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Toby Melville
Keep calm or carry on?
MANNERS MATTER

One airline will upgrade you for not being a jerk to them on the phone

By Leslie Josephs

Airlines give us plenty to be angry about, be it frequent computer glitches or being treated like cattle once onboard. But one airline says it will reward travelers for keeping their cool.

British budget carrier Monarch Airlines is offering free perks, like early boarding or seats with extra legroom, to travelers who are “nice” to its call center staff.

“Our customer services staff are already nice—now they can reward those who are positively nice to them, too,” said the airline’s chief operating officer, according to The Independent

The incentives don’t cost the airline much. Early boarding on Monarch costs £5 ($6) and an extra legroom can cost around  £10 ($12). Even if you played well with others at school, don’t get your hopes up for that upgrade. The airline will only offer these politeness perks on a maximum of 10 bookings a week and only if the traveler rings the call center. So it’s tough luck for those who are left to resort to contacting the airline on Twitter because no one is answering.

Aside from more legroom and a chance to beat the crush of your fellow holidaymakers for overhead bin space, politeness can often open doors with airline personnel. Do airlines do things wrong? Yes, at an Olympic level. Airlines lose your luggage, frequently cancel or delay their flights and strand passengers, miraculously delete seat selections made months ago.

But remaining calm is far more effective (and less scary to flight attendants) than blowing your top. Last week, the captain of a Hawaiian Airlines plane diverted the flight following a dispute with a passenger the flight crew over a $12 charge for a blanket, in which the passenger reportedly said he wanted to “take somebody behind the woodshed” over the charge.