Q: I fly a lot for work (at least weekly), so I usually get upgraded to first class. My sister and I recently traveled from New York, where we both live, to visit relatives in California, and we took the same flight. We each booked and paid for our own ticket. I got upgraded; she didn't. And she's been whining about it ever since (particularly because I was wearing jeans and she was all dressed up, so she feels she deserved the upgrade more than a slob like me). What's your take? Did I do something wrong?
A: I'd understand your sister being upset if you spent the entire flight pulling back the little curtain between first class and coach to taunt her, or if she complained about being tired and you said something like, "That's too bad -- I got plenty of sleep up in first class! Stinks to be you!" But I assume you acted like an adult.
However, many people who don't fly often don't understand how upgrades work nowadays. It's about how many miles you've flown on that airline, period. What you're wearing doesn't matter in the slightest.
I do have a suggestion for future trips you take with a family member: Book both seats yourself. You don't need to pay your sister's way -- she can pay you back -- but if you book both seats, and you're eligible for an upgrade, most airlines will automatically upgrade your companion as well. Then everybody's happy.
Q: I recently stayed at a chain hotel that provides a free shuttle to the airport. The employee who normally drives the shuttle wasn't around, so the general manager himself drove me. I would've tipped the regular employee, but it didn't seem appropriate to tip the GM, so I just thanked him and told him how much I liked the hotel. Should I have tipped?
A: No, I don't think you needed to tip him -- but if you really want to show your appreciation, write or e-mail the hotel chain's customer-service department and tell them how the GM helped you out. That'd probably do more for him in the long run than a couple of bucks in cash ever could.
Q: What can and can't you take from a hotel room?
A: OK to take: Toiletries. Food and drinks (bear in mind, though, that if they're from the minibar, you'll be charged). Hotel notepaper and pens. Newspapers. And, of course, anything labeled "complimentary" or "with our compliments."
Not OK to take: Everything else. Unless you're prepared for the hotel to charge a hefty fee to your credit card when they discover you've absconded with it.
(E-mail travel-etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at deartripadvisor(at)tripadvisor.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com)
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