I should have shared this story long time ago but as they say better late than never and the first day of 2013 seems a good choice for this post.
On the Air Canada flight from Frankfurt to Toronto, there’s a striking difference between business class and economy, like the difference between West and East Berlin before the wall fell. On the plane the wall is replaced by a curtain, which, although it is neither made of iron nor guarded by snipers, does discourage those in coach from peeking into the business class side.
It reminds me of a scene from Seinfeld, where Jerry and Elaine are offered only one free upgrade on a flight. Jerry takes it, insisting he can no longer fly coach as he has flown first class before and therefore knows the difference. Elaine, on the other hand, doesn’t know what she’s missing, and so won’t mind coach as much. It’s kind of a twisted logic, but I understand what he means.
It’s no wonder politicians cling so hard to power – once you’ve traveled first class you’re loath to sit in the back of the plane with the commoners. The fact that I didn’t pay for first class this time, but used a certificate to upgrade, makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
At dinner time, I’m the first to choose my meal. The flight attendant informs me this is because I’m the only Super Elite in first class. I assume this means I’m the only one on the whole plane. I’m elated – my ego gets as big as Mt. Everest. I try to say something – can’t remember what – but my voice is strangled with emotion. Finally I regain my composure.
I tell the flight attendant that I would not mind they announced on the speakers the fact that a Super Elite is among us, of course they would have to interrupt the flight entertainment but it is worth it. They could also organize a draw, and 3 lucky winners would get the chance to speak to me. I would talk about my experiences, ups and downs, tribulations, how it is to be Super Elite and the fact that with the privileges responsibilities come too. Naturally, at the end, I would be open to a 15-minute autograph session at my seat.
I would only take a break to indulge in some Champagne Drappier Carted’Or Brut, “Voted the best Champagne in the air in 2006, it delivers powerful notes of peach and dried fruits on the nose”. This would come in handy as I have a stuffed nose due to some kind of inconvenient headcold. Actually, I would prefer the drink the best Champagne on earth, or at least something in the top 10, but you take what you can get. If this Champagne was voted best in the air, I wonder if there is a correspondent vote for best on the sea (i.e., on cruise-ships), and perhaps even the best under the water (served on nuclear submarines). My menu tells me to direct any questions I may have to the in-flight wine expert.
Of course, if I get bored with Champagne, I could sip some Dow’s Port, which confers “freshness on the palate after each sip”.
But I digress. The flight attendant, thanking me for my offer, leaves my side. Thirty minutes pass; an hour; nothing happens. No announcement. I assume they’re busy, or that the flight attendant has forgotten – but no matter. I’ve already thought of another idea.
I could hang my Super Elite card around my neck and walk both aisles up and down perhaps a few times to give other passengers the chance to see a Super Elite. I’d make a few strategic stops here and there, sharing jokes and wisdom, but not shake hands, shaking hands in a germ loaded plane is a no-no. Of course I would excuse myself for the apparent lack of manners but I would explain it being in everyone’s best interest.
I would not immediately introduce myself as a Super Elite, but casually touch my card to draw peoples’ attention to it, while remaining nonchalant and unassuming, and I would always have in the back of my mind to put people at ease as for some talking to a ‘Super Elite’ might be too much.
Actually, now that I think of it, the card is a bit small and some people might miss it as I walk by; it would be much better if they announced my plane-walk beforehand. The flight attendants could go before me and gently awaken any sleeping passengers so they wouldn’t miss me.
Unfortunately, no one comes by my seat until the end of the flight. It is their loss, the airline’s and unfortunately the passengers’ as well.