Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Airlines have one goal.
Fill every seat on the plane and charge as much as you can for each seat.
So when it comes to upgrades, it's easy to assume that the only way to get one is to attempt to wield your status or offer your miles.
But what about your guile?
A Flight Attendant for a large U.S. airline just gave an interview to Vice, in which she revealed some of the truths of flying.
Please assume the brace position.
This Flight Attendant said that if you're on a plane on which there are some empty seats, it's still possible to get upgraded.
Personally, I've seen Flight Attendants crabbily insist that a self-upgrading passenger pays whatever cost the upgrade would entail.
Which, given that this is a last-minute upgrade, is often a highly inflated figure.
This Flight Attendant, however, suggested something different.
"Wait until you're on the plane because gate agents don't care. But once you're on and that door is closed, make sure you have something to give your flight attendants," she said.
Something? What sort of something?
"Give me candy and I'll give you whatever you want," she said. "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. We don't keep count of those mini bottles of alcohol. If there're seats open in business class, and it's not going to affect me negatively, or there are first class seats open and I can still eat my first class meal if I put you up there, I'll put you up there. As long as you're nice to me, no problem."
She also suggested Starbucks gift cards. Not many Flight Attendants are extremely well paid, you know.
She did admit that this is her personal penchant. Other Flight Attendants are, she said, on a power trip, so they adore keeping you in your place.
However, she did offer one alternative.
"You can lie and say you work for the airline," she said. "If they think you're in the biz, they might hook you up."
So there you have it. Candy, Starbucks and lies. The keys to comfort in the skies.
Entertainingly, she also offered in the interview that it doesn't matter if you don't turn your phone off for takeoff.
And as for getting up to, say, go to the restroom when the plane is taxiing, she offered a painful reaction.
"You're not allowed to get up when taxiing to the gate, but we're going three miles an hour. What's actually going to happen? I guess at some point, something had to have happened for them to have made the rule. At least, that's the bullshit excuse they gave us during training," she said.
Tell that to the Delta passenger who went to the loo just before takeoff. He was immediately reprimanded, the plane went back to the gate and he was kicked off.
Power trip, perhaps? Or perhaps he didn't have a Starbucks gift card to hand.