Humbled by Gulf Air

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…

9 Responses to Humbled by Gulf Air

  1. Just a friend 10 June 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    remember there are only 8 seats in F class so maybe the seats were full. The system can upgrade passengers and prioritize depending on many factors such as frequent flyer, and other factors. Take it easy dude, what they say may have been correct in that upgrades is done automatically by the system not by individuals. At the end of the day, gulf air no longer has F class anymore, it now is all business class only. Since it will take at least 2 years to order new premium seats, the airline has no choice but to keep the F class seats and have 2 different seats for business class.

    • Suhail 11 June 2010 at 1:26 am #

      Yeah I know. Just checked in and got ‘upgraded’ to seat A1 🙂

  2. Saba 11 June 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    And to think this could have all been avoided if you’d put your glasses on while playing against me, Sensei 😀

    PS: That’s my special slow working indirect Voodoooooo…

  3. Eman 20 June 2010 at 6:03 am #

    how about getting a call while your abroad informing you that your flight time’s been pushed back then another call the next day saying that it’s back to the original timing then you go to the airport to face a bunch of snobby gulf air staff with phony apologizing faces telling us that the flight’s departed about an hour ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    next year another country same thing, a few months later..again..same thing!! and how they make it up?? “oh if you would please wait sir/ma’am we’ll try to find you seats on another airline” (take note that we’re always more than 4 people hence hours of waiting)…SERIOUSLY!! ever since my dad decided to boycott them we can fly everywhere with no worries….shame on them…they so don’t make us proud…

    • Suhail 20 June 2010 at 6:40 am #

      Ouch! That makes my story look really mundane (which it is). sorry to hear about all your troubles.

  4. Eman 21 June 2010 at 1:58 am #

    yeah well…my brother works their and he’s got stories that’ll make mine sound like a walk on the beach!!
    shame on them walla…

  5. lana 22 June 2010 at 1:07 am #

    humbled… by business class… wow.. not economy.. travelling to Europe on a PLANE… i’m sorry.. how was this “humbling”? I don’t get it.

    • Suhail 22 June 2010 at 3:22 am #

      I’m very spoiled and have a sensitive ego 😛

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