The Lighter Side of Travel
Humor Catalog


Compare and Contrast First Class & Coach
Staff writer

By some very fortunate stroke of fate, I happened to have actually accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to gloriously upgrade my trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Boston, to travel First Class. Erste Klasse! De qualité supérieure! Free drinks!

It's a whole other world behind that curtain you peer at from Coach, hoping to get a glimpse of what goes on in the upper echelons of air travel. Let's start by examining the category names: it's First Class and then simply, Coach. Because everyone knows Coach has no class! (Unless it's a pocketbook) What with those seats that force you to sit in the Abe Lincoln Memorial pose and all the pinhead passengers that take 20 minutes to store a simple bag in an overhead compartment! I'd hate to see those same people in an emergency. What makes ordinary people turn into retards the minute they have to store something in an airplane compartment? Is there a toxic gas in there that sucks their ability to negotiate spatial relations? Put the damn bag in, and sit down!

Upon arriving on the plane, I am ushered to my First Class seat: 3F, thank you very much. I am immediately asked if I would like my jacket hung up-in a closet-not crammed in the aforementioned compartment with somebody's greasy backpack on it. "Why yes, thank you." I answer demurely. "And would you like something to drink?" asks the pleasant flight attendant. She really seems like she just lives to bring me a drink. Who cares if it's phony. Faux concern is better than no concern. Not like the attendants in Coach - women straight out of the Heinrich Himmler School of Charm. You feel like Oliver Twist asking them for anything: "Please Mum, just a splash of water over my dry, cracking lips."

"Take your seat!" they bark, "Beverage service doesn't start until we're airborne-got that Sparky? Now sit down before I revoke your peanut privileges!!"

Meanwhile, in First Class I'm on my second Bloody Mary with snacks galore to accompany it. They have different peanuts up there, I swear. The good kind; mixed, with cashews. And my drink is in a real glass! Not the plastic pee cups you get in the back.

I relax in my plush, WIDE comfy leather seat and watch the have-nots parade by me en route to Coach. That's the kick, they have to walk by you, so you can give them that 'Here come the bourgeois' look. And everyone in First Class does it. The ones that don't, smugly pretend they don't see you. Why not? The seats cost enough, you might as well get some satisfaction. I loudly make the "Ahhh," sound as I sip my drink and more unfortunates go by.

Soon, we're airborne. Yippee! That means food time! Today we are having a crisp Caesar salad with fresh seasoned croutons, hot whole wheat rolls with honey butter, followed by filet mignon with brandied mushroom caps, twice baked potatoes, and broccoli rabe. Coach is having…a sandwich! (I saw it going by, someone was making the sign of the cross over it.) And they use the term "sandwich" loosely. If you consider a sandwich an anemic piece of mystery meat, topped with wilted lettuce and a wafer thin translucent slice of tomato hidden in a roll that has the consistency of my kitchen sponge, then bon apetit! After you get your "sandwich" you have to sit there all cramped and eat it looking like you have those short dinosaur arms. Oh, the joy.

Meanwhile in the Land of Plenty, dessert arrives. Today we have chocolate mousse with whipped cream or hot fudge sundaes. Mmmm…I can't decide which one I want-so I get both! You can do that in First Class. Imagine pulling a stunt like that in Coach?

You: Yeah, I can't decide, so I'll get both.
Himmleresque attendant: Dream on, buster! You get either or. So what's it gonna be-the one tic tac or the M&M?

As I am enjoying a nice Kahlua and coffee with my two desserts, I decide to do the in-flight magazine's crossword puzzle. I pull out the nice fresh magazine from the seat back pouch in front of me. Usually, in Coach, when you try to do the crossword it's already been done by about ten people before you.. ALL WRONG too, and sometimes in crayon. Hmmm…a seven-letter word "to make calmer"..easy…comfort. That's what it's all about-comfort!

Soon, the plane is making it's way into Logan Airport. The attendant brings me my jacket well ahead of time. Apparently, in First Class, there's no fear of actually trusting someone with their belongings before the plane lands. In coach: Take your seats! We haven't landed yet! No getting any coats before we land! You guys wouldn't know what to do with them!

Finally, as my fellow First Classers and I get up to make our way out of the cabin, there's one last nicety-we get to get off the plane first! That's class.

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