Do Professional Titles Get You Better Service?

After I completed my graduate education, I started booking all of my reservations as “Dr. Scott Mackenzie” instead “Mr. Scott Mackenzie.” I don’t make a fuss if some people say “Mr.” anyway, but I earned the new title and think it’s only fair to include it when the option is available.

My interest is whether such a change actually results in better service or merely boosts my ego. After all, anyone can change their title on a reservation. It would be the easiest “status match” ever, although the benefits would be entirely unofficial.

Here’s a recent example from United Airlines. For all their faults during the merger, I think customer service has really been improving lately. On my flight back from the Frequent Traveler University in DC, we had a flight attendant in first class doing such a great job he earned a letter to 1K Voice. The odd thing was he addressed everyone by his or her first name except me. I was referred to only as “Doctor.”

“Doctor, would you like more wine?”

“Doctor, would you like the steak or the pasta?”

“Will you be joining us for dessert, Doctor?”

Not “Dr. Mackenzie” but just “Doctor.” It was strange. Addressing passengers by their first names is a little strange, too, but “Doctor” isn’t even a name, and he does know what my name is since it’s right there on the passenger manifest.

So it got me thinking: Is he doing this as a sign of respect or is he mocking me? I find it hard to believe an employee serving passengers in the premium cabin would ever mock a customer.

If it is a sign of respect, one imagines that could spill over to slightly better treatment in other areas, too. Maybe he’ll be more attentive about refilling my drink. If this were a hotel, maybe the clerk would be more willing to give me a discretionary upgrade to a better suite. I can’t point to any specific perk I’ve received thanks to my title, but you can’t deny it stands out from “Mr.”

Here’s a different take: maybe my unique title just means I’m paying closer attention to whether someone actually uses it. Even if it doesn’t bother me much, I do notice when someone says “Mr.” and not “Dr.” As a side effect of listening for that finer distinction, I am also paying attention to the broader distinction between employees who use names and those who don’t. The flight attendant on my connecting flight never did anything to acknowledge individual passengers. Addressing people by name made the first flight attendant seem more professional and courteous even if I thought using first names was odd.

And from there we can take it one step further. Employees who are indifferent and never address customers by name may also be more likely to give poor service. Employees who show attention to detail and address people by name, whatever their different titles, may be more likely to give good service. One reason the first flight attendant earned a complimentary letter to 1K Voice is that he asked about the temperature of the food, created a little origami with my napkin, and checked on me frequently. The second one, who didn’t address anyone, passed out lukewarm food and disappeared to the galley.

It may not be me, the “Doctor,” who is getting special treatment but rather all customers who come into contact with such employees who bother to pay attention. It’s an easy thing to overlook, just two letters before a name, but a series of small actions can make a big impact on the customer experience.

Kimpton Status Match Lasts through 2015
Maximizing My Elite Baggage Benefit

Scott created Travel Codex after learning how to travel better on a budget during grad school. He now flies over 150,000 miles every year.
Email // Twitter // Facebook // Google+ // Subscribe by RSS

  • Benjamin Clark

    A couple international airlines give a much more extensive list of titles than just the standard Mr., Mrs., Miss, and Dr. For instance, when you sign up for a BA Executive Club account, the choices include Baron, Viscount, and The RT Honorable. Another airline I signed up for an account recently with (I forget which one), included HRH (His Royal Highness), Prince, and Sheikh among the options. See if using those results in better service :)

  • Django

    Anyone can get a doctorate degree from a diploma mill. Just sayin’.

  • BradR

    I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference other than at hotel check in, at least from a customer service perspective – as far as I know, not much other benefit I’d attribute to the Dr. Two things to be careful of: I’m a Dr, but not the kind that helps people, eg I can talk your ear off about semiconductors, but if someone is in need of assistance on a plane and they come straight to me, we’d both feel pretty foolish, and if seconds mattered I would feel bad (but on a plane, what can you do). Secondly, don’t make the mistake of Dr and PhD because then you look like quite an ass :) Dr. Scott Mackenzie PhD screams LOOK AT ME!

