Apparently frequent flyer elite members pull the “DYKWIA” — Don’t You Know Who I Am? — card far more often than infrequent travelers. And when they do things turn ugly. Put another way, Russian SkyTeam carrier Aeroflot says that frequent flyer elites are more likely to be unruly onboard than other passengers.
As a result Aeroflot has a new policy of revoking airline elite status from members behaving badly.
Aeroflot Airline will revoke the premium frequent flyer status of unruly passengers, after nine reported cases of intolerable conduct—including physical assault toward employees, flight attendants and airline staff at the airport—since the beginning of 2018.
Most of the cases involved passengers who had premium status in the frequent flyer program.
In addition, the Russian flag carrier said all bonus miles will be canceled and the passenger’s Aeroflot Bonus account will be closed; offenders will not be able to get another account in the program.
This surprises me. There have been incidents of Aeroflot employees behaving badly towards customers and aspiring pilots acting out. And what about the drunk Aeroflot flight attendant who attacked a passenger?
Last month we saw a fire inside an Aeroflot aircraft but it was a battery behaving badly, not a passenger.
When it comes to passengers my impression is:
- It’s more often infrequent flyers who cause the most problems
- Budget airlines, with a disproportionately high number of infrequent flyers, are most likely to have issues
- Alcohol is usually involved
In contrast, elite flyers know the drill, know what to expect, and know the consequences for acting out. It’s elites who are least likely to be problems.
Even if that’s not the case for Aeroflot it seems as though the deterrent value of taking away frequent flyer status isn’t going to be of much value when arrest and prosecution doesn’t do the trick.
Am I off base here, is my belief that frequent flyer elites behave better than infrequent flyers an example of confirmation bias?