First Class

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There's a well-known, if not nefarious, marketing technique pushers use- give away a little of the good stuff, get them hooked, they’ll be jonesing for more. I knew better, but I fell for it anyway. I think I might be an addict.

I was flying to Portland to visit my granddaughter. I purchased my ticket using points. For some inexplicable reason, the airline put me in first class. 

I’ve never been in first class - ever. I stared at the seating chart. Every seat available. My first reaction was to choose seat 1A. I happily clicked the button. I wondered whether 1A was a newbie mistake. I suspected it might be, but I just couldn’t help myself. If I was going to have one shot at first class, it would be in seat 1A.

My first class ticket allowed me to use the priority line at security. I felt giddy with excitement. I made eye contact with a few of the less fortunate zigzagging their way through the impossibly long line and I felt a twinge of guilt. Thankfully I didn't have time to dwell on it. I was whisked quickly through the process, shoes intact. 

The extra half an hour the priority line saved me was put to good use. I had time to hunt for the things I would need to see me through my journey. I needed a cliff bar and a huge bottle of water.

A cliff bar will keep me satisfied for a good four to five hours. It just sits there in my stomach like a brick. No need for me to wait for those tiny packages of broken crackers that only make you hungrier. 

I waited anxiously at the gate and stepped forward when they called for first class passengers. I boarded the plane and sat down in seat 1A. Almost immediately the flight attendant was at my side.

"Hello Ms. McIntyre, would you like a pre-flight drink?"

I was stunned. No flight attendant had ever called me by name. They barely made eye contact with you back in coach. A pre-flight drink? Yes, please!

I sat sipping my drink while the coach passengers boarded. I caught the suspicious glances of some of them as they passed by. I suspected they knew I wasn't first class material. I belonged in the back with them.  

I always wondered why people would pay more to sit in first class. After all, we all get to the destination at the same time. I didn't get it.

The day I flew in first class was the day I understood. The flight attendant was constantly asking if I needed anything. When I asked for a glass of water, I expected the small plastic cup filled with about 2 ounces. What I got was a nice real glass. Every time the water level fell below the halfway mark, the flight attendant was right there, filling it up again. I had no need for the gigantic bottle of water I was toting. 

The man sitting next to me was so far away that we never even bumped elbows. There was plenty of leg room, my seat actually reclined. Life was good on the other side of the flimsy curtain. 

There was a constant stream of snacks, offers of more beverages, blankets in sealed packages. I looked up from my laptop to see the flight attendant offering me a hot towel. Then she gave me a choice of three different breakfast options. I didn't even know they had actual food on the plane. 

The cliff bar was doing it's job and I didn't need anything to eat but how could I say no? I chose the cheese omelette. I couldn't believe it when it was served on a real plate with real silverware and a real cloth napkin. Was this a dream? 

Being in seat 1A meant I was the first one off the plane. No waiting in the seemingly endless line as one annoying person after another tried to push through the crowded aisle instead of waiting their turn. 

I got to the baggage claim and guess who's bag was the first to arrive? Yep, it was mine. I grabbed it and was on my way, just like that. I just had the best flight experience of my life but I resigned myself to the fact that it would probably be my last. That was last November.

I'm in Portland today visiting my granddaughter again. I flew up yesterday. When I made the arrangements for the trip a month ago, I knew I had been hooked. I fell for the airline's evil plan, hook, line, and sinker. 

I chose seat 1A again. I have been on the other side of the curtain and I never want to go back. 

Darci McIntyreComment