Cheating On Your Airline

 

There’s a reason that I prefer American Airlines. Several actually, including the nicer terminal in San Antonio and the Dallas hub being only a 40 minute fight away. But when other people are footing the bill, I don’t have much control over which airline I’m flying. Which is why I recently found myself on a Delta flight, feeling a little like a cheating lover . . .

At American, it’s comfortably familiar. I have all my frequent flier perks, my free checked bags and such, and I know what I’m getting. Everything from the boarding procedure to how they like to reunite me with my case full of guns is a known quantity, a routine that I fall back into again and again. It’s pretty safe to say that I’m in a long term relationship with American, and I’ve become used to their ways. But on the other hand, there’s always that nagging feeling that you’re missing out on something at another airline — that you might do better by playing the field.

As I rolled my gun case into the old terminal at San Antonio, I was subconsciously happy that I didn’t have to walk past the American check-in counter. Even though I don’t fly nearly enough to be recognized or anything like that, for some reason I felt that I needed to sneak into the airport. I kept my head down as I walked through the terminal, planes rolling past on the other side of the glass in American livery.

Once on board the Delta plane, it was like the Gods of the skies knew that I wasn’t a loyal Delta customer. I was trapped  the window seat, gigantic occupant of the middle seat overflowing over the arm rest and squishing me against the wall, while deep in conversation t he guy on the aisle about something which I had absolutely no interest but due to the volume was forced to listen to. And the flight attendants seemed to ignore me, skipping over my row when the drinks cart rolled past.

The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, but the reality is often much different. I was glad to  done with that trip.

As I write this, I’m halfway through my next trip — back on American. Back in the Admiral’s Club in Dallas. Back in the familiar embrace that I’ve come to know so well. And while I know that there’s no way for the gal checking people into the club to know that only a week ago I was flying on their competitor’s airline, I still half expected to “get caught,” or at least have her give me a knowing wink.

I guess hat’s how you know their “customer loyalty program” is working…

Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is an instrument rated private pilot (ASEL), writer, and general techy nerd living in Austin, Texas.

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