Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

As a frequent traveler, I enjoy the perks of priority status, like being able to choose premium seats online, by-passing the extra long security lines, boarding first and of course, not having to pay extra for my checked luggage. If that makes me a travel snob, so be it, but I prefer to think of myself as a travel grouch and those little extras make the whole process tolerable. But as often as I fly, I have never had the pleasure of flying first class—a fact that adds to my grumpiness—and I don’t hang out in fancy airport lounges either…until today. I recently received a free one-day pass for my airline’s airport lounge and was looking forward to seeing what all the fuss (and $50 per day) was about. So, with my pass in hand, I opened the once verboten door, checked in and set out to enjoy all the free wi-fi, complimentary coffee, tea, water, juice and fresh fruit I could consume in the forty five minutes before my cross country flight. The first thing I noticed when I stepped inside was how quiet it was compared to the noisy terminal. Of course, there were plenty of very important people yapping on mobile phones about this and that very important deal, bar flies chatting up the busy bartender and the click clack of fingers on keyboards, but the relative peace was downright pleasant. I didn’t want to miss anything, so I grabbed a coffee, stuffed an apple in my briefcase and surveyed my new domain. I discovered a large TV lounge with oversized, comfy looking chairs, a spacious seating area with booths, nice tables and unhurried looking waiters to serve your every whim, or at least bring eggs. For those who crave silence, there was a cell free zone called the quiet room and a kid’s fun room so that even parents could enjoy a bit of quiet time.

After my tour, I settled down to a bowl of Cheerios and a second cup of joe (free coffee tastes better), and pulled out my laptop so I could catch up on my emails. The quiet, comfortable surroundings were so conducive to work; I didn’t want to leave. After all, even though I had scored an exit row, I was not especially looking forward to a five-hour flight in a cramped seat. I arrived a the gate, boarding pass in hand, ready to flaunt my priority access and cut the line, when my name was called. I had been upgraded to first class! I hadn’t requested an upgrade so I was quite surprised, and rather pleased, to learn that I was finally going to fly with the beautiful people, or at least those who could afford a first class ticket.

Having arrived safely at my destination, always the first priority, I have to admit that the best part of flying first class was watching the other passengers walk past me down the aisle. Oh, and the warm chocolate chip cookie was quite nice. The point is, in case you thought I’d forgotten to have one, is that first class accommodations are nice, but if you are very lucky, you won’t have to pay top dollar to enjoy them. Give your clients a taste of the good life and they’ll remember you when it comes to doing first class business. Gifts like the Essentials Luxury Travel Set will make your best customers feel pampered, even if they have to travel coach. Well, I’ve got to go check in to my room now—it wasn’t ready when I arrived so they are giving me a suite to make up for it. I could get used to this! Until next time, remember, “Flying first class is good, but flying free is