A communication consultant I've known for years, a good guy and a moderate liberal, grouses that despite his status as a million-mile flyer with United Airlines, he gets stuck in the middle seat on the back of the plane.
Well, United sucks like a bucket of ticks, so argument there.
But I've always been troubled by the sense of entitlement that people who fly a lot feel, just for flying a lot. Granted, the airlines encouraged this sense, by inventing the term "Frequent Flier" and flogging it as if it implies some social virtue, like "Hard Worker," or "Straight Shooter."
But really, all "Frequent Flier" means is either that you are rich and able to fly around a lot, or that you have to travel a lot for your work.
But here's what it also means (everywhere but United, apparently): You get priority over "infrequent fliers." (They ought to have a catchy name too. Let's call them, "Rare Birds.")
You get to zip past them at the check-in counter and you get the best seats on the plane.
And who are the Rare Birds? By and large, they are people who live a more modest existence than the Frequent Flier—they don't have money for lots of vacations, and they hold local jobs in a global economy.
I'm not asking Frequent Fliers to feel sorry for the Rare Birds. I'm not even asking them to stop feeling sorry for themselves. (I hate business travel and am grateful I don't have to do it often.)
I'm just asking why they think the Chicago shlub who saved a few hundred bucks to go visit his cousin in Pittsburgh should be stuck in the middle seat instead of them?