First class flying reflections.
"American Airlines, this is Candi, can I help you?" She sounded about twenty-five, refined and sweet, and she was overjoyed to be able to work at 10:30 pm on a Tuesday night, especially in an American Airlines & # 39; 1-800 number. Something that made me pretty positive, she wrote her name that ended with "I". Maybe even CanDI.
"Candi, hi! My name is Gil, with one l and I'm in Nashville! Where are you!"
"I'm in Tucson, Arizona! I love Nashville! You probably know Johnni Cash!"
I wanted to get a few hours more sleep so I could keep up with her. But I just kept going, hoping to get a second wind. "Look, Candi, here's the deal. I know I've built these frequent miles and I'm flying to Los Angeles on Thursday."
"Los Angeles! Cool city!" Bite this lady and your dentist can go ahead and book those reserves in the Bahamas.
"So, I was wondering what it would take for me to upgrade, using my accumulated mileage, to a first class tour."
There you go. I said that. The first class. I always wanted to say first class, but I just didn't have any. But if I was to fly for five hours on an impulsive, harebrained excursion, hell, I wanted to do it. I had, in my 40 years of unusual commercial flights, always been part of the "I-can-bite-my-onion" group or "Miss, can I get an additional sickness bag for my infant" crowd, at the cheapest possible price. where live platforms paid the same price as I. While First Class enjoyed a feature film, me and my fellow passengers were presented with a stack of papers with a small frame of stories on the edges; we were told to just scroll through the pages and try to understand the concept.
Candi reacted the same way I bet she was chosen as the returning queen; she couldn't wait to fly out of first class. For a moment I thought she was going too.
Basically, what was "upgrading" involved lengthy conference calls with several other US airlines – Jeff in Houston, Steven in Milvaukee, Randall in Atlanta, some farce translator … I swear, one call was in mass of the vicacan in Massachusetts. But in the end, everyone decided this process would be worthwhile, comparable to winning a Pulitzer. It took me about an hour and 15 minutes – and 25,000 of my 30,000 miles – to approve my promotion. All the while, Candi kept interfering with the conversation to make it all right, and I WENT AWAY!
Well, first class was all I ever heard. Property. I imagined sitting in a BARCO Thermal Massage lounge chair, my wet bar / bartender next to Dennis Miller, while Candice Bergen leaned against the seatback in front of me, offering to pour a champagne of Waterford water crystal. We laugh and trade business cards until LA Hot linen towels will be passed between us, with our personal masseuses waiting. We can operate the aircraft at any time.
Yes, the seats are wider and more comfortable. Sit only two in a row instead of the conventional three. That was nice. But when the flight attendant approached everyone to order drinks before takeoff, she somehow skipped me. She carried a piece of paper and checked it while talking to all first class passengers.
After everyone in the department was served everything they ordered, she approached me.
"Upgrade again," she said. She used the same tone as someone would say "yes" when asked if she had a midnight shift at the landfill. Every passenger in the compartment rushed to get a better look, aiming precisely at their linen sequins.
"Uh, yes, ma," I said.
"You want something?"
"Yes, I love orange juice." I immediately wished I had ordered something more exotic: "Yes, I'll have a Lafitte Rothschild 52, served at exactly 46 degrees in a Zulu fertility cup."
"And do you want oriental chicken or seafood salad for lunch?" Ah, it was better now.
"Chicken, thank you."
"Maybe we don't have enough chicken. I'll check," she said evenly, and left, pausing to talk and laugh with the other passengers.
The guy sitting next to me was quiet but pleasant as we talked. It turns out that the keyboardist is a very popular touring rock band, one I was very familiar with. I was impressed with his humility, and it did
FC experience a little closer to amazing. I used the phone in the armchair to call the office; you activate it with a credit card. It cost $ 317 to talk for 2 minutes.