    • Jay

      This happened to my girlfriend on a flight. She has a doctorate in molecular genetics. Since that day, she’s stopped using her “Dr” designation in hotels and flights.

      Much to my delight ;) Since I am a “real” doctor. LOL.

      • Jay

        And in case it wasn’t clear, that last bit was a joke. I realize that everyone who’s earned a doctorate has put in the same amount of effort as I have (if not more) and I respect that dedication.

        • BradR

          hehe – no worries. that’s why i say i’m a doctor that doesn’t help people (just like those that work for labor and industries in WA)

    • Scottrick

      Yeah. I don’t worry about the medical emergency part too much. I know time is always important, but my opinion is wasting one minute while I explain I’m not a physician is still a better situation than being at home and waiting for an ambulance. I’ve been a situation on a plane once where they requested a doctor, and it was over the PA. Two people jumped out of their seats. That’s probably faster than scrolling through the flight manifest.

  • Dr. McNeil

    The only airline that has ever recognized my title of Dr. is Singapore – and on those flights I was in Economy. The rest have always said Mr. (if anything) – including the First and Business class cabins on AA, US, UA, LA.

  • chico escuela

    I just glad there was no medical emergency and they had to page a doctor, that could be ackward

  • Levy Flight

    I find sometimes it helps in the resolution of an issue. Stewardesses may be more chatty. Of course helps to be young and good looking :)

  • emrdoc

    Physicians are commonly addressed as “Doctor” or even “Doc”. I am sure the flight attendant thought you to be a physician and thus the use of Doctor.

    • Alan

      Precisely – much more likely than then being mocking, which I think is incredibly unlikely.

  • F/A ologist

    When I was a Flight Attendant (TWA 27 yrs) and one of my goofy F/A friends would come on my flight to commute to their hometown I would make a huge fuss over them….Welcome. such an honer to have you onboard …Dr.,General, Senator, Rabbi, or I’ve seen all your movies or read all your books, BIG FAN. Everyone in F/C would look to see who I am talking to and then see they have no idea who I am talking to. So based on my experience on what goes on BEHIND THE GALLEY CURTAIN, THEY WERE MOCKING YOU, sorry Doc.

  • Oak

    I was thinking me must be a “Doctor Who” fan all the way up until reading the other comments about mocking you.. ;)

  • rodeojones

    I wonder if I would get better service if they called me “Officer”…ya probably not. :)

  • Scott

    Is the “respect” you are getting because they think you are a medical doctor or because they appreciate anyone with a doctoral degree? If you are feeding off the reputation of medical doctors, then this is lame.

    • Scottrick

      Who said I was trying to present myself as a physician? There are doctors of medicine, doctors of dentistry, and I’m a doctor of philosophy. So “Dr. Mackenzie” it is. I don’t know what they think of me when they see that, but I can tell you when I see someone called “Dr. so and so” I don’t presume to know what kind of doctor they are.

  • Bill n DC

    My experience is that it is more trouble than it’s worth.

  • http://twitter.com/OriginalHua 후아

    Your “Doctor” title is conferred by an academic institution and isn’t a professional certification. Typically educational designations aren’t used outside of the academic sphere so it does seem odd to refer to yourself as “Doctor” in non-academic situations :/

    • Scottrick

      By the same logic, why would anyone use a medical designation outside a hospital?

      • PhD

        I think the medical designation is more analogous to “professor”: both are professional titles. What the previous commentator is saying is that a PhD is an academic qualification, not a professional title like professor (which is used outside a professor’s academic setting).

  • Paulie Slapnuts

    This is absolutely in reference to the flight attendant’s belief, however mistaken, that you were a physician. I’ve seen flight attendants discreetly request assistance in medical emergencies from pax listed as Dr. on the manifest. It is precisely for that reason most physicians I know (girlfriend, father, many friends) elect to travel *without* the title on their ticket.
    Of course, you’ve earned the title and it is your right to use it as you see fit, but in terms of perception, when most people see Dr., they equate it to M.D. (or D.O., as it were)

    • Scottrick

      That’s completely fair, and I realize it could happen. But I as I’ve addressed multiple times, I don’t think it really matters in an emergency. They ask for help. I say I can’t. They look elsewhere. A 9-1-1 phone call would take more time than my conversation with the FA.

