How to get what you want on a flight

How to get what you want on a flight

You don’t have to be a drama king or queen to get what you want on a flight—it’s easier than you think. Sit back, relax and enjoy your flight with these expert tips.

How to get what you want on a flight
How to get what you want on a flight

Customer service: The chief purser

  • Airlines want you to have a pleasant flight—not because they care about you, but because they don’t want you ruining the flight for everyone else. They don’t want any part of bad word of mouth.
  • So how does this help you? Once you’re on the plane and once the plane is in the air, it becomes a thousand percent easier to get what you want. Bad seat? Noisy neighbour? The person known as the chief purser can handle these annoyances.
  • The pilot may be the one flying the plane, but the chief purser is the person running all the other aspects of the flight. Get the chief purser’s attention—it’s his or her job to make sure you’re happy.

Have a horrible experience at the gate?

  • Let the chief purser know. He may offer you a free drink or food from the first-class menu. He might even offer you an upgrade into first class.
  • “It’s important to speak with reason and not look like an air rage customer,” one former chief purser said. The longer the flight, the better chance you have of getting moved into first class or business class. (Having an angry customer on board for a two-hour flight is annoying, but having an angry customer for a 14-hour overseas flight is a nightmare for the chief purser.)
  • Ask nicely, explain your situation and don’t be surprised if you end up with more legroom and a filet mignon.

Don’t like your seat?

  • Have you ever been stuck with a bad airline seat? Maybe it’s next to the bathroom, a screaming baby or a particularly chatty seatmate. How can you escape?
  • “Accidentally” spill something onto your seat. As long as there’s another open seat somewhere on the plane, you’ll be moved.
  • If you don’t want to do this, complain about something—anything—that is wrong with your seat. Maybe the headphone jack is loose, or the tray table is shaky. Complain nicely and the flight staff will do their best to accommodate you.

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