Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I don't really listen to most Flight Attendant announcements.
Yes, I'm interested in whether the plane will be three hours late, diverting via Albuquerque or the pilot's name is Forrest Gump.
No, I simply don't hear the stuff about food or those painfully exciting credit card offers.
Recently, United Airlines made it compulsory for its Flight Attendants to peddle fancy credit cards that can cost up to $450.
Other airlines have been doing it for some time. American, for example.
Yet I hear barely muffled noises from the cognoscenti that Flight Attendants may not be as conscientious in relaying the details of these cards.
A thread from View From the Wing's Twitter feed offers a tinge of the suspicions some flyers experience about what they're being told.
Or, rather, sold.
Flight attendant promised everyone who signed up for the credit card 'group 1 boarding' my seat opponent applied. 60k is still a good offer tho..-- gary leff (@garyleff) August 13, 2018
Flight Attendants are incentivized -- usually it's $100 -- to sell these things.
Ergo, some accuse, they make the benefits sound a touch more enticing than they are.
Some might promise that the free miles that come with the card will take you further than they will.
Or, perhaps, only if you make five stops and take three days to get to your exotic destination.
Some might hint at boarding benefits that aren't, well, entirely accurate.
I asked American whether the airline has received many complaints from passengers about the sales tactics an occasional Flight Attendant might employ.
The airline demurred.
I asked, however, about the specific subject -- that seems to have made Leff chuckle -- of a Group 1 boarding promise.
Is it really the case that anyone who gets a fancy credit card will board with "First, Active duty U.S. military with military I.D. (Business on a 2-class international plane)"?
An American Airlines spokesman told me:
Today's Group 5, which comes with the card, is the same as Group 1 under our previous boarding system. We always try to make sure Flight Attendants use the most current information in describing the cards.
In fact, therefore, if you get the card you'll board with "Main Cabin Extra (excluding Basic Economy), eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers, eligible corporate travelers."
Which isn't quite so fancy.
Should one really blame any Flight Attendants who gild the sales lily a touch?
They used to be focused on customer service. Then they were turned into law enforcement officers. And now they're supposed to double-up as salespeople.
You'll always find one or two unscrupulous types.
Imagine, after all, how many unscrupulous types you'll find sitting in First Class.
It's touching that they might occasionally get some of their own techniques tossed back at them.
And that one or two might not see through it.