Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Orleans Trip #1: First Class All the Way!

Here I sit at a Laguardia Airport departure gate, chastened.

As everyone knows, air travel has become unendurable. So I've been avoiding the whole scene. But it was time to go to New Orleans, and I have a slew of frequent flyer miles, so I splurged, and paid double miles to go first class!

First class! Woo!

I arrived at the airport, and proceeded to what I assumed was the first class check-in - there was a sleek hush, and only three people waiting on line. But no. That was coach. A bit further down (wait...I'm WALKING to 1st class check-in? My dormant sense of entitlement piques. I don't walk. Let the cattle walk. I'm first class, and this is an outrage!

But after WALKING like TWO HUNDRED FEET to the first class check in (sleekly hushed with three people waiting on line), I asked the check-in agent if she could lay a few of those small liquor bottles on me to tide me over till the flight. The insolent worker replied "No drinking in the lobby!". Like my comfort was some sort of joke for her or something. Can you imagine? This is someone who KNOWS how ultra-special I am!  After all, she just checked me in. Into First Class!

I peeked into the VIP Admiral's Club door, inquiring as to whether my first class ticket entitles me to privileges. "Are you an Admiral's Club member?" I was asked. Something about the situation transformed me into Larry David (worse, TELEVISION Larry David). I replied:

"What if I said "Yes"?"

"Sir, if you're a member, you're welcome to use the club"

"Really? I've been spending hundreds of dollars each year for my club membership, and never realized, until you just told me, that I'd be allowed in! So, wait, to review: you're telling me that if I'm a MEMBER, that means I'm ALLOWED TO COME IN?"

"That's correct, sir."

"Well you know what? I don't need your lousy club," I sniffed, and headed to my gate.

At the gate sat the few dozen passengers, total, who'd be flying on my enormous jumbo jet. I could have had an entire row to myself in coach, though I'll be seated next to Mr. Suede in Shades up in first class, watching him mainline Vitamin C to address the nasty cold he's obviously nursing.

They called for first class passengers to board first, but by the time I reached the jetway, they'd also invited all passengers in the rear 50 rows to board. I shuffled glacially up the tube with the hoi polloi, my trombone constantly bustled by the chatty, twitchy woman on a cell phone behind me. When I reached my seat, I found that all the overheads, even in first class, were full.

First class! Woo!

Read the next installment (#2)


Val in Seattle said...

Had a similar experience when I paid to upgrade my seat on Continental.

I call it "First Class Rustic".

No fee to check my bag
Wider seat, more legroom
Beverages served in glassware. (This means a lot to me.)

No admittance to the special lounge.
Flight attendant was storing supplies in the bin above my head. She opened and slammed the hatch at least once an hour.
First class curtain was left open and our restroom was shared with coach.

It was a 6 hour flight, so I was glad to have the extra comfort. But my inner elitist was unsatisfied.

Anonymous said...

Minor usage point, it's not incorrect per se, but "hoi" means "the" in Greek, so hoi polloi need no other introduction.

Upper class tickets definitely get you into the airline lounges while you wait for international flights. I don't tend to upgrade domestically because the flights and waits are shorter so I can't speak to that, but having an Amex platinum card will also get you into the lounges.

There are sometimes multiple levels of lounge, so it's possible you were entitled to a different lounge than you looked into.

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