I’m no great fan of airlines. Yet I’m amazed by them and I marvel at the complex logistics involved in moving millions of passengers a year without inciting riots. Occasionally I fantasize about them (namely, flying business or first in an a-380). Mostly I suffer them like those without private jets do: as a necessary evil. My principal gripes are with their perverse economics as well as their usually indifferent, frequently rude, and on occasion outright falsified approach to shuttling said multi-million homo galactics from gateway to ground each day.
Grace was on our side this morning, however: everyone has been lovely so far. It helped that the only staff we encountered post-taxista were the security guard (gladdeningly indifferent and efficient), a thoroughly delightful woman at the front desk of the admirals’ club, and a pleasant young woman in the newstand who asked if I found everything I was looking for. It helps also that when you fly first class you can board the plane whenever the hell you feel like it; you have your own express entry to the gangplank (what on earth is that long corridor called?) and they greet you as “Mister –.”
I write these dangerous words with a bit of trepidation. Having spoken pleasantly of the morning’s flying experience – up through and including the satisfactory breakfast service on board the plane – I worry a little bit that I overpaid on my good fortune somewhere between home and here and that karma is going to ask for a refund once we land in new york.
In any event.
Dare I say it: the 767 is a lovely plane. Sexy. Like a private lounge for 36 blessed travelers. I don’t know what it looks like in the behind, but up front it’s quite delicious. Almost better than–. (Well. No. No need to get carried away.) There’s almost an excess of space up here in the front. Arvin confirmed as much as we settled in, he shifting around his bag and our water bottles and the full-size pillow and comforter that come with the seat (yes, comforter, no wispy acrylic thing with other people’s hair stuck to it). He leaned over and whispered as he tested the array of buttons that control the seat: “There’s so much room I don’t know what to do.”
I then knelt down to get the hand sanitizer from his bag, which was tucked fully beneath the seat ahead of him. Remembering the near-impossibility of extracting anything from beneath the seat in front of you when in coach, I silently chastised myself for even contemplating the notion that first class accommodations are a profligate use of aerospace.
(And if by any chance you’re in the back of the plane while reading this, rest assured that I don’t approve of this sort of airborne extravagance. One of my persistent pet peeves is the disparity between upper classes of service and the chiropractic crisis otherwise known as Economy, and I firmly believe that there must be an alternative to forcing people to fly cheaply in what is the homo sapien equivalent of a veal cage. As the stewards bring around champagne and orange juice in tiny stemmed plastic glassware set upon trays, I’m reminded that there IS an alternative. It’s called the bus.)