Off Topic: Flying First Class

This is totally off the topic of Zunes, but it’s a slow day and I thought you might find it amusing (or even informative!).

Up until a few years ago, I really never traveled very much for my job. I probably flew on a plane a total of 6 times over a 15 year period. With my latest job, I actually travel quite a bit visiting customers throughout the USA helping them with issues and problems. After the first 6 months working for my current employer, I was on a flight to Sacramento, CA and I noticed during check in that I was upgraded to a first class seat. I asked the person at the ticket counter about this, and she said I was automatically upgraded because I was a Silver-Elite Frequent Flyer and they had an empty seat available in First Class. What a pleasant surprise, since I didn’t know I had traveled enough that year to have earned such a privilege, and it would be the first time I’d ever flown first class.

First off I get to board early with the other first class passengers, and my seat is huge and roomy. There’s two of us seated where normally there are three (in coach class), and my legs aren’t crammed up against the seat in front of me. As the other passengers are boarding, the special flight attendant designated for first class says to me, “my name is Danielle, and I will be attending you during the flight. How should I address you?”. Huh? I thought. I responded with, “… I guess you can call me Dave”, but later I thought I should have said, “you can call me Master-of-the-Universe!”. She then asked if I wanted anything to drink, which I responded, “a cup of coffee would be nice”. Quickly she handed me a steaming cup of coffee (in a ceramic mug) and then began to attend to the other first class passengers.

Noticing that I finished off my coffee, the flight attendant asked if I wanted more, and I said yes. Just then the pilot announced that we were about to pull away from the gate and everyone should dispose of any drinks, etc. I started to hand my coffee mug to the attendant to comply, and she says, “no, that doesn’t apply to you”. Well, what do you know, first class passengers have a different set of rules than the coach class commoners!

During the flight I got a wonderful meal with an ice cream sundae dessert. Man, you can’t beat that. While I’m eating my salmon dinner, the guys in the back are eating pretzels and drinking soda pop out of disposable plastic cups! Who would have ever guessed that first class passengers are treated so well?

I’ll tell you, once you go first class it’s hard to fly coach class again. Sometimes when I’m on a flight crammed in the middle seat between two large passengers, I just dream of being in first class seated a gigantic seat, eating warmed nuts and drinking wine.

After doing some investigating on web sites like www.flyertalk.com, I’ve learned that most first class passengers don’t buy their tickets, but rather are frequent flyers that have upgraded for free. I guess if you travel a lot on business, it’s a nice perk to be in a first class seat. Since my inaugural first class flight, I’ve tried very hard to take advantage of the frequent flyer programs to get free upgrades to first class. To do so, I pick certain days and flight times to maximize my chance of getting the “FC” seat. I’ve been pretty successful for the past few years, so I suggest anyone who travels a moderate amount to sign up with one particular airline and utilize the frequent flyer benefits. You never know, the next time you fly you might be seated next to me and we can squirt a few Zune music files while eating our ice cream sundaes!

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3 thoughts on “Off Topic: Flying First Class

  1. Jonathan says:

    I love FT, great site. And yes traveling in first class is great. However wait until you finally experience (yes experience) international business or first class travel. It is amazing. One of my best experiences was with Singapore Airlines, traveling in the First Class cabin from Singapore Changi Airport to JFK. It was an oasis of luxury, a dream come true. It’s a very intimate experience, with just 8-12 seats, a large 21″ widescreen LCD TV, a fully flat bed, and great meals. Upon arrival at Changi Airport, it’s like a hotel. There is a red carpet, a VIP baggage handler that whisks your bags away, and check-in in quite the experience. You are seated like at a fine hotel, during the check-in process and sped thru security to the First Class/Raffles Lounge. And of course you get priority boarding, etc. Last time I checked a roundtrip ticket would set you back $13,000 USD. However I used (at the time) 120,000 Delta SkyMiles for the flight and it was worth every last mile earned. I always save my miles for transoceanic first or business class tickets, and I highly recommend everyone experience the luxury of it at least once. I warn you though, you will be spoiled 😉

  2. zunetips says:

    Wow, for $13k US they’d better treat you like a King! Definitely worth using your Frequent Miles.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Yeah you do feel like a King, short of them addressing you as “Your Majesty” however I bet they would, if you asked lol.

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