t selfish, it was done for his girlfriend. The parents should be happy for their daughter!
  • They were going to be in a different class of service anyway – business versus coach – so what difference does it make if the couple enjoy first class instead?

You shouldn’t wish discomfort on anyone, and should be happy that anyone you ostensibly care about can escape coach. Leave an expectation for ‘solidarity’ (shared misery) to the French.

At the end of the day, be happy for anyone who upgrades when it isn’t taking an upgrade away from you.

(HT: Paul H)


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