Despite having been a top tier elite with United since the age of 14, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been singled out (negatively) due to my age. I see posts about being told that a line is for first class passengers only (inferring young people can’t be elites) all the time, but it almost never seems to happen to me.
Tonight, for the first time in three years, I did get the “you’re in the wrong line” treatment. Flying from Chicago to Tampa this evening, I was the last person to board via the red carpet (the flight was operated by an A320 with only 12 first class seats, so there weren’t that many people boarding via the red carpet). As I slowly walked up, still probably 20 feet from the front of the line, the gate agent scanning boarding passes loudly said in my direction “this line is for first class and 1K members only.” I couldn’t quite tell if she was saying that generally or specifically to me, so I didn’t say anything.
Immediately following that, she did say something that I knew was directed at me: “you’re in the wrong line, this one is for first class and 1K only.” I kept approaching the front of the line, at which point she said “you need to go to the other line now, I’m about to close this lane and you won’t be allowed to board.”
At that point I showed her my boarding pass, said “you’re incredibly rude, I’m a 1K and in first class, don’t assume,” and promptly boarded.
The worst part? The guy that boarded on the red carpet in front of me was a Premier Executive in coach that wasn’t entitled to board via the red carpet, yet she said nothing to him.