      Besides which, my request for a scotch on the rocks before we depart is a good sign I shouldn’t be treating anyone even if I were a physician.

  • Dad

    If the FA was using first names, he might have had a quandry using your title: Does he call you Dr. Scott? Sounds odd. Calling you by your last name while using others’ first names kind of kicks them down a notch. Ignoring your title, which does differentiate you, could risk offending you. So, he worked with the hand he was dealt (as did you).

    • Scottrick

      That’s a good point. I would have been happy with “Scott,” like everyone else got. But maybe he felt I would be offended if he didn’t use the title.

      I think more than anything else, it was the first names that really threw me off and inspired this post.

  • DW

    Doctor, Doctor who?
    Just ‘The Doctor’

  • Legal Eagle

    Interesting that your copyright notice at the bottom left hand side of the page omits the “Dr.” designation. If you are going to use the title because you earned it, why not be consistent about it? Seems kind of lame to include it on a flight booking and not elsewhere especially in light of the medical emergency potential.

    • Scottrick

      Most people don’t use a title unless asked. I don’t introduce myself as Dr. Scott Mackenzie or sign my emails and letters that way. But most online forms specifically ask for a title. As long as I have to fill it in, I may as well pick the best match.

      I still don’t see any emergency medical risk here. It’s a one minute conversation. “Someone needs help.” “I’m not a physician.” “Okay, I’ll ask the next person.”

  • AKold

    I wonder what would happen if I flew Etihad and put “Baron” as my designator (the Etihad FF signup has the best list of designators I’ve ever seen).

  • Jerry

    I am a retired educator..in over 44 years in the profession I have known perhaps 100s of earned Doctorate professionals, Professors, Psychologists, Administrators

    . All expected and appreciated being addressed as Dr in the professional setting. However , outside that setting they were , Ken , Ed , Lloyd, Rick, etc ,and that is what they preferred.

    I realize you did not ask to be addressed by your title and that it was done not by your request .

    But to put your title in reference to an airline ticket , screams of ,do you know who I am.

    After some additional maturity, you will no doubt discover being called sir, is not only appropriate but more gratifying

    Another well educated freqent flyer.

    • Scottrick

      The profile asks for information. If the title is irrelevant perhaps I should enter Miss?

  • smitty06

    Say what you will, but when you use the title, everyone assumes medical doctor. I use it when I fly because I want to be easily found by the staff. A passenger fainted on my recent flight and my friend ( a fellow doctor) and myself were quickly called upon to assist the crew. All my professor friends used the title all the time when they first earned their PhD, but then stopped everywhere but work because they started to feel like impostors. To look at is another way, would it be appropriate for my nurse to call herself “Dr” in the office if she also has a PhD? I think not.

    • Scottrick

      I think yes. There are many PhDs in academia. Not all are professors. That is a separate distinction. But all of them I would refer to as “Doctor.”

    • Alan

      Many nurses with PhDs do just that – often to the confusion of patients I must say! I think doing so in a medical context is more confusing than in this situation.

      • John

        I’ve heard this argument before, but is there really a problem? Unless the nurse starts prescribing drugs or dispensing advice that he/she has no right to do (in which case they would be behaving fraudulently, which they could do without a doctoral degree) then I’m not sure it’s really an issue.

        • Alan

          From a patient’s perspective, yes it can be – obviously it varies as to how clear the individual practictioner makes it but it’s quite possible a patient sees a nurse and thinks they have seen a doctor. No issue with specialist nurses, etc, but it should be clear whether they have the breadth of training that a medical degree entails or not. I just think within the medical sphere it is much more confusing – I’ve no issue outside of Medicine, indeed in the UK those with a MD/PhD are felt to be ‘proper’ doctors as they actually have doctorates – those without a higher research degree technically just have the honorary title of Dr! (hence why surgeons revert to calling themselves Mr after passing their surgical Royal College membership exams!)

