Thursday, August 28, 2014

first things first

For some reason, I slipped into an Agatha Christie mode last night.  Not that 9 of the passengers in my cabin disappeared in seriatim as they wandered from their seats.  As far as I know, everyone who embarked disembarked.

My suspicion is that I knew I would soon be boarding a train that would speed me from London to The North through the paddocks and fields that create England's distinctive countryside.  The very landscape that fed Dame Agatha's thirst for bucolic mayhem.

And it does not strike me the least bit odd that I am able to dump whatever pops into my head directly onto your monitor.  Technology's advancement has come on us so quickly that it seems as if I have been able to do this forever.

What I have not done forever is fly first class internationally.  Due to my recent travels, I have saved up enough frequent flyer miles that I was able to book a first class ticket on British Airways out of Mexico City.  I won't even bother you with what the ticket would have cost if I had purchased it with pesos.  But I could easily pay my upcoming closing costs with it.

And what would I get for that type of money?  After all, everyone on the airplane gets there at the same time no matter where they sit.

There were four flight attendants who looked after the needs of about twelve of us.  Glasses seldom went dry.  And requests were often met even before the passenger asked. 

Some people lauded the food.  It certainly was better than in coach, but it was still warmed-up leftovers.  Very few of the dishes were prepared fresh -- leaving most of the food tasting like Denny's with pretensions.

What makes all of the difference on these overnight international flights is that seat you see at the top of this post.*  Not only would it adjust electronically to every contour of a body, it folded flat as a bed.  With the addition of a linen duvet, it is as comfortable as many a bed I have slept in.  And, of course, British Airways provided individually-sized pajamas to each passenger.

Arriving refreshed at the end of a trip is worth a lot to me.  But at the cost of losing the equivalent of income for two months?  I don't think so.

On the other hand, if I had not use my miles in such an extravagant fashion, how could I tell you about it?

* -- I apologize for the framing of the photograph.  It was a forced shot. 
Airlines have become very concerned about the privacy of passengers -- especially those in first class.  On my flight to Paris last spring, a flight attendant confiscated the camera of a coach passenger who had wandered into first class.  But he was attempting to photograph a "celebrity." 

A flight attendant asked me to put my camera away.  Apparently, one of the passengers was a former Mexican movie actress traveling with he family.  I had no idea who she was.  I still don't.

Setting aside all of that, running around with a camera in the first class cabin strikes me as being just a trifle gauche.

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