Friday, April 1, 2011

Serving My Time in Steerage

I've lined up some excellent vacations that will take place over the course of the next several months.  Holland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are all looming on the horizon.  Me, a jet setter, globetrotter or world traveler?  Ba-ha-ha-ha!  I'm thinking it would be necessary to upgrade from my usual spot back in coach to at least business class, if not first class, in order to even pretend one of these adjectives describes me.

One person in our family, the guy whose company pays for him to climb every mountain and ford every stream around the planet, has earned enough miles to be presented with a Fancy Fuchsia card on Albatross Airlines, where the service tends to stink like a bucket of day old fish.  With the money this airline is saving every time they give me a pack of stale, expired crackers, they need to invest it in some etiquette lessons for those grouchy old flight attendants with their hair up in scrunchies from the 90s that answer your questions with grunts.  Sometimes they even narrow their beady little eyes before giving me a surly answer.  Hello ladies, it's a service industry and you're not supposed to act like I'm a bother to you.  It's called doing your job.  If it weren't for the chipper gay male flight attendants on board, it would really be quite unbearable.

Thanks to the Fuchsia card designation, a certain member of our family always gets upgraded to first class on domestic flights.  And he can take a couple suitcases that weigh almost as much as Kirstie Alley, after she gained back all the weight she lost on Nutri System.  Seriously, girl, just get the gastric bypass next time you want to drop some pounds.  

The last time we traveled as a family, the Fancy Fuchsia card carrier in our little entourage got to board first and sit up in the front of the plane in first class.  In the leather reclining seat.  With the privacy curtain.  Getting his unexpired snacks and whole soda can to replenish his drink for the duration of the flight.  Not having to share a bathroom with the poor folks behind the curtain, a bit like living on the wrong side of town, the other side of the tracks or east of the old Berlin Wall.  Let's not try to pretty it up because we all know it's a serious test of your sanity, stamina and ability to breathe through your mouth.  You know who I'm talking about, right, the big guy that ate a bean burrito with a side of beans for lunch and washed it down with several beers.  That sweaty dude who makes a beeline to the toilet before the plane even gets off the ground.  So where were the kids and I while this other family member was relaxing with all of the adults in their private sanctuary, not stuck with the wailing toddler one row behind us that kept banging his head against the backs of our seats?  That would be coach, also known as the fifth circle of hell.  

There we were, like ducks lined up in a row.  We had to have the inevitable argument about who gets to sit next to the window and who gets the middle seat, because momma always gets the aisle.  Once that was settled and they were both pouting about the outcome, which at least shut them up for a while, we finished the shorter flight to Houston before getting on the big bird to England.

Old fancy pants, I-fly-a-lot, nanner nanner boo-boo, doesn't get an automatic upgrade to first class on an international flight (insert evil laugh here), so he was stuck with the rest of us in the cheap seats.  He promptly plops down on the aisle across from me, where we're once again lined up in a row and go another round or two about who is sitting where.  After a few hours, the poor person in our family who has been forced to "slum it" back in coach is softly snoring with his pricey, noise canceling headphones so he can get his proper beauty rest.  Me, I'm serving my time with one kid's head propped up against me, using both my pillow and hers in addition to my blanket so that I don't dare move for fear of waking her.  

Forget the Fancy Fuchsia card.  Those of us in the rear of the plane should be awarded a card with the following: "I Survived the Surly, Middle-Aged Flight Attendant Who Ate a Couple Garlic Cloves Right Before She Got on the Plane".  Or maybe "My Kid Fell Asleep on Me, Drooled, Snored and Then Had a Nightmare and Thrashed Around Like a Fish Out of Water".  I would certainly accept that with pride, even if it doesn't earn me a spot up front.

No comments:

Post a Comment