Part of my daily routine is to read through what “The Economist” has to offer, apart from their magazine, I do enjoy Gulliver quite a fair bit, and their most recent article invoked my memory of Ms Buddha and my first and only upgrade we’ve received so far in our years of travel.
The article in question was the “Don’t ask, don’t get” which explores whether empty premium seats should be offered to economy passengers and at the same time, whether it’s fair to the people who paid for those premium seating beforehand.
In my opinion, there are two ways of looking at this, firstly, it is only fair for an airline to upgrade their higher tiered frequent travelers, and in the absence of these travelers, I also think it is worth shot to upgrade non-elite members in the hope that the experience will make them pay for the extra comfort in the future, a strategy which has worked wonders for Cathay if you’re talking about Ms Buddha and I.
This happened over 5 years ago when Ms Buddha and I were in our 20s and still in Australia; Ms Buddha and I were making our annual trip to Japan. Given that we traveled Cathay often (but not often enough to earn any substantial status) – the flight to Tokyo included a short stopover in Hong Kong.
When we checked-in from Sydney, the friendly Cathay staff did all the usual check-in routine and then when handing us the ticket, told us “both of you will be traveling business” – it surprised us a fair bit because we didn’t do anything different, didn’t ask, and I was wearing my usual shorts and T-shirt.
You can read more about the Cathay Business Class experience here, but needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves quite a fair bit, and it was also Ms Buddha’s first time in Business, so she was hooked!
Since that day, I don’t believe we’ve taken a long-haul flight where it hasn’t been business (or at least premium economy for day flights) – given my always impatient nature, I enjoy the priority baggage, lanes, check-in much more than Ms Buddha, whilst she enjoys the comfort a lot more – so it started making more and more sense for us to travel business (especially when using miles for companion tickets).
Obviously, this strategy of upgrading randoms won’t work for all customers as most will not then immediately start paying for business out of their own pockets, but whoever the lady that checked us in was, she should’ve given a big raise, because it certainly have created a lot more revenue for Cathay that may not have happened otherwise.