DEAR MISS MANNERS: As a top-tier frequent flier, I get free food and wine from the buy-on-board menu. Flight attendants see my status when they tally the bill, but some want a credit card first.
I would rather not add to other passengers' misery by announcing my privilege, but have found no other clear response to a demand for payment. What would you do?
GENTLE READER: Not conspire with the airlines to protect their customers from knowing the petty details of their class system.
It is tender of you to worry about the chagrin that passengers experience from knowing how crudely comfort and amenities are apportioned by tallying the accumulated money spent, not only on tickets, but also on credit card charges and such.
However, those unvalued customers already know the principle. Very likely they have been patiently waiting to board after those holding such honors as "Platinum," "Gold," "Silver," and, for all Miss Manners knows, "Silverplate," "Iron" and "Tin."
Miss Manners doubts that knowing that you get a few dollars' worth of sustenance will add to their misery as much as to their cynicism.