Pollster Frank Luntz Publicly Begs United Airlines For An Upgrade

Pollster Frank Luntz took to twitter to “shamelessly” beg for an upgrade on United flight 950 from Washington Dulles to Brussels, enroute to a Brussels Airlines connecting flight to Kigali, Rwanda.

Given the timing of his tweet, and that premium cabins show as full after clearing upgrades, it looks like his chances were slim – he’d be counting on a passenger that was checked in not to show up (if he was even next on the upgrade list) and counting on an agent to process the last minute upgrade as well.

Luntz has worked in high profile roles for 30 years, polling for Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, and Newt Gingrich’s takeover of Congress in the early-to-mid-1990s. He also worked for Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush.

I have to think that, under normal circumstances, Luntz insists on premium cabin travel. So kudos to him for being willing to speak at African Leadership University in Kigali, and doing so at low cost for them to boot. On the other hand, Luntz is not a poor man. Surely the man who has funded university scholarships, and lectures for significant honoraria, is worth low eight figures I’d imagine. It seems like he might have considered a buy up in advance? Hopefully, at a minimum, he’d put in a request using miles and cash co-pay if he doesn’t have PlusPoints available.

Some twitter comments found it unbecoming for a well-known TV pundit to publicly beg for an upgrade. At the point he did it, it was almost certainly too late. (Perhaps he’d have been better off pinging former White House spokesperson and current United SVP Josh Earnest in any case.)

However, facing the prospect of an overnight flight… on United… not in a premium cabin? Sure, I don’t blame a man for resorting to any last ditch effort he can think of.

(HT: @crucker)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This person is hardly well known outside of DC circles, adn even then, why does he think United would just give him an upgrade by tweeting? He probably is rich enough and should have just paid for the upgrade in advance. Having done a quick search of Wikipedia to see why he’s “famous” and what he’s done, I actually hope he was in the very back row in a middle seat. He deserves it given his role in some very pertinent issues these days. The fact that he thinks United, a pretty progressive BUT capitalistic company (monetize everything!) would consider giving him a freebie when clearly people will pay for it in one way or another shows just how deluded he is.

    Thousands of people fly United in economy overnight to Europe and on long hauls every day. Thousands of peopld do it on every airline everywhere every day. It’s not the end of the world and the very fact that one can afford to consider longhaul travel at all means they’re lucky. Dont be so snotty.

  2. Surely, but I’m sure not anymore depressing than flying garbage American Airlines economy overnight , especially with the sweet passive aggressive FA’s that tend such cabin and disgusting inflight entertainment options available…Now that would be reason enough for a revolution at a minimum, not just a tweet, right Gar!?!?

  3. I have been ready Gary’s blog for 5 years now and it’s been mostly great so far, with lot of useful insights and overall feeling that one can learn from Gary’s expertise here and there. But the worst part of the experience I absolutely cannot stand is Gary’s obsession with celebrities, politicians, “artists” and alike, of the worst kind – attention whores, globalist shills and scam and overall sociopaths. First Chrissy Teigen, then has-been rappers and now this. One might think that after 2020 anybody with a shred of intelligence would recognize those members of self appointed “elites” and their pundit clergy for what they really are – pieces of shit in the dumping grounds of history, but no. We still supposed to believe that some hack from Washington DC teaching “leadership” dogmas in Rwanda of all places is somehow important

  4. This guy likely is an elite establishment globalist and yes he does come off as moronic by publicly begging for an upgrade. He should have paid for business class if he cared for it.

  5. Frank Putz. He’s a closet Dem.
    DC “roommate” of Kevin McCarty,

    Remember the time on a UA flight…Congresswoman Jackson-Lee had taken over an occupied biz seat.

  6. This person is hardly well known outside of DC circles…

    If by “DC circles” you mean “political world at large” then you’re right, otherwise you’re wrong because Luntz is known by pretty much anyone anywhere who’s followed US electoral politics over the last 2-3 decades.

    Anyway, please inform Frank Luntz that having just requalified for UA 1K and, in the process, earning 580 UA PlusPloints upgrades to spend between now and 01/31/2024, with 240 of the PPs expiring on 07/31/2023, I will be more than happy to sponsor an upgrade to PZ for him. Based on my experience clearing PP upgrades for EWR-LHR and LHR-EWR in May 2022 and then again for EWR-GVA and BRU-EWR in September 2022, I would say that his chances of clearing a sponsored PP upgrade for a TATL flight might be quite good 😉

  7. DCS. I may not be a political figure, but I have been featured prominently in children’s books and a TV special. If I gave you some travel plans, would you spring me a few upgrades 🙂

  8. Well, interesting comments. I expected worse. I think KidStarA wins the internet today!

  9. @Chris@Oak

    You’re right. So is McConnell and the near entirety of the Republican establishment leadership. They work for the same people the Dems are working for. It’s the right who hates McConnell the most. Liberals should love him, although, he’s part of the same circle that sends what will be 100 billion to Ukrainian criminals, trillions to defense contractors, millions to Pakistan for gender studies but not to the people who vote for them. The Dems are better at paying off their constituents than Republicans but the people controlling and funding the Dems (FTX comes to mind) still give them peanuts.

  10. @Gene – I know what he charges for speeches, I know he’s been in a position to fund university scholarships, and he’s been in prominent roles to be paid well for 30 years.. would be pretty surprised if he doesn’t have $10mm tbh

    Given the link from @TheJetsFan above maybe it’s not ‘low’ 8 figures!

  11. It was a silly request, especially one to be made publicly. But all this political venom that spewed forth following this is particularly shocking. Whether he is red blue or purple is unimportant. Make light of the act, not the person.

  12. @ Gary — Thanks for pointing out the CNCB video. This guy looks like an idiot. Just shows that money doesn’t make you smart.

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