Putting the Ass Back in First Class

This stewardess is getting ready to perform back surgery on a passenger, one of the perks of flying first class.

Well, it finally happened. My husband, Mr. Silver Medallion frequent-flyer, got upgraded to first class on a flight. He grabbed it - couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough - and left his wife and daughter in steerage.


I rarely complain about air travel. I consider myself lucky enough to be flying in an aer-o-plane, something that used to be reserved for the rich and adventurous. (Why do you think they call them jet setters?) People who complain about the inconvenience of air travel are in the same category of people who complain about the room service in Europe. If you’re blessed enough to be there, complaining about it doesn’t make you classy. We can see through that, you know.

So I really don’t mind riding in coach with the rest of the mouth-breathing, fidgety, chatty populists. I don’t mind being confined to a chair that is roughly the same size as my body. I don’t complain if my tray table is crooked or if there are bed bugs in my blanket. Foot room? If there’s room for my foot, it’s enough. Maybe I’m jealous, but I just don’t see the advantage of riding in first class.

We once checked out the cost differences between flying first class and flying coach. It was going to be a long flight and my husband was muttering something about deep vein thrombosis and how undignified it would be to die of a blood clot in international air space.  The first class seat was thousands of dollars more than the coach seat. A quick check of Expedia says that a non-stop flight from West Palm Beach to New York in early December will run you $168. That same flight in first class is $928. There is a flight to Beijing that will run you more than $15,000, because you’re in first class. What are they doing up there behind that curtain? Really, I want to know. With $15,000, you could buy a nice car. Or put a down-payment on a house. Or you could stretch out your legs on an airplane ride.

Given the choice, I'd curl up inside a dog crate with a couple of Xanax, tough it out and take the difference in cash. I can think of about 15,000 things to spend that money on, and not just at the duty free shop.

At least my husband didn’t pay for his upgrade. Still, he took no small amount of glee in bragging about how he would be riding with the rich people while my daughter and I were back with the masses.

“So did you get a hot towel?” I asked him as sarcastically as I could. “No,” he answered. “But I got a back rub.”

He better have been kidding.

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