There we were, my siblings and I, standing at the boarding gate, having our boarding passes inspected. We had booked business class seats for the flight to Germany. The lady at the counter took Faris’ boarding pass, and crossed out his seat number, and wrote a new one on it. He asked her if she upgraded him and she replied “Yes, your seat is in First Class, but the service is the same.”
He smiled at us, gave us the “so-long-suckers” look, and boarded the plane. I was mildly happy for him. The lady at the counter then did the same for my sister Yara. Good for her I thought. Lucky day for them.
The lady then took my brother Nijad’s boarding pass, crossed out his seat number, and gave him a First Class seat too! What the…? “What about me?” I asked.
“Oh sorry sir, we don’t have an upgrade for you,” she told me matter-of-factly. Now I was annoyed! I asked her why they would upgrade three people from a group of four, it’s not fair! She had no reply except that it was not her choice, she’s just following instructions.
I have to admit I was annoyed. Typical Gulf Air service. I remember now why I disliked this airline. Faris and Yara both offered me their seats, but I refused. It’s not really about the First Class seat I told them – as business class is more than good enough for me – it’s the principle. Why would an airline only upgrade three people from a group of four people who surely are flagged together int he system? Oh well, it was not the first time I had to eat humble pie, and it certainly won’t be the last time.
So there I sat, in my business class seat, fuming. Wishing I had their CEO’s email address. A few minutes later, the lady from the counter showed up, telling me that someone canceled and that I could take their First Class seat. I refused. I don’t want we-feel-sorry-for-you-service, I want genuine, sincere and most importantly professional service. She was surprised, and tried to convince me to take it, but I chose to be stubborn, and punish the world by not taking the First Class seat.
Besides, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and all I had to do was to figure out what the reason was. Probably to keep my ego in check, I thought.
Then I remembered how much my ego was inflated a couple of days before. I had taken my management Team to a strategy retreat in Al-Bandar resort. We brainstormed and strategised for the remaining of 2010, intermingled with fun and games. One of the games we played was table tennis, and boy did I beat them.
I was a much better player then they were, and even played some of them with my left hand, without glasses or contacts. I beat them one after the other. I kept shouting “I’m a ninja! I’m a ninja! You can’t beat me!” And I said things like “know my name! Say it, say it! I can’t be beaten!!”
Thank you Karmic universe for this ego-deflating lesson. I am indeed humbled. But hey, business class ain’t so bad. I eventually slept and woke just before landing.
Yara and Nijad left to Bahrain this morning. I got an SMS from Nijad saying they got upgraded to first class.
Good for them.
At least I’m a ninja…