Coach Flies First Class

Posted on April 27, 2022


Life in the Boomer Lane has just returned from visiting her First Born and his Family in Seattle. While there, she contracted a nasty cold. She had the opportunity to fly first class when returning to DC and grabbed it. This would be her first time flying first class.

When Group One was called to the gate, LBL felt like she was going up to receive an Oscar. She glided past all of the persons waiting (probably wondering what famous person she was) and took her rightful place in the line, way up front, behind a woman who looked to be about her same age. The woman glared at her. LBL didn’t understand why. The woman kept glaring, until LBL finally processed that the line of people waiting were also first class travelers. She slunk to the end of the line, muttering apologies.

Inside the plane, she found her seat. Her seatmate was the same woman who had been glaring at her in line.

Her son had assured her that she would have wi-fi on the flight, as long as she had her United app on her phone. Done. A friend had shown her how to download a movie to her phone. She paid $5.99 and uploaded it at her son’s house. Done. She had her new iPhone earbuds in her purse.

About five minutes after taking off, she coughed. Her formerly glaring seatmate looked her in the eye and loudly demanded, “Is that a Covid cough?” LBL was prepared. “No,” she answered, “It’s an asthma cough.” Her seatmate expressed concern about her asthma and then immediately vacated her seat and disappeared. About 30 seconds later, an announcement was made, asking if there were any medical personnel onboard. LBL sat rigidly in her seat, waiting for medically-trained passengers to rush over, examine her, and then wrestle her to the ground. She expected to have to spend the 4.5 hour flight in one of the overheads. In reality, nothing happened. Another passenger was requiring assistance. LBL had overcome her first hurdle.

Her seatmate returned, pulled out literature that appeared to be medical in nature and began to read intently. LBL looked at her cell screen, eager to be able to tell her son that she was in the air. She kept receiving messages saying that she had no internet connection. It took her about 30 minutes to realize that although she had downloaded the United app, she needed to actually sign onto the site to access wi-fi. Her account info was tucked safely in her suitcase in the overhead.

Instead, she decided to watch the $5.99 movie she had downloaded onto her phone. The film was there, a huge success. But she soon realized she hadn’t charged her earbuds. Not so much a success.

She stared at the screen in front of her, deciding to see what United offered in the way of films. Sure enough, there was the very same film she had already paid $5.99 for. But the flight attendant was nowhere in sight, and LBL had no headphones. She picked up her Kindle and realized that she had neglected to download the book she wanted to read. Failing all else, she watched the $5.99 free movie without sound. It was easy enough in the beginning to understand that Lady Gaga was throwing herself at some wealthy Italian. After that, there was a lot of conversation between members of the wealthy Italian family that LBL couldn’t follow anything.

LBL sat quietly in her seat, concentrating on one Solitaire game after another. A flight attendant appeared and asked her if she were joining them for dinner. She was already down $5.99, so she declined. All the other first class passengers were then served heaping trays of some kind of food. LBL waited until the trays were being collected and asked the flight attendant if she could have some pretzels or crackers.

“We don’t have that in first class,” she was told. “I can go back to coach and see if they have anything left over,” she offered. When the flight attendant left, LBL turned to her glaring, Covid-suspicious seatmate and asked her if she had paid for her dinner. She was told that dinner was included in the price of first class.

When the flight attendant returned, she handed LBL three tiny bags of pretzels. LBL expressed her deep gratitude. She also brought LBL the headphones she had requested. It took quite some time for LBL to not find where to plug in the headphones. She didn’t want to bother the flight attendant again and certainly not her glaring, Covid-suspicious seatmate. Hours later, she was able to locate the tiny port for the headphones, leaving her not enough time to watch Lady Gaga take over the Gucci empire. Instead, she watched an episode of The Office, a show she had never seen before. The episode involved a lot of boxes of pizza, which did nothing to make the pretzels any more satisfying.

When the plane landed, LBL exited, took the shuttle to the main terminal and seamlessly ended up on the wrong level for her friend to pick her up. She found another exiting passenger and said, “Excuse me, I seem to be lost. Where do first class passengers go to be picked up?” The exiting passenger glared at her and kept walking.

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