Adventures in First Class

A ticket for a first class airplane seat is not something I usually spring for. In the past, it’s only something that’s been granted after dealing with canceled flights and other airport headaches. So after the latest airline debacle, holding a first class ticket was a godsend—or so I thought.

It all started out well. A priority ticket allowed us to skip long check-in and security lines. We waited for our flight with visions of champagne and leg room dancing in our head. When the time came to board, we were the first group called. We practically skipped to the front of the line. Our tickets were scanned, then it happened. The dreaded beep of the machine. A beep that signaled an unforeseen issue.

This entire trip was fraught with unforeseen issues: cancelled flights, an overnight at the airport, stand-by limbo, added cost of chartered flights. So when we’re told our coveted first class seats are blocked by the airline, and we had to step out of line, it was more than just an issue. It was the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Seems as though our seats were now designated for the pilot to take a rest. Never flying in first class, I didn’t know if this was a regular occurrence or not. I knew that pilots were on strict restrictions as to the hours they fly, but I didn’t know if this was related. All I did know was that I stood watching everyone else board a flight I so desperately wanted to board, no matter what seat I was in.

After the last group was called, we’re finally handed two different tickets, still first class, crisis averted—right?

Boarding the plane, I noticed I wasn’t sitting next to my travel companion. Fine, whatever, just let us get home. As I start to sit, a kind gentleman asked if my father and I would like to sit together! Things were looking up! That is until I felt my pants touch a cold, wet seat. Seems as though my current seat mate had spilled his first class beer as I was in the process of sitting.

Do I let the nice man switch now? Well, no, the spiller is forced to take the wet seat. Giving the gentleman a dry window view. Until another passenger, a military vet, comes to first class and bumps him back to coach.

Feeling guilty, and still a little wet, I try to settle in to my fancy surroundings. I test the adjustable recliner, order a complimentary beverage, and cheers my father to almost being home. This is when a gate agent comes to the front to make an important announcement.

So far, all announcements have been bad news. Any time someone utters the words, “because of the recent hurricane damage” I hold my breath and brace for impact. Turns out this time the devastation is the reason for the lack of catering first class passengers are accustomed to. I exhale. We’re told that “locale fare” will be available. This arrives later in the form of bologna sandwiches. Fancy indeed. Apparently too fancy for my system, since it has me rushing to the tiny cabin loo multiple times during the flight. Maybe I’m not cut out for first class after all. After the events of this airport experience, I’ll be taking a much-needed vacation from vacationing for a while.

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