In any other circumstance, I’d fight off my drowsiness just enough to board the plane, find my seat, and close my eyes, determined not to open them again until my flight lands at its destination. But this is not a normal morning. Today, I’m flying first class, and I don’t intend to miss out on the experience.
I’m not sure how many flights I’ll take in any given season, but I’m certain that at most, a first-class upgrade comes my way maybe twice. Most times, the upgrade comes on a short flight, one in which it’s nearly impossible to truly take advantage.
But for just the second time ever, I’m taking a cross-country flight in the comfort of first class, which is why I’m guzzling this cup of coffee. Though I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll fall asleep at some point, I’m going to stay awake as long as I can, at least long enough to enjoy some of my favorite parts of the first-class experience.
And mostly, that consists of watching the other passengers wallow in their misery.
I know this misery well. Flying is a mostly tedious and joyless experience. The cramped conditions, the security lines, the hassle… no fun. One of the low points of getting on the plane is having to pass by all those privileged blowhards in first class. As you’re worried about overhead bin space, they’re sitting in their oversized seats sipping on free booze. Few situations generate this level of resent.
Which is why there are few things better than suddenly finding yourself on the other side of the equation, when you realize that you are now that privileged blowhard.
They say that the biggest jump in sports is going from hitting Triple-A pitching to hitting Major League pitching. I say they the biggest jump in transportation is going from coach to first class. The faces tell you all you need to know.
If you’re lucky, your first-class seat gives you a direct line of sight with the door, where you can study the fury on the faces of the ham-and-eggers as they shuffle to the back of the cabin. I like to imagine them looking at me and wondering why they’d let such a shabbily dressed hobo sit in such a premium spot. I like to think that they’re wondering whether their upgrade had been given to me by mistake. I doubt that any of these irrational thoughts race through a normal person’s head. But it’s more fun to think that they do, and to think of their fury.
I find that the experience is enhanced with a drink.
As an added bonus, for this flight I’ve got Seat 1A, which should afford a pretty decent view.
Once the boarding process is finished, and the flight attendant closes the curtain separating first class from the proletariat, my next objective will be to stay awake long enough to have breakfast.
Honestly, I’m not even a huge fan. There’s always something off about the eggs. Not off by much, but just enough to know something isn’t quite right. Also, I’m never quite sure of what the dessert should be. It has the look and texture of some kind of pudding though it clearly isn’t pudding. And the bowl of fruit is composed mostly of sliced pieces of cantaloupe and honeydew melon, both of which I make my throat itch. If I eat enough of them, my throat starts to close.
No matter. I’m going to eat the fruit anyway, because that’s how they roll in first class.
Or, more to the point, that’s how we roll in first class.
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