Members at these levels, in addition to getting bragging rights, might be offered free access to airport clubs and automatic check-in, might get fees for extra bags waived, and might be allowed to go to the front of any line — and sit in the front of the cabin — even when other travelers paid more for their tickets.Italics added. There is an important difference here. I really don't care a great deal if a 30,000-a-year flyer gets his baggage fees waived--I concede he's probably earned it, and anyway it is more or less invisible to me.
But if he gets to go to the front of the line--ah, now we are talking anger and frustration, if not resentment and rage. It's visible, and it catches me just when I am most sensitive--when I am standing still and wondering why the hell nothing is happening in front of me. If some guy I never saw before pops to the head of the queue, I am very likely to pop my cork.
But is not that the very point? What better way to induce the gratitude and loyalty of their most faithful customers than to give them a chance to demean and humiliate some little people? Mskes me remember Jonathan Winters on the meaning of first-class. In first class, he said, they ought to ring a little bell and you could go back and do anything you want to the folks in coach. Now that, my friends, is first class.