Free-Floating Hostility

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I am Better than You

A computer glitch allowed me to fly first class on both legs of my trip back from Detroit. I am now, obviously, walking around with an inflated opinion of myself.

The first leg, Detroit-to-Atlanta, felt like an ordinary flight. Aside from a pre-flight tomato juice to go with my regular in-flight one and all the chocolate-chip granola bars I could eat, it was nothing special. But the Atlanta-to-Sacramento leg, well, that was luxury. Like, when the guy in front of me leaned all the way back in his seat to sleep, and I could still fold a newspaper in front of me. Brilliant. Or, while the suckers back in steerage noshed on a dry sandwich, I got some hot chicken dish with spinach and a salad. And when we landed, and the jetway pulled up to the middle door, I got to get off the plane first. All in all, it was a nice way to finish off seemingly endless travel day.

See in Atlanta, there were maintenence people hanging out in the cockpit during the whole boarding process. Then after pushing back from the gate, the pilot aborted the mission. Apparently, there's some device that makes the 757 we sat on fly like a 767, and apparently that's necessary because a lot of pilots can't fly 757s without it. Anyway, ours wasn't working. So we had to change planes and gates, which in Atlanta is actually a big fucking production. I swear, going from A31 to A9 was a third of a mile and took eight minutes.

And when we got to the new gate, the agent announced: "We have 21 minutes to board this flight or the first officer will be illegal." That didn't sound like fun, so everyone rushed forward like cows trying to get through a gate, which of course just slows things down. "No, no," the gate agent said to some punk in row 12 or whatever, "First class gets on first."

It turned out that the gate agent had it wrong. The first officer was over his contractual time limit. As far as the FAA was concerned he still had hours/miles to go before he slept. Five spacious hours later I was home.

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