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August 1, 2000

What Gets You... The Best Table? The Right Job? First Class?

Flying First Class

Flying First Class

Photo Credit: Perry Hagopian

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"When I travel, I wear ballet flats and knit pants-never jeans-and a shawl or sweater, because I get cold. - Elisabeth, 26, Press Director


"The trend right now is a return to the elegance and style of a past generation, when people would dress up to travel. Even flight attendants are glamming it up these days."


"A smile lets me know I have a happy passenger on the plane," Lee says. "If we leave with a seat open, I bump someone up to first if she's helped out in some way, or if she's celebrating a special occasion like a honeymoon." Other airlines subscribe to the smile theory, too. "We deal with 2000 to 3000 people every night at [New York's] JFK airport alone," says John Lampl, vice president of corporate communications of the Americas for British Airways. "When you're dealing with that many people, it's a pleasure to help someone who is pleasant to you."

There are 70,000 fewer airline employees now than there were in 2002, but 10 million more passengers. Spread the kindness to overworked staff-and reap the rewards.


"Carry yourself with grace and never look or act disheveled. Act like you belong in first class," Lee says. "Upgrades are never guaranteed, but you can increase your chances through behavior," says VIP-travel expert Anastasia

Mann, CEO and chairman of Corniche Group, Inc.Travel Management. "Arrive to your gate early. Make eye contact with the agent, introduce yourself, and politely ask to be considered for an upgrade if the possibility arises."


"I know it's not easy to travel in heels, but there are ways to pull together an outfit without wearing tennis shoes or flip-flops," Lee says. "Wear dress flats, ballet flats, or driving loafers- they make you look sophisticated and attractive, yet they're still casual."

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