Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Must Be in the Front Row

On my flight to the east coast, I was lucky enough to be in first class for only the second time in my life that I can remember. (Actually, luck had little to do with it—my father used a lot of Delta miles to fly me home for his own birthday—thanks, Dad!)

It was great—just like when I was little. For one thing, the service is ridiculously good. My sister and I were once on a trip where the flight attendant happened to mention that the flight had “non-stop service” to wherever we were going. We knew what that meant, but we cracked ourselves up imagining that the phrase meant that the flight attendants would be waiting on us hand and foot to the point of exhaustion, stuffing us full of peanuts and Seven-Up every second of the flight.

This was kind of like that. My flight attendant knew my name, and was constantly coming by with the snack basket and offering refills on my coffee (which came in big coffeehouse cups, not those depressing six-ounce Styrofoam things that make you feel like you’re waiting to pick your car up at the shop). Breakfast was huge, and pretty good (frittata and a bagel). And the room! That’s another way I felt like a child again. My feet touched the floor, but my knees didn’t hit the seat in front of me, and more significantly, my thighs didn’t touch the armrests. It was like being tiny again, right down to the sugar buzz.

I only have one small disappointment. Normally, of course, I travel cattle class, and that almost always means that as I board the plane, I trudge past the swells in first class, already seated and sipping their sunrise screwdrivers. And I always sneak a peak, a little bit out of longing, but mostly because I’m checking to see if anyone famous is on the plane. Am I the only one who does this? I wouldn’t have thought so, but I didn’t get so much as a single look from anyone who filed past.

I guess I have to admit that it’s possible I don’t look remotely like a rock star. And it may be that famous people don’t usually entertain themselves on board aircraft by making themselves sick on soda pop and trying to catch the eye of every passenger on the plane. I’ll have to remember that next time. (And in the meantime, I’m going to buy a really big pair of sunglasses and a floppy hat to cultivate that conspicuously inconspicuous look.)

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