Weird Things Happen in Life. And on American Airlines, Too.

You don’t have to be a geezer like me to know that a lot of things happening in life make no sense at all.

Back in the 1970s, I ran the Information and Complaint Department for the City of Honolulu, a job I held for eight years. During that time, I accumulated a fat folder labeled simply Weird File.

One request for information I remember came in the form of a hand-written letter from a man who wanted me to provide him with a list of all the public men’s rooms on the Island of Oahu. (Don’t ask. I have no idea!)

My all time complaint came from a 75-year-old man who somehow irritated the driver of a city bus who physically shoved him down the steps of the bus and into the gutter by the bus stop. And, as they say on TV, “But wait! There’s more!” To make matters worse –if possible – the old man was legally blind and was on his way to The Queen’s Medical Center to get therapy for his bad back. Oh yes … when he landed in the street, he broke his white cane into two pieces. (Believe it or not, this dear man only wanted two things from the city as the result of this incident: a reprimand for the idiot bus driver and a new white cane. You may be sure he got both.)

I should probably start compiling a Weird File for incidents that occur during my travels. There could even be another book in it. For example …

I’ve been a member of the American Airlines Aadvantage program for more than 20 years and maintain a pretty hefty balance of miles which I dip into to pay for one or two flights a year.

While checking in at the Maui airport for a recent flight to Los Angeles, I asked the lady behind the American counter if there was any room in first class and, if so, what would be the cost of an upgrade. She checked and, sure enough, there were three empty seats and the cost of the upgrade would be $250.  “Good!” I said, “Let’s go for it.”

She took my boarding pass, glanced at it, then stopped. “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t put you into first class. You’re traveling on mileage.”

I was dumbfounded, but it seems it is the policy of American Airlines to not sell an upgrade to someone who used Aadvantage miles to pay for an economy seat. So bankrupt American Airlines lost $250 in revenue because I was not permitted to buy a first class seat. They also lost the revenue from a stand-by passenger who was unable to occupy my economy seat. And flight 254 departed that afternoon with at least one empty seat up front in first class.

Does that make any sense? Do you think it rates a place in my new Weird File?