    • DAM

      I don’t assume medical doctor when I here “Dr. XXX….” I assume PhD as they’re a lot more common in my circles.

  • NYBanker

    What about honorary doctorates? ;)

    • Scottrick

      A knighthood is honorary. I don’t think diploma mills count, but in theory someone earned an honorary doctorate. I’m undecided.

  • Glenn

    I don’t know about “Doctor”, but I usually get treated special when the FA knows my title is Colonel. Really helps when I am flying in uniform, although most people still cannot read my rank correctly except for the pilot.

  • Blue Eyed Devil

    I think the proper cultural way to handle your title is to call yourself Scott Mackenzie PHD like Joe Smith MBA or Jane Doe JD. Dr. Scott Mackenzie should really only refer to an MD.

    Although in our society that has drifted increasingly casual over the last 50 years it’s really only propper to use a suffix in an academic setting such as if you are publishing for a journal in your field.

  • Another Dr. of something.

    For the record not all physicians have doctorates – where I went to grad school medicine was an undergraduate program, although there was an option to do original research and be admitted as a Doctor. Bottom line is if the crew is looking for a medic they should ask for one. If they ask for a Doctor they should expect one – but the two aren’t the same.

  • Craig Cedarglen

    Your FA was a suck-up. I think you probably encouraged it by not discouraging the behavior. If it impresses you, go for it, but from another academic “Doktor,” don’t push your luck. It does not impress everyone, especially in Amerika. In a few years you will understand. Your doktoral pants go on just like mine; one leg at a time, doktor!

  • Olley

    Dr should only be preserved for medical professionals, everyone else using it outside their profession seems very very very very snobby.

    • Scottrick

      You sound like a snobby medical professional who doesn’t like sharing.

      • Colleen

        Your educational accomplishment rightly should make you proud.

        Writing a blog asking for comments, and then posting an ad hominem response like this, shouldn’t.

        • Scottrick

          It wasn’t meant as an ad hominem response. That would have been Olley. I was using irony to point out that real snobbery is dictating who can and cannot use a certain title.

          Nothing in my original post was snobbish, DYKWIA, or gave any other sense that I was trying to curry favor. I simply pointed out I earned a doctorate and pondered the consequences of that fact. My request for comments was not really about who *deserves* to be called “Doctor,” but I left them up because it’s what people wanted to talk about. In my opinion, most of the comments against my use of “Doctor” have not been supported by a strong logical argument.

          Whether that particular doctorate is a PhD, MD, OD, DDS, or DNP, I think those people have earned the title “Dr.” before their name. Of course, most people put the letters of their degree after their name, and I do the same. But that is not an option in an online profile. When a profile specifically asks me to select a salutation, should I choose “Miss”? No, that’s not correct. I’m not a woman. “Mister” isn’t quite right either. “Doctor” is the best answer, and so that’s what I pick.

      • Olley

        There are things in life you do not mess with. This is one of these things. If you insist to share my title, would you be willing to share my medical school debts and responsibility for patients and their family? To those who use/abuse the Dr title outside their profession, you are simply a slap to my ongoing education including 4 years of Premed, 4 years of med school and 5+ years of residency. Do you see where I’m coming from? No, the Dr title should not be shared. This is not even an arugable statement to begin with.

        Indeed, doctorate holders should be proud of their accomplishment and be acknowledged in the field of profession, but why the heck does one need the recognition at the airport?? Really, it’s no better than 100K+ flyers occupying the priority gate 45 minutes before the departure.

        I’m sure you are not one of those peeps, Doctor Scott.

        • Scottrick

          I’ve spent just as much time in school as you. I’ve worked 60 hour weeks. And while you may have debts, you also have the potential to make much more than most PhDs.

          • BossHog

            People seem to be forgetting that nowadays a PhD is 5-6 years, and then 2-4 years of postdoctoral placements.

            So it really is parallel to the 4 years medical school 2-5 years residency in terms of time.

