Traveling with others: Is there a fair way to share upgrades with co-workers?

Is it possible to be generous with co-workers without being unfair? Reader J asks….seats

I have a bit of a unique situation and want to get your take on it. I’m traveling internationally for work this summer with a colleague that I’m pretty close to. I have Executive Platinum status on American, so have system-wide upgrades that can be used on international trips. Our trip is very hectic, and we have to go to the office immediately after traveling 36 hours. I offered to share an upgrade with my colleague, and she accepted. A week ago I found out that two more colleagues are joining us on this trip and are on our flights. I don’t have any more upgrades to give away. Should I forego the upgrades I had planned and sit in the back with them? I feel bad that I will be in business class with one colleague while the others are in coach but I’m not sure what to do.

Wow, that is very interesting. We’ve talked about what to do if you get upgraded and your boss doesn’t, as well as leaving co-workers behind in the security lane, but this is a different situation.

My recommendation: don’t give up your planned upgrades. It’s extremely nice of you to share upgrades at all! Giving up the upgrades for you and the initial co-worker doesn’t do anything for your other coworkers, it just harms you. I would probably feel bad too, but there just isn’t anything that can be done. You and the initial co-worker had the flights and got your upgrades, then these other co-workers joined the itinerary. They can’t reasonably expect that you would sacrifice your own comfort, especially when you had no idea they would be on your flights. And if you guys have to head to the office as soon as you land it’s best if a couple of you are able to think rationally!

Readers, what do you think Reader J should do?

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  1. I’d keep plans as-is, but I would mention to the others that the upgrade you gave the other person was your last one available.

    I would confirm that your upgraded colleague doesn’t feel uncomfortable with the new situation, but then if the colleague decided not to use it what would you do?

    Sometimes I’m just convinced no good deed goes unpunished.

  2. I’d give up both upgrades and sit with the rest of your team. Better comraderie, in my opinion, and use the upgrades another time.

  3. I like the solution by Carl P. The other two were added at the last minute and sometimes opportunities are lost because of timing. It’s not as though all of you scheduled at the same time and you picked favorites for the upgrade. The other person got the upgrade because they were the only other person traveling at the time.

  4. I agree with Carl P as well. And I hope the upgraded associate has the good sense not to talk about how said upgrade was obtained. Just as you shouldn’t talk about a party only half the group was invited to, treat the upgrade the same way. The others will likely think it was obtained with their own points. Among my coworkers we have an agreement that there are no grudges held for upgrades, status or TSA Precheck. Just don’t arrive with the group and hide in the Admiral’s Lounge without getting passes for us, that is the only faux pas between us.

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