Why elite status works

I suppose I’ve been a little spoiled over the last few years, flying almost exclusively on one airline and all. After reaching a certain threshold of miles, I’ve been upgraded to first class on 90% of my domestic flights, while the other 10% I’ve spent in either a bulkhead or an exit row seat. It was a novelty at first, but after a dozen or so legs I’ve sort of become used to it.

In that light, I suppose its also good that I’m reminded of my benefits once in a while. On last minute work out in Orange County, I suddenly had to book a flight from New York City to Los Angeles leaving next Monday, the 17th. With such short notice, I wasn’t able to book a competitive flight on my preferred carrier and was forced to book on another, less optimum airline. My seat on the way to Los Angeles? 44B. Back of the plane, center seat. No free alcohol, meals or goodies for me this time.

And this is why people have allegiances to airlines. Many will gladly pay an extra twenty or a hundred bucks to fly on their preferred carrier because they know how they’re going to be treated, where they’re going to sit and what they’re going to get. It’s a crafty marketing strategy created by the travel industry that ropes poor bastards like myself in — and keeps us there.

If you’re interested in subscribing to elite status this year, be sure to check out Gadling’s Guide to Mileage Running.