Elite Status


I fly quite a bit and most of my flights are long ones so each year I qualify for Aeroplan Elite status — usually with the last flight of the year. So I am ‘Elite’ but just barely. This gives me a chance to observe people who travel a lot more than me and who generally have a lot more money than me.

One thing I’ve observed is that people with Super Elite status — mostly corporate executives and high-flying politicians or rich retirees — are pretty much helpless rude losers. They may — I wait to be convinced — be super achievers in their business or private life but, when they get to the airport, they are pathetic.

They are the first to find the priority line — which I generally only use when I have a lot of luggage — but once they arrive at the service desk, you would think they had never been at an airport before. They root around in their bags looking for their passport or their flight itinerary and look dumbfounded when asked a question. But their own questions are seemingly endless and most of them, I’m pretty sure, have nothing to do with getting their boarding pass. And watching them go through security is just pathetic (I’m pretty sure the Nexus pass was designed to save airport staff time rather than the passengers.)

What is with that? I expect that they are too important to actually manage their own affairs. Their staff make their appointments for them and then make sure they get there on time. If they screw up, someone else will surely fix the problem. They don’t do their own taxes but instead pay large sums to accountants to help them avoid them. False economies mean nothing to people who are flush with cash.

So I wasn’t surprised to find out that rich people are ruder than the rest of us. It fits pretty well with my own observations. I generally get to upgrade my seat to business class two or three times a year — a nice reward when my flight is scheduled to arrive home at 1am — and so I get to see these people in action. They are often surly and demanding with the flight staff. On occasion, there are people who need to get off the plane to make a tight connection. Despite pleas from the attendants to stay seated to let those people pass, at least one guy in business class will leap to his feet and then take his own sweet time to get his gear together. You can see the contempt and rage on their faces when the poor sod from the back of the bus asks them to move aside.

And, of course, you can’t help but hear their conversations with each other — it’s all about money and privilege and right wing politics.

The next time one of them says to me — as a few have — that they think having to pay higher taxes is class warfare, I’ll be tempted to explain: Taxes are what you pay to avoid class warfare; class warfare is when they push your sorry ass against the wall and shoot you.

But that’s ten cantankerous minutes.


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