Note: This article was originally written in May 2013.
There’s a dirty little secret amongst frequent fliers: We don’t like to fly economy. Especially on long-haul flights. Some of us may even have a fear of flying coach on any length of flight and it’s becoming a growing trend.
Since there doesn’t appear to be a scientific name already, I would like to introduce a new word into the English dictionary:
Econophobia [e-con-oh-foh-bee-uh] — Noun. An abnormal fear of flying in economy on commercial airlines. Origin: Late 20th-century when US airlines began cutting costs, shrinking legroom and significantly reducing service.
Econophobia usually occurs when one grows up spoiled or becomes an elite member of an airline’s frequent flier program. The latter gets used to perks like free or heavily discounted upgrades. Airline executives act like crack dealers since they give members a taste of what it’s like on the other side of the curtain, knowing they will get addicted and come back for more…though it comes at a cost.
Getting upgraded isn’t easy. There are times (more often than not, for me) when the first/business class cabin is full, the fare rules on the ticket don’t allow for upgrades or it’s just too expensive.
This is when it can get ugly for econophobes as they tend to pull out all the tricks, coming up with all kinds of excuses to reservation agents, check-in agents, gate agents and flight attendants about why they need to get upgraded: I’m on my honeymoon, I’m too tall, I hurt my back in a car accident. Just full-on begging.
Are you or anyone you know an econophobe? Leave a comment below.
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