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George Hobica: Do Airlines Treat You Better If You Dress Well?

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When a friend of mine checked in for a flight recently, he was surprised that the gate agent handed him a first-class boarding pass as he was about to get on his flight. What was so unusual about this? Several things: He had bought an economy class ticket, he rarely flies on Air Canada and thus has no frequent flyer status on the airline and, even more unusually, the flight was half empty so this wasn't an oversell upgrade situation. So why the extra love?

Because he was wearing a suit. Yep, my pal asked the gate agent why he was so blessed and she answered, "Our station manager noticed how well dressed you were and told me to upgrade you."

I asked another gate agent if he would give preference to a well-dressed passenger in such a scenario. He answered, "Yes, the better dressed you are, the more likely you are to nab that seat. I am not going to put someone wearing flip flops...

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