I’ve traveled first class about half a dozen times in my life. Almost every one of them was a fluke. Like the time I actually wore dressy clothes to travel and was handed a new boarding pass at the gate. Or the time I somehow managed to pay $200 for a business class seat from Frankfurt to Toronto (best $200 I ever spent!).
I can’t afford to book first class. I don’t have enough frequent flyer miles to get unlimited upgrades. I’m definitely in the category of “economy traveler”! I’ve spent most of my travel time crammed among 100 of my closest friends!
So when I do get that rare opportunity to sit up front with the ‘important’ people, I handle it with the style and grace of someone with two left feet.
The warm damp cloth comes out, presented to me with tongs. I say thank you and look nervously around at my fellow frequent flyers before nervously patting my face and hands with it.
I try to act nonchalant when I order my free drinks, as if I spend my entire life drinking free booze. Then I try to sneak a photo or selfie of me basking in the ‘First Class Glow’.
Then there’s the time both my husband and I get upgraded and despite having just eaten a full meal during the layover, accept the in-flight pasta dinner and eat the whole thing, washed down with as many alcoholic beverages as the flight length will allow.
You might think that it can’t get any better than that. But you’re wrong.
I accidentally stumbled across the PRIVATE JET. All of a sudden, I have somehow stepped it up a thousand notches. I have effectively avoided the pain and hassle of the AIRPORT. That moment when you drive right up to the plane, hop on with whatever you want in your bag: full-sized shampoo, 500 mL of bottled water, nail clippers, a knife.
This is undiscovered territory. But avoiding security is not even the best part. The immediate take off. This 15 minute timeline between arrival at the airfield and airborne. It’s almost too good to be true. How can I ever go back to flying commercial?
But I have to. I have no choice. I’m just not rich enough/important enough/frequent enough.
But now, every time I fly, I wistfully remember what it was like to skip the 30 minute security check, the 2 hour wait, the 45 minutes of trying to cram 100+ bodies into a flying metal tube.
A fleeting memory.
The reminder of what I’ll probably never experience again. But I’d never trade that one opportunity for anything. For one exciting flight, I got to experience the best form of long-distance travel until we figure out teleportation…