Well, I still got the chicken. It was a little dry but stood on a cold tray with a little bottle of red wine and tiny cookies. And the drinks came in the right glass instead of the plastic cups that I am sure were served "there." I was five. The third, fourth and fifth were ordered with vodka, screwdrivers they called. I guess because of the high altitude, it made me feel so undisturbed and happy that I was going to LA
I learned that turbulence, while devastating in the cheap crowd, did not register even in the first class. I assumed it had something to do with some special hydraulic systems in the front of the plane. That must be true; I mean, while in the first class we chatted, laughed and shared drugs, drank bottles and ran scissors, I could hear Ekon behind the curtain; guttural screams and collective vomiting, hysterical oxygen masked passengers take off their heads and the virgins are sacrificed. Then, as the plane landed, so did the Ekons, their screams became only a rumble and a whimper.
Every time a pilot came over PA to tell us we were seeing a fantastic sight out the window, I always seemed to be on the wrong side of the plane.
("Ladies and gentlemen, if you look at the right side of the plane, you will see that Halei Comet rarely appears in suspended state, even at our height. If you continue to the left, well, there are clouds or something.")
The nonstop flight was supposed to take four hours and forty-seven minutes, and I remember thinking it was so cool that due to the change of time, I would be arriving across the nation in less than an hour and a half. As mentioned above, we were able to get a feature film headset. The one from Nashville to LA was Airport 75. I'm kidding. It was when Harry met Salli, with Meg Rian and Billi Cristal. Pretty affectionate, subordinate sexes, date fluttering with a joyful tear finish. It aired on a 4.43m high definition screen. I got that and the phone is the reason why the extra $ 1,259 was plugged into the usual, Econ tariff. Over half of the people in FC settled with drinks and headphones. Not me.
Oh no … remember, I was still hanging out with the silent keyboardist, the fascist flight attendant (scuse, flight attendant), Abe Vigoda with his oxygen canister and the International Chess Masters Tournament Committee. .
And, sure enough, the flight took 4 hours and a change. The landing, in First Class, was like a kid anyway, gliding gracefully across the smooth surface of a silk blanket; I thought I heard sounds like people were hit by a fork behind the curtain.
Deplaning and subsequent cracking through LA is a whole different story. One I can say. My therapist says it's too early, there are still too many demons.
But suffice it to say, I was "eager" to get back on the plane, any plane. Read: I would crawl on pieces of anthrax-filled glass to get to the airport.
Ironically, the start of the trip to Nashville was one of the highlights of my rejoicing. It started in the lobby of my hotel. I checked out easily enough for Sunday afternoon. I received a confirmation that it looks like a 1099 tax form. Ordinary suspects hung around; busy bells bringing loaded suitcases and hanging bags at the box office, diverse staff packed with trays or flowers, wagons from all over the world. I thought I might be asked if I had spare drachmas.
But there, at the end of the turning exit, like a shining needle in a human stack, stood a young man. He was trained as a chauffeur and I immediately understood why. He was a driver. My chauffeur. He put up a small poster with my name on it to prove it.
I boarded the back seat of a black Lincoln Town car where morning paper and a wet bar were waiting for us. As we hit Interstate for the airport, the driver turned out to be quite the talker. It turned out that he had lived all his life in LA, and in the mid-80's he had his own insurance company, which he was very successful in doing. Collision 86 threw him into this city car, but he didn't complain; that he "did not let this city or anything demolish it," he survived. I was hoping to survive the ride, as he would remove his dialogue by turning to me. Notwithstanding the crowd of nine cars and the explosion of propane trucks behind us.
Needless to say, I arrived at the airport and was at my gate when the flight was called for boarding, just in time.
Changing time will work against me on this journey. And no matter how much I drank or slept or just stared out the window, it won't help me to think that I didn't fly to Nashville via Budapest. This trip alone was in a two-seater arrangement; in fact, the entire First Class was only about 20% full. Or 80% blank, depending on how tall it is. The plush seats were the same, the free drinks in the glass were the same, I assumed, because I wasn't in the "mood" to try one. About 27 hours into the flight I ordered Roast Beef for dinner; I figured I'd also order breakfast. God, this flight has lasted forever.
The movie on the return flight was Shelli Long starring in the Brady Bunch movie. I decided to watch the sound of it sound and fell asleep (again) until the scream of the ground equipment fixed me.
I slid off the plane and the darkness of Nashville, TN hit me like lightning. The drive home was also a long one.
I made a note to call Candi in Phoenico, Arizona for long distance calls. I just knew she wanted me to know what my trip was like.