May
01
2005
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First class

How have I gone so long without flying in first class? Having now sat in the first 6 rows of the plane I now feel that the designers of the following rows didn’t make first class more comfortable, they made the rest of the plane more insufferable. I have always flown coach and thought nothing of it really, usually because the discomfort of flying is replaced by speed and I am slightly fascinated by minimalism and efficiency. I figure that the designers of the modern day airbus must have started with the first class section, refined it, made it like a passenger would expect. Then they gathered a large group of test subject and slow removed comfort after comfort. First was the leather seating, next was room for your legs, followed by the reduction of the arm rest from the standard two elbow size, to the now less than one. The designers realized that very few people complained; passengers were too enamored by the view out their window or too busy trying to get their tiny bag of peanuts open. This left them wondering, what else can we do? So they made the seats smaller and pushed them closer together both sideways and front to back till the recline feature was more novelty than functional. I shall stop on the seating arrangements and move onto the food service.

There is one understandable difference between coach and first class and that is the fact that all drinks and food are all included with the ticket price. However how that food is served goes back to my model that first class service is not improved, coach is simply depraved. Petroleum products rule in coach – plastic and styrofoam their weapons of choice. In the front of the plane it’s all glass, ceramic, and warm towels (wtf, are these really necessary). The warm towel along with free liquor I believe are the only two true luxuries that first class enjoys, and by luxury I mean something that is pleasant but wholly unnecessary. So I covered the flatware, but what about the contents of said flatware. When was the last time you were even offered a breakfast quesadilla with fruit, much less on an airplane? Well that’s what we had.

I will now finish off on perhaps my greatest pet peeve about coach. This is going to seem silly to most but the fact that they had to specially design a price of equipment to make people lives less comfortable just makes me mad. Have any guesses what I am referring to? It’s the headphone jack. I don’t know how many have noticed the headphone jack on an airplane seeing as the music stations and movies that airplanes proved are crap, but it in no way resembles the hole on your cd player, stereo, etc. Instead it is replaced by this two prong monstrosity that is only usable by purchasing the airlines headphones! So even if you have your own headphones, you are out of luck. They purposely made a new type of socket that only their headphones would fit. Now here is the great part. In first class not only are the headphones free, but the jack in first class is your standard old headphone jack that any old pair will plug into.

It just boggles my mind that they would go the trouble of changing the jacks in coach. I mean, here these people are sitting too close to a stranger, trying to block out the kid kicking their chair behind them because the seats are so close together that a toddler with 18 inch legs can reach your chair. All they want is to watch the in-flight movie to block out the screaming kid and so they don’t have to converse with the stranger who keeps making small talk.

But no, instead you’re getting kicked in the back, you spill your coffee because it’s in a styrofoam cup that has no handle, which makes it look like you wet your pants.  So you walk to the lavatory to try to get the stain out, but there is a line because there are only two bathrooms to service 150 people who just got their one beverage. Finally in the bathroom you reach in your pocket to find that your money is soaked. You pull it out only to drop it into the blue liquid of death and there is no way that you are reaching in to get back a $5 bill. Clothes now wet, but hopefully stain free you walk, or should I say squirm back to your seat. The kid behind you is now screaming and you call for the stewardess to complain that there is no place to plug your headphones in to watch the movie. She says that’s because the headphones are $5 and you reach into your pocket and remember. Dejected and damp you succumb to the fate before you.

That is not me today though. Through a miraculous computer glitch my original flight was overbooked and I had to be moved to another flight on which the only open seat was in first class, so here I sit, in a chair befit a normal size human, a chair worthy of the price of even a coach ticket. Now that I have been to the top of the mountain, I am afraid that the view anywhere else just can’t compare.

Yes this rant is finally over.

Written by John in: Ramble,Travel | Tags: , ,

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