If you have every flown more than 4 consecutive hours in the main cabin of an airplane, which I refer to as a cattle car, you can sympathize with the lowly sardine mashed into a can.
In their quest to increase profits, airlines have narrowed the distance between your seat and the one in front of you to the point that only a person who has had both legs amputated can ride with any degree of comfort.
For a higher-priced ticket, you can move from the Sardine can to the Pork and Beans area where you have an extra 6-8 inches of leg room. This high-priced real estate usually has a swanky name like Comfort or Premium Seats, which make you think you have space and can relax. You can’t. And, if the cost per inch of this room was used to determine the value of your home, we’d al be living in multi-million dollar mansions.
Pork and Beans is better than the Sardine section, but unless you reserve a seat in an exit row or bulkhead row you don’t get that much room. An aisle seats ensures a bit of leg room, but these seats come with hazards. First the flight attendants might ram your shins with that metal cart delivering drinks and snacks. A “snack” in airplane language means pretzels or peanuts. Second, others on your row may crawl over you numerous times to go to the bathroom or walk the aisles to prevent their legs from becoming paralyzed. And third, (the Sicilian’s personal gripe) the person in front of you may recline their seat which leaves you feeling like a mouse in a trap.
Ever since I saw how the fat cