I was talking to a friend the other day about her upcoming holiday. “We only booked economy, but we’re hoping for an upgrade” she said. Because the lady concerned is a good friend, and I didn’t want to offend or insult her, I just smiled. What I really wanted to point out was that she clearly didn’t want to travel Business Class badly enough.
There are a couple of implications of this kind of behaviour which apply to much more in life than just airline transport. The first is that you have no control over your outcome, and could be relying on someone else to deliver the positive outcome that you desire. This is depending on luck to go your way (and it often doesn’t). You turn up at the airport counter with your fingers and everything else crossed, looking forward to a little extra comfort on your 26 hour flight to London, and find yourself sitting next to a front row forward AND his three children in the middle section of Row 75, By the way your seat is between him and his kids.
If the more comfortable option is important enough to you, there is a simple solution – you just pay. You take control of the outcome, decide what it is that you really want, and take a positive step towards securing it. There is a middle road, apply for the upgrade using points beforehand (if you have any), then hope it all works out. Or you do nothing at all and just hope your winning smile, polite demeanour and Lady Luck get you over the line, but how often do you think that happens? The chances of an upgrade have been quoted for Qantas for example at about 0.5% That means every 200 times you “hope” for an upgrade, you might get one, if you’re lucky.
The second implication is that most people when “hoping” for an upgrade are really looking for a “free” upgrade, that is they don’t want to have to do anything to get it. You can go to the web and find a number of sites which will give you tips on how to maximise the likelihood of an “op-up” (airline speak for an at the counter upgrade), I have no idea whether these tips work, but 10 to 1 my friend hadn’t even looked. So if your desired outcome, your “upgrade” is less important to you than being prepared to pay for it, at least take the time to do your research, see what if anything you can do to maximise the likelihood of your desired outcome, then take some steps.
The third implication is that you are entitled to enjoy for free the outcome that someone else was prepared to pay for. There exists in society a sense of entitlement, often touted as egalitarianism, which implies that we are all equal, and by inference therefore all entitled to the same outcome. As a proud fifth generation son of coal miners, (the digging kind, not the owning kind), I passionately believe that we are all entitled to the same opportunities regardless of our parentage, socio-economic background, ethnicity or gender. This does not mean that those who choose not to pursue their opportunities are entitled to receive equal benefits to those who are. Put another way, perhaps the reason someone else is enjoying a choice of fine wines, gourmet food, linen tablecloths and real cutlery is because they were prepared to pay for it, or they wanted it more badly than you did.
So, I am prepared to offer you an upgrade to your financial flight, but it won’t come for free. You will need to DO something (that’s right, decide what you want and take some steps to achieve it), you will need to PAY (only a little over a long period of time), and you will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your flight. I look forward to sharing the journey with you. Or you could spend the next few years hoping, and working on those 200 flights.
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