“Lucky You!” First Class Discrimination or Pleasantry?

a woman sitting in a chair

Last week an actress tweeted her unhappiness about her experience at the airport.

a screenshot of a social media post
image via NY Daily News

Danielle Brooks, who stars in Orange is the New Black, was rather put out by the agent’s comment that she was “lucky” to be flying in first class. And many of her followers immediately assumed discrimination or racism.

I wasn’t there, I have no idea what the full context was, but a remark like that isn’t that surprising. I’ve many situations where the airline, hotel, or rental car agent was surprised, perhaps even a little skeptical of my elite status based on my appearance.

In one memorable encounter renting a car as Avis Chairman, the representative actually blurted out “But you don’t look old enough to be a Chairman!”

And let’s face it. I probably didn’t. I don’t always dress like a business professional and when I’m really excited I look 12 years old. 🙂

I’ve also had plenty of friendly agents who recognize that an upgrade or better seat is a happy thing and not most people’s travel experience. When I get the “lucky you” response, I assume good faith, agreeing that the flight will indeed be better, sometimes even comparing notes on the best upgrade or worse seat experience.

The only time I get annoyed by passenger profiling is when it’s done by other passengers. Those few folks who try to push by me in the boarding queue every time because they assume I’m not one of those eligible to board first. But even then, it is what it is.

What’s been your most memorable “lucky you” experience?

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  1. Serious Q: Do You think that’s perhaps exacerbated by the fact you’re a woman? I’m a male in my early 30s, fly business a lot, priority boarding, etc., and have never experienced such patronizing. I usually dress in jeans and a polo…nothing that screams “business”.

  2. When I was flying through dubai otw back from Athens to dfw on Emirates biz. I stayed at Hilton Creek Dubai, at check-in they upgraded me to a king suite! The front service desk rep said , you’ll enjoy this room, we’ve upgraded you to a bigger room lol!

  3. I work for an airline, I say ‘lucky you’ when boarding quite often, sometimes without even looking up at their face and seeing the color of their skin so the racism crap needs to go away! We say it because we know how many pets, children and infants we have on that flight and it will be much quieter and more comfortable up front. Nothing more.

  4. i don’t understand the fragile psyche of people here, they are saying this is a wonderful, peace loving earth village & you can achieve anything you want on one hand, on the other they have the weakest mentality and low tolerance for others and low esteem for one’s self. why otherwise would you be so easily offended by fellow citizens and turned a blind eye to illegal foreigners? They’ve never been to other countries, or been just for sights and food and not learning their culture. In many parts of the world, the life may not be as affluent, material as here, but people have strong confidence and esteem without even trying for it. On my freshman year in high school, punishment by spanking in front of while class is common, yet no one (including me) suffers any mental damage. bad behavior need to be straightened up, not to be ignored in order to save your ‘face’.

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