On my return flight from a recent business trip, a series of events and my “elite” status, for the first time ever, upgraded me to a seat in first class. I was overcome with excitement, as I’d never pay extra for first class even if I had the money, but it was nice to receive the benefits of being a loyalist of the airline I fly all the time.
When my name was called to the desk a few minutes before boarding, I was concerned I was going to be bumped off the flight. Instead, I was handed a new boarding pass — seat 2B.
For a minute, I thought I just got moved. But then it hit me… 2 meant 2nd row, and 2nd row meant first class.
In the brief minutes before boarding, I daydreamed about what it would be like in first class… after all, flying coach hundreds of times, I always assumed first class was an incredible experience worth the extra cost. Weren’t the seats going to be so posh? Was there going to be special entertainment? Would the bathroom be large enough to turn around in and not smell so darned disgusting?
Then, I looked down at my clothes and realized that it was very clear that I was an “upgrader,” a middle class gal flying first class due to my elite mileage status (thanks to so much work travel.) I started to get a bit nervous… more about all those people sitting in economy who would be walking past the first class seats, as I normally did, glancing over the first classers and wondering who these people are and why they are willing to spend so much on a flight from point A to B. I was going to be one of those people.
As a first classer, I boarded early and sat in my seat. It was definitely more cushy and roomier than an economy seat, but I still couldn’t find a comfortable way to sit in the chair. Shortly after boarding the flight attendant took our drink orders for before the flight took off. Apparently, booze is free in first class. I ordered a bloody mary to calm my nerves, and because the man across the aisle also ordered a bloody mary and I wanted to fit in. One thing that hadn’t changed was how the flight attendant came by about two minutes later forcibly collecting the drinks, even if you weren’t finished. I drink slow, so I hid mine and she didn’t bother me.
After takeoff, another drink was offered. Another bloody mary. What the hell, I’m in first class.
The back-of-the-seat televisions were identical to those in economy (on this airline) but I didn’t have to pay $6 extra to watch for the entire flight. Score. I watched American Idol. A very middle class thing to do in first class, but I didn’t care. Others seemed to be watching business news or sports.
I had stuffed myself on airport food before boarding the plane, as I wasn’t aware I was to be upgraded to the fine dining portion of the plane. The only option left, when they got to my seat, was prime rib, or something like that, which sounded fancy but wasn’t something I eat. I had some chicken soup that was very good and some more alcohol. They poured wine for everyone with dinner. I wasn’t about to refuse. That wouldn’t be very posh of me, now would it?
The biggest disappointment, I must say, was the first class bathroom. It was identical to the bathroom in economy, except, of course, less people were using it. But I really wanted it to be some other color at least, something exciting and fancy. It wasn’t.
When I landed, I returned to my regular middle class regime. I certainly didn’t mind flying first class for once in my life, and if I get that “upgrade” call again, I’ll be fast to accept the offer.