I consistently embarrass my friends. Most of the time, it’s just for asking for things – upgrades, service at restaurants, access to locations, etc. They think it’s the opposite of couth; shameful, even. Even though I always ask politely with a smile, my friends never let me live down “x” moment when I became out of pocket at “y” event because I asked – they would probably say “demanded” – for “z” thing.
I don’t care – I’m always trying to be a good friend, as you will see below.
1) Typhoon Usagi wrecked our plans to transit through Hong Kong flying Cathay Pacific on the way from Bangkok to Tokyo. Cathay switched our flights to revenue (YAY DELTA MILES!!!) Korean Air and Japan Airlines flights. One friend was with me in business class while my other friend was in economy class. Even though I am polite, in this case I didn’t much fancy being polite by going through the economy-class security and immigration lines and not using my lounge access because one of my friends wasn’t flying business. The agent understood our intial typhooon predicament. However, right after that, we had a nicely confusing conversation where I pretended that we had all booked business class together, he granted my economy-class friend a premium security and immigration pass, which saved us 45-60 minutes in line. To the gate agent’s credit, he really tried to understand why we were not booked together and attempted to rebook my friend into the higher class, but the computer system wouldn’t let him due to the flights being on separate carriers. Since Cathay Pacific was already paying Korean Air and Japan Airlines for the flights, I didn’t really have any qualms about trying to get a free upgrade. The gate agent also encouraged me to put my Delta frequent flyer number on the Korean Air ticket, so he wasn’t exactly playing by the rules either. This came in handy at the Skyteam lounge, which, again, our economy-class friend did not have access to. I just told the lounge agent that I was a Delta Diamond Medallion, but since we had booked on Cathay and switched carriers, it somehow hadn’t shown up on my boarding pass. That doesn’t make much sense in English to someone who doesn’t know airlines/airports and it really didn’t make much sense to someone who doesn’t speak English well. The lounge agent accepted my version of events completely. My friends and I then spent pleasant time in the lounge, noshing on quiches, dumplings and baos and I even took a shower; a relaxing way to end a weird transit day.
2) In Japan, we stayed at the tasteful, but still uber-luxurious, Conrad Tokyo property. It’s a place both c-suites and wealthy tourists plump for, but luckily this Conrad is also located near the Shimbashi station on the Tokyo Metro. This is useful for proles like me who can’t afford insanely expensive taxis from Narita Airport. The Conrad granted me executive lounge privileges, as well as free use of the pool and a room on the 32nd floor as my Hilton HHonors Diamond amenities. To be honest, that wasn’t enough. I wanted a suite, since a twin room with a third bed was a little tight. I called up and asked, “as a Diamond member, if there were any suites available, and whether the hotel could grant me a complimentary upgrade.” To the hotel’s unending credit, ten minutes later I had a twin bay view suite (on a lower floor) and a bellhop at the door to help us with our valises. The suite was huge – huge full bathroom, huge half bathroom (!!) huge bedroom, huge living room; there was even a luggage room. The maraschino, however, had to be the spectacular views of Tokyo Bay, equally gorgeous during sunshine and moonlight. My friends would probably argue the blackout shades qualified, instead.
They also ceaselessly made fun of me for asking, “as a Diamond,” like I was on the Chrysanthemum Throne or something, but each time we came back to the room, they didn’t want to leave it.
To wrap, don’t lie unless you have some status. No. That’s a poor and unethical summary. I’m going to say this – if you have status of some kind – earned and with benefits tangible – make good on those benefits. Or at least attempt to. Would it have killed us to go through the regular security and immigration lines? No. But it was another hassle after a day of them. Would we have had a great time in Tokyo in a regular twin room? Yes, but good lord did it feel good to say “our suite.”
You always remember when you go deluxe. We do.
For pictures from this recent trip, browse my instagram (at) TheWindowSuite!