Folks, put aside your existential angst, environmental woes, earthly struggles and daily grind by joining me in savoring that moment upon the blissful utterance:
“…sir, you’ve been upgraded.”
As the departure board showed an ever increasing delay hours before we even knew which gate, I bought another ruinously expensive coffee and hunkered down for a grumpy wait. Having checked in via an app’ – so 21st C’ dahling – the updates in the airport proper were arriving more slowly than the ones direct to my pocket. I noted a seat row/letter discrepancy betwixt static downloaded ‘pass and live flight status’. Hmm.
Whence the gate was announced I nipped along smartly. Stealthily moving to the front I politely mithered the gate staff (who were busily avoiding eye contact with a hoard of irked travelers). I gently explained my confused data and offered the phone to illustrate. Cue audible sigh with oh-so-nearly-out-loud eye roll to match. Then the flatly delivered:
“…sir, you’ve been upgraded. And you’ll need to join Group 2. Here’s a new boarding pass.”
Group 5 was my preassigned lot. An enormous snake of fight wearied, delay scarred long haul cabin warriors who board their flights last and hard. Group 2? Ah, that’ll be the panama hats and flowing dresses in the bijou queue-ette who board after the dusting of royals in Group 1. Group 3 & 4? Pah! Tsk. Wannabes, the lot of ’em.
Trying hard to wipe the brand new grin, no, smirk off my chops was tricky as I sauntered to the appropriate line. One must appear as if this is one’s place in life right? Delay? What delay? It just doesn’t matter anymore. Four words have taken away my stress, the tension in my shoulders has gone as I await patiently the sweet embrace.
Club World: Business Class.
Until this point it was a grim coming to terms with a lost weekend on a long haul flight. Not to mention delivering a challenging week’s work in a far off land. Now? Right now I’m wondering what Champagnes they serve these days?
Not wanting to forgo this golden chance for opportunism, be advised that I really caned the in-flight service with gusto. (If not some style.) By the time we arrived – still 45 minutes behind what was expected – I was well fed and comprehensively versed in the Champoo, Cognac, Vino Tinto, G&T and even water – hydration baby – that was generously offered. It didn’t seem to matter that we were late. anymore. Luggage, taxi, check-in, bed: I can still manage these tasks pickled.
Beforehand, 100% sober, back at Heathrow, I plonked down in my rear facing – most odd – deluxe seat and started chatting to my neighbours. Naturally, they were horrified. One of the great paradoxes in travel is that those whose carriage terms come under the banner “super-lucky-to-be-here” – as far as the 99.9% of other humans might see it – also have the demeanour of folk whose collective dog has just died. Where is it written that when you are in pamper-class you have to be all miserable like? Perhaps it was the lightheadedness brought on by my luck, but there was a temptation to shout “smile dammit.” Are there classes at crushingly expensive private schools where one learns to look decidedly unimpressed when one must have an instinct to punch the air?
Then I was handed my first glass of booze and the feeling passed. I pretty much necked it. [Classy.] I got a refill. And repeat.
Ooh, this glass isn’t chilled properly my brain automatically thought. Moments later: there’s not much storage space is there? You see: that’s what happens. Passing through a new level of expectation and you are not automatically delighted. It’s merely the next level that beckons.
But being upgraded. It’s all about the feeling and emotion that the very whiff of indulgence gives. A touch more space and (quite a lot) more booze is really not worth £000s more than a boggo cattle class seat that gets you there at precisely the same speed. And yet…
Then there’s the naked truth: I shouldn’t be flying at all. None of us should. And yet… to be upgraded. Wow, how about that!
It doesn’t make sense does it? What contrary, frivolous creatures we all are.
(You can add downright childish in my case if you like. I was sooo excited.)
On a practical, selfish level, it also helps to join the loyalty scheme and travel alone on a busy flight: it makes you ripe for being squeezed up a class. (Or off the flight altogether perhaps?)
Next flight is Friday 19th. Does lightning strike twice?