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The Gatekeepers

Airline agents are the key to upgrades and choice seating.

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This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It pays to be nice to gate agents. Perhaps more than any other airline employees, the folks at check-in have broad powers to make your flight magnificent. Or miserable.

In the frantic hour or so between check-in and boarding, gate agents are practically all-powerful. They can upgrade you, downgrade you and even remove you from a flight, often at their whim.

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