On a plane again since February 2020

This morning, we woke up bright and early to catch a 6am flight to Albuquerque, New Mexico, via Chicago. I was curious how the experience would be both at the airport and while on the plane, and for the most part, it actually seemed pretty good. There were signs requiring mask-wearing throughout the airport, along with huge vats of hand sanitizer. Upon boarding the plane, we were handed packets of hand sanitizer wipes. And anytime someone was not eating or drinking and had their mask down, a flight attendant was quick to remind the passenger that it was a federal aviation requirement that they needed to have their mask covering both their nostrils and mouth at all times when not eating or drinking. I’d say overall, it was well done.

While the in-flight experience was good, I would say that the pandemic period created a bit of memory loss when it comes to quality customer service for the gate agents. I was on the upgrade list to get to ABQ, and when I walked up to the desk, I asked about the wait list for the first-class upgrades. The agent was really curt and rude, saying that first had already checked in full. I told her I was on the upgrade list, and she said I wasn’t on the list. WHAT!!! She didn’t even know my identity before claiming that I wasn’t on the list! Eventually, I did get upgraded, and I did not thank her when she handed me my new boarding pass. Her crappy service did not deserve thanks.

I felt like I was having a futile and insipid argument with a United flight attendant, except this time, I was having a difficult time with an American Airlines gate agent who failed to recognize my Executive Platinum status and likely drew quick judgments about me merely because of what I looked like. I find it very unlikely that she would have treated me that way if I were a middle-aged or white-haired White man.

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