            In terms of using your title in public (e.g. credit cards, flights) I can see the point about not being able to treat people medically, and so that could cause confusion, but really it doesn’t, because if there is an emergency they don’t look through the flight manifest and start asking people one by one, they probably would make an announcement asking for doctors (OBVIOUSLY medical doctors). Or in public if someone yells for a doctor, they obviously aren’t yelling for a PhD.

            Really the argument that it causes problems is just MD’s with over inflated egos.

            As a PhD scientist working on cancer, I can say that a majority of MD’s could not do my job, but I could certainly do the job of an MD with their training. This isn’t something I would ever say to anyone in person, but a few of the MD’s in these comments really have inflated egos.

            I design and conceptualize from the ground up, the machines, instruments, and drugs that you prescribe and use to treat your patients. Without the genius of scientists (and I don’t consider myself a genius scientist, to be clear), medical doctors would still be using leaches and inspecting humours and such. On the other hand, the MD has the extremely difficult job of working with sick people and fighting for peoples lives. If I fail an experiment in the lab, I go home bummed out, but nobody dies. On the other hand, if i’m negligent and bad at my job, and a potential ground breaking discovery falls through the cracks due to my errors and/or laziness, that could affect millions or billions of lives, as that would be one less drug/tool that MD’s can use in their toolbox for treating people.

        • John

          Sorry Olley, but PhDs have the right to call themselves Dr. And that’s the bottom line. There’s no argument.

          Splitting hairs like what you are doing is petty. I’m sure you’d be pretty pissed off if someone told you they didn’t consider you a “real” doctor because you didn’t meet some arbitrary standard eg being a brain surgeon. (You *are* a brain surgeon? Heart surgeon then. I only consider heart surgeons “real” doctors.)

          • Olley

            You’re way off the topic just like DOCTOR Scott arguing I had a better chance paying off my debts than others.

          • John

            What is off topic is arguing about whether PhDs have the right to call themselves doctor (given that the topic of the article was whether you get better service if if you have a professional title). And since I am as guilty of this as you, sir, I shall attempt to cease forthwith.

            But like it or not, they do.

  • Alan

    Wow, so quite a reaction in the comments, then! :D

    I must say I’ve no issue at all with you using the title – as you say the airlines offer it as an option (in BA’s case amongst many many other options), so you’re perfectly entitled to use it. The usage of the title that you experienced from the cabin crew is by no means unusual though and I certainly don’t think it was in any way mocking – it’s just how it is used sometimes with medical professionals, as per emrdoc’s post. I’ve had it before on Air NZ flights – it’s similar to how crew might phone the flight deck and say “that’s the cabin secure, Captain” – it’s using the professional role element of the title. As a non-medic you may just be less accustomed to that usage.

    Your attitude should the crew ask you to help with an in-flight emergency is also perfectly reasonable and sensible – although beware it may impede your sleep! I was woken from sleep on a United flight to help with a fellow passenger who was feeling unwell. It was a straightforward problem that only took 10 min to sort out (quicker than is normally the case when woken from sleep whilst being on-call!) and I was glad to be able to help, but something to bear in mind ;) Normally I think they would just put out a tannoy call but as this was an overnight flight most folk were asleep and I think I was the first one on their manifest! I must say that’s where I think Lufthansa have the right idea with their ‘Doctors on Board’ system where they clearly know who is a medical doctor and even which specialty, as well as having a copy of their medical certification on file.

  • That Dude

    Complementary not complimentary.

  • Steven

    I actually had to laugh when I read your response to Olley , regarding his length of time to obtain his Medical license to become a practicing physician, (Dr)

    Your time spent to obtain your Phd and defend your dissertation pales by comparison.
    You really showed your intellect , in that response.
    By the way where did you earn your doctorate, and what was your dissertation ??

    I am assuming a Heart surgeon, with even a new practice would be able to explain the difference to you

    • Scottrick

      We both completed undergraduate degrees in biology. So thats the same four years. Olley spent four years to get his MD, at which point I would address him a Dr. I spent five years getting my PhD.

      • S.C.

