How to get upgraded, extra leg room, and free wine while traveling! (In 3 Easy Steps…)

How to get upgraded, extra leg room, and free wine while traveling!

Happy Friday! 


I love traveling. I love flying. I love airports.


I love watching the hellos and the goodbyes, witnessing the comings and goings, and experiencing both the stress and the excitement that comes along with any kind of traveling.


(And it’s a good thing, too… as I’m about to be doing a whole heck of a lot of it come January 1st!)


Although I’ve only ever missed a flight once — a layover from Bangkok to Chiang Mai… I read the times wrong, and was quite enjoying the company of the Irish Bloke I had just met on the long haul flight across the Pacific! HA! — I’ve cut it close a few times, including this past week.


I like to say I’m optimistic when it comes to how much time I have; others like to say I leave it all too close to the last minute.


As traveling can be stressful for many at the best of times, adding in a serious time crunch can take it to a whole other level.


Both on my way out, and coming home from, my flights to and from Vancouver last week, I could have perhaps left more time.


And yet, I knew I’d be okay.


Not only did I make my flights, I was also brought to the front of the security line both times, upgraded to an emergency row, and given two bottles of wine on the house on my flight back.


How did I mange that?!?


Her name was Geri. (ALWAYS greet the person helping me by name!)

When I arrived at the check-in desk, I found out my window seat had been changed for a middle. NO!!!


Although a bit upset, I calmly explained (with a smile) I’d purposely checked in early, to ensure I had a window seat. (love looking out the window while working!) I then asked, using her name, if there perchance happened to be another window seat available?


“Let me see what I can do…” she said kindly. “Stay close to me!”


I did. And was basically the last one to board the plane.


Alas, there was no window seat. She did, however, give me an emergency row (gotta love that extra leg room!) and was very apologetic.


Although missing my window seat, I didn’t complain, and made friends with the people in my row, as well as the Flight Attendant sitting across from us during take off.


On the flight, I was put in contact with Flight Director Sandy, who was quick to ensure I’d get vouchers and bonus airmiles for the ‘trouble.’


Let’s be honest, folks, It wasn’t ‘trouble’ ~ it was simply a preference that didn’t come into fruition (albeit for the first time… I travel so much and never do I NOT get my beloved window seat!)


And then, before even asking, I was slipped two bottles of wine to enjoy.


I’m not going to lie, I felt like a little bit of a rockstar.


It’s not the first time I’ve had exceptional customer service at the check-in desks and on the flight, and it won’t be the last. I’ve been upgraded numerous times, been escorted to the front of the security line on more than one occasion, and had a few extra bottles of sparkling and wine slipped my way before.



Because YOU can control more than you realize.



Here are 3 tips to receiving exceptional customer service:

  1. Always show up with a smile. Greet appropriately with a ‘Good morning’, ‘Good afternoon,’ and Good evening.’ Kindness goes a LONG way.
  2. Notice their nametags, and refer to them by their first name. If they don’t have a nametag, ask for their name early on in the conversation. As Dale Carnegie famously said “The sweetest sound in any language is the sound of your own name.”
  3. Don’t assume you’ll get special treatment, however it certainly doesn’t hurt to put the vibes out there. And then be VERY appreciative (I’ve given Starbucks gift certificates to check-in attendees who have worked their magic for me before!)


I love traveling. I love flying. I love airports.


And even though it likely won’t be the last time I show up a wee too close to my take off time, I know I’ll be okay.


When it comes to customer service, an act of kindness as simple as a smile goes a LONG way. (Click to tweet it out!)


Have a great week!

Carol - high res



And now I’d love to hear from YOU! What are YOUR tips and tricks when it comes giving, and receiving, excellent customer service? I’d love to hear your comments below. 


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Carol Schulte

Carol is a published author, has been featured in numerous magazines and podcasts, and is a returning guest expert on Rogers TV. Having lived and worked in 16 countries including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, rocked dreadlocks in Thailand and shaved her head for breast cancer, she certainly walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. When she’s not traveling or speaking on stage, you can find her volunteering as a bereavement facilitator, training for her next triathlon, or practicing her serious carpool karaoke game.

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