Flying First Class – Lessons Learned.Posted: June 2, 2010
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=delta+jet&iid=1022956″ src=”f/d/4/5/US_Airline_Industry_5089.jpg?adImageId=13067247&imageId=1022956″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]This week, I crossed over. For a few brief hours I was not one of us. I was one of them. I flew first class.
To be sure, this was not of my doing. I traveled to a conference and had booked a coach ticket befitting my role as a public servant. An airline screw up caused me to miss my connecting flight before my first flight ever left the ground. While we waited back at the gate until it was time to try to take off again the airline rebooked me and gave me a seat in first class on my new connecting flight. I learned a lot on the other side of the curtain, my friends. Allow me to pass on my new-found knowledge to you.
When I have boarded a plane in the past and passed through First Class on my way to my seat, I’ve wondered. Wondered what those people who got on the plane early, already sitting in their fancy seats were thinking. Now I know. People in First Class are thinking “if you’d get your poor backside through the curtain and sit down I could get where I’m going”. They don’t think much of you and your sort. I know because I’m the one who thought it.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=airplane+bathroom&iid=2111573″ src=”b/3/b/5/Delta_Unveils_LowFare_ea64.jpg?adImageId=13067315&imageId=2111573″ width=”234″ height=”162″ /]In addition, First Class passengers don’t like it when you come back through the curtain during the flight to use the forward lavatory. They kind of dig it when the flight attendant sends you back behind the curtain to do your dirty business.
There are drinks before the plane leaves the ground in First Class. I was able to enjoy a good beer while I watched the masses stream back toward steerage. I had another in flight. They brought them to me free, with a glass, the way I deserved. Also, the beverage cart does not come into First Class. Drinking off a cart, from a plastic cup? No, no.
The seats are much nicer in front of the curtain. I know you know that from looking at them. I thought I knew how much nicer. I didn’t, I do now. To start out, you are not forced by limited space to cuddle with the person next to you. You are in your seat, the person next to you is in their seat, over there. If you choose to become familiar with them, it is because you wish to, not because you might as well since they’ll be touching you for the next several hours. Oh and the padding on the seats. My God, the padding. It is not painful to fly first class. The seats nestle you and remind you how special you are.
Is life in front of the curtain all luxury and delight? No. Let me tell you about the problems.
First, sitting in First Class is not an indicator of personal class. The man I sat with was repeatedly flatulent. I learned that the ventilation in First Class is in no way enhanced. It seems things like manners, mercy and common decency are also not enhanced by a person’s presence in front of the curtain.
In coach you’re usually given a tiny bag of pretzels or nuts, if you get a snack at all. In first class, you’re presented a basket full of options. It is important to select carefully. A Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup does not go well with a beer.
Finally, a lesson that stunned me. First class passengers luggage does not travel with them on the same plane. Apparently it follows the passenger on a separate luggage jet. This is so they don’t have to handle their luggage at all. The First Class passenger simply gets off the plane and goes to a special office. In that office, a nice woman tells him his luggage is leaving Atlanta on the special luggage plane. All the First Class passenger need carry to the hotel is the special Delta Air Lines toiletry kit the nice woman gives him. This apparently helps the luggage eventually reunite with its owner.
First Class passengers are not like us, my friends. They are looking down their noses at us in coach. Their world is different. So the next time you board a plane and your carry on bumps someone already in one of those cushy seats, don’t apologize. That person was already thinking bad stuff about you.