        Nah. Once we finish medical school, we technically have doctorate degree but we never get to referred as “doctor” because we don’t practice on our own while being in internship and residency. Historically, origin of calling someone’s title is to let public know he or she has a training to help others. Medical doctors don’t like to be called by their title in public because of the tagging responsibilities. A dentist was getting a coffee at a Starbucks one day. He pays for a coffee with a card that says Dr. XX. As cashier is handing back the card, she said, “Doctor, here’s your card back. Would you like a receipt?” At the end of the line there is a woman with a toddler. A toddler was playing with a toy but accidentally swallows a lego cube. He starts to choke. A woman looks directly at a man just referred as “doctor”. She instinctively grabs her child and runs to the dentist. But dentist has never done a thyro cricotomy nor knows the existence of the procedure. Was it really worth riding a title when public-awarded title didn’t do any good between life and death? Something to think about…

        Written by a surgeon who was at Boston Bombing on that faithful day of April 15 2013

        • Scottrick

          My credit card doesn’t say “Dr.” because there’s no room for a title. I also don’t see how, in your story, the dentist’s use of the title caused any harm.

          • S.C.

            It seems like you like to travel. Next time you are on a flight and a crew looks for a doctor, you raise your hand and ask for a drink because that’s exactly why they were asking for a doctor. It goes well with your reasoning. :)

    • BossHog

      People seem to be forgetting that nowadays a PhD is 5-6 years, and then 2-4 years of postdoctoral placements.

      So it really is parallel to the 4 years medical school 2-5 years residency in terms of time.

      In terms of using your title in public (e.g. credit cards, flights) I can see the point about not being able to treat people medically, and so that could cause confusion, but really it doesn’t, because if there is an emergency they don’t look through the flight manifest and start asking people one by one, they probably would make an announcement asking for doctors (OBVIOUSLY medical doctors). Or in public if someone yells for a doctor, they obviously aren’t yelling for a PhD. I do agree though, that perhaps a PhD using the title doctor on a flight could be a problem, as if they need medical help they may call on you. On a credit card i’m not decided, but I can’t see it being as big of a problem as a flight.

      Really the argument that it causes problems is largely MD’s with over inflated egos (although as I said I partially agree with the flying example).

      As a PhD scientist working on cancer, I can say that a majority of MD’s could not do my job, but I could certainly do the job of an MD with their training. I’m speaking as a top scientist in my field, so this also applies to many PhD’s that they may not be able to do what I do, but in general the skill set of a PhD and MD can be very different. This isn’t something I would ever say to anyone in person, but a few of the MD’s in these comments really have inflated egos so I feel the need to be a bit abrasive as well. I have the utmost respect for MD’s, but a lot don’t understand how crucially important PhD’s are, and how modern medicine wouldn’t exist if not for them. A PhD (at least in the core sciences) involves doing new research and thinking of new ideas that have never been done, learning all of the techniques required to do them, sometimes inventing new techniques, and publishing these never before completed experiments in peer reviewed journals (a gruelling process). Medical school is the same program as undergrad, where you are lectured and you study books, and you regurgitate facts and pass tests. YES there is problem solving and diagnosis later on, and yes it is high stress and life or death sometimes, but you are learning and applying previous attained knowledge. I am creating and discovering NEW knowledge for you to use. The two are very different and the latter is much more intellectually challenging. You may work longer hours than me often, and you may deal with saving lives directly, where I only deal with saving lives indirectly (although with the potential to affect millions with my discoveries), but we are BOTH very important. So please don’t look down upon a PhD because they have chosen a different path, I think to be a successful PhD and a successful MD it takes very similar levels of dedication and ability.

      I design and conceptualize from the ground up, the machines, instruments, and drugs that you prescribe and use to treat your patients. Without the genius of scientists (and I don’t consider myself a genius scientist, to be clear), medical doctors would still be using leaches and inspecting humours and such. And I now that some MD’s do research, but it is typically clinical research, taking fundamental discoveries of PhD’s and applying them (VERY important, but also very different than fundamentally discovering something new). On the other hand, the MD has the extremely difficult job of working with sick people and fighting for peoples lives. If I fail an experiment in the lab, I go home bummed out, but nobody dies. On the other hand, if i’m negligent and bad at my job, and a potential ground breaking discovery falls through the cracks due to my errors and/or laziness, that could affect millions or billions of lives, as that would be one less drug/tool that MD’s can use in their toolbox for treating people.

