Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First Class Blues

An aside: Since we stayed with friends and didn’t have to shell out the pesos for a hotel room, we indulged on our recent trip to Mexico City and upgraded our flight to first class both ways. The upside is obvious. The downside is that we never want to travel in steerage again.

While it was instructive—and hell, it was fun!--finding out how good those in front of the aisle curtain have it, the fawning was a bit much. You’d think the flight attendants were working for tips. Just give me the comfy seat, the legroom, the nice meal and the bottomless bottle of wine. But please lay off the overabundance of attention. The average American simply isn’t used to such fussing. It’s embarrassing when a flight attendant who is smaller than I grabs my bag from me and heaves it into the overhead compartment, her smile locked firmly in place.

I suppose the sensible thing to do is research which airlines have the comfiest seats and the most leg room in the economy section, and try to stick to flying those. That way I can enjoy the more reasonably-priced flight (which is getting increasingly expensive even as I type this) with my own stash of eats—typically French bread, a couple of good cheeses, a few olives, a piece of fruit and some good-quality chocolate, and just purchase a glass of wine on board.

Still, it’s nice sharing the lavatory with just the pilot, the co-pilot and a handful of other folks up front. There never seems to be a line or a mess. I whined to Andy that we probably shouldn’t have upgraded, that it will forever remind us of what we’re missing as we schlep through the first class cabin on the way to the cramped quarters in back on our future flights. His response? “’tis better to have loved first class and lost than never to have flown first class at all . . .”

Next time I’ll book economy for Andy and first class for myself. That’ll show him what happens when he goes Tennyson on me!

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