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Posts Tagged ‘discretion’

I’ve alluded to a couple of people we encountered during our trip, a rather officious airline steward and an unemployed guy on his way to the Gulf for a job with an environmental cleanup company. Then there was the super nice stewardess and a couple of friendly airline agents. I’ll get to them later, but first let me tell you about my traveling companion.

He is a seasoned traveler who racks up miles measured in round trips to the moon. And he isn’t bashful about using those miles to upgrade his status from cattle car to first class. He lives by a simple rule: if you don’t ask, you won’t get. And, boy, does he ask. This was my first trip with him and I had a front row seat as he took me, a cattle car rider, with him to the front of the line and even into business class.

His modus operandi was simple. He’d approach a ticket agent or a gate attendant, point to me, and say something like, “He’s with me,” and lo and behold, the agent would wave me through. This guy was a pleasure to travel with and a wonder to watch. He was smooth, no question about it.

He was the one with a large Number 1 on his ticket, meaning he was in Boarding Group 1 while I was in Boarding Group 4. Boarding Group 1’s disdainfully saunter on board ahead of the slavering cattle jostling for a spot at the head of the Number 4 line. By the time the Number 4’s manage to reach the interior of the airplane, Number 1’s are comfortably ensconced in the front section of the plane, in business or first class, depending on the number of miles they chose to expend.

My Friend the Number 1 always managed two things on my behalf, a good seat in the cattle section and an early entry on board the plane. He is a miracle worker, and for that I am grateful. As a mid-novice traveler, I would have wandered around until someone had pity on me and led me to the plane, which I would have boarded dead last.

The first member of the cabin crew I came into contact with was the somewhat officious chief steward in the business class. The moment he set eyes on me, he seemed to bristle. I could almost see the testosterone shine on his forehead. I became aware almost immediately of his self-important manner when I tried to stow my carry-on above my seat only to find that it wasn’t going to fit in the small space.

The guy stood nearby watching me as I struggled. He said nothing and offered no assistance. Finally, I turned to him and said, “I can’t seem to stow this in the overhead bin”

“That’s because it’s too big,” he replied, still offering no explanation, no assistance, and no advice.

“What am I supposed to do, then?” I asked.

“Take anything out the bag you might need in flight and stow the bag back there.” He pointed to the rear of the cabin. Obviously, I was on my own.

The upshot of my contact with a guy who apparently wanted to bump shoulders in the manner of high school adolescents was avoidance. I wasn’t in the mood to call the guy on his rudeness for one simple reason. I had no desire to be escorted from the plane for causing a scene or something. Someone once said “Discretion is the better part of valor.” I was very discreet on this day.

Besides, the good stewardess I have briefly mentioned more than made up for the wicked steward’s behavior. She smiled, she offered advice, and she asked if she could do anything to make my trip a pleasant adventure. She was a joy and I am sorry I didn’t get her name and drop the company a note about her.

I’ll finish my people report in my next post. There were a couple more that caught my attention because of their friendliness.  And I  hope to describe my observations of the changes in dress and demeanor as we flew from West to East.

Okey, dokey. See ya.

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