  • S.C.

    As a surgeon here, public only refer us as a doctor way of distinguishing ourselves with others in case of urgent medical help. It’s not just a fancy title we like to be accompanied with. In flight, let’s say flight crew is desperate looking for a doctor to help someone with stroke. First thing they will look into will be passenger manifest see if who has Dr. title. If you happen to be in a flight where only Ph.Ds are on, not only you wasted a valuable time of a flight crew whom could have dedicated those time to revive the stroke passenger. I dont against people using doctor title but be cautious about responsibility that follows you as well. – Surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess & Harvard Medical School

  • Ian

    This is a very interesting discussion. I earned a PhD and through hard work (as much hard work as an MD) I was conferred the title. It is not reserved for MDs only. I agree with Scott that if anybody is going to ask for a title they should offer one’s correct, conferred title, otherwise, simply ask for first and last name as in the passport and forget titles. It’s interesting to read here how many MDs love themselves and hate others referring to themselves as Doctors! They are different to my MD friends who see their degree as any other degree. When I fly with an airline where I get to enter my correct title, often they refer to me as Dr. However, don’t be so down on the intelligence of the FAs to assume they have only ever heard of MDs. I chat to quite a few FAs and often I am asked what area my doctorate was in. They don’t assume I have a medical degree. Do titles get you better service. I think it simply depends on the person serving you. Do they respect education? Do they know how difficult it is and how much work it takes to get such a title? What is their background, upbringing and experience of life!

    • Amy

      That’s a sensible, educated response! Thanks!

  • B LovePhDc

    Physicians stole the moniker doctor to earn more trust because most could not earn a living practicing alone. Harvard pumped out the first unusual MD to european shock, as noted with BMBS (undergraduate) degree and another poster below. A doctor is an educator. Look it up. Know your own history MD,s, DO’s.

    I hate that physicians feel they are true doctors when nothing could be further from the historical truth.Look up the history of AMA next time you’re sitting around flying. Try adding new knowledge when you earn your degree like writing a dissertation and not just stumble around during internship following a physician who knows what she’s doing then tell me how hard you had it.
    Academically, an MD is a lower doctorate then a phd. I’m dine, tired of educating so called dr’s. Read a book people, you physicians sound like fools

    • joe

      Dentists do not ‘only have their first professional degree’, In Australia we study a minimum of 7-8 years which comprises atleast one undergraduate degree and a minimum 4 years postgraduate degree in Dentistry (often at masters level with research). The 4 year postgrad comprises 2 years of medicine which is sat with the medicine students and we sit all of their exams (except limb anatomy).
      Have you actually completed a medical or dentistry degree? Because many of us Dentists are former phd students ourselves and laugh when you lot rant and rave about the title.
      I will use my title as ‘Dr’ thankyou very much.

  • ff

    I am shocked, while reading the comments, to see how many medical doctor have a problem with doctors of other domains to use their title. For sure, we all know about the common misinterpretation of the title doctor by the general public, but we usually mock these people by making jokes like buying a t-shirt that says “trust me, I’m a doctor” to our recently graduated friend.

    However, I would expect from highly educated people, such as medical doctors, to know that if the majority believes something, it doesn’t make it correct. Everyone who has a doctorate is a doctor and this is a fact. If a flight attendant or anyone else needs a medic, he should call for a medic and not for a doctor. If someone calls for a doctor and doesn’t need someone with a doctorate degree, he’s the one that is mistakenly using the term doctor.

    Debating on if one with a doctorate degree should be called a doctor, makes as much sense to me as debating on if someone who drives a bus should be called a driver.

    ps. In Greece, we don’t have this confusion. A medical doctor is refereed to as “iatros”, while a doctor is referred to as “doktoras”. In any sort of emergency people would call for the former