There’s been an ongoing debate on several blogs over ‘who gets the upgrade’ when traveling with your spouse or significant other and only one of you clears into the forward cabin. See, for example, this post over at Deals We Like where her husband makes a guest post appearance. They were planning to split time in the one upgraded seat, but all he got was an ice cream sundae in coach.
Reader Pat B. e-mails me to relay a recent story where he gave up his upgraded seat to his travel companion, and apparently the flight attendants were just in awe, their sense being this sort of chivalry never happens, and fawned over him throughout the flight bringing him complimentary drinks, a warm cookie, and gave the couple of bottle of wine from the flight on deplaning.
I’ve been rather struck by all of the back-and-forth over who gets the upgrade, the heavy traveling spouse who earned the upgrade and spends so much time in planes, the one who ‘needs it more’ by whatever measure of physical maladies or height, a chivalry rule, or whatnot.
To me, it seems really simple. While my inclination would be to offer the one upgraded seat to my wife, admittedly my take My take is perhaps inspired by Captain Kirk’s ingenious solution to the Kobayashi Maru scenario, there are two things I know to be true:
- It’s not actually ok for my wife and I to be in separate cabins. We need to be seated together more than we need to be in an upgraded cabin, so one upgraded seat would go to the person sitting next to the other in coach.
- However #1 never actually happens, because it is very important that both of us are upgraded. So I make sure that we are on flights where the upgrades are either confirmable or where clearance is assured.
Now, I’m not really that strident. I do actually fly plenty of coach, US Airways has tons of short-haul non-stop service that’s convenient for me and I’m not a US Airways elite, I’ll fly up and down the East Coast in coach without complaint. Although now that british midland is being sold I may no longer care to credit those US Airways flights to Diamond Club, and now that US Airways is ramping up service at Washington National and adding first class into their regional jets I may want a bit of US Airways status..
If you’re traveling with a significant other, and only one of you is upgraded, do you take the seat? Do you give it to your travel companion? Do you decide to sit together in back? Does it matter how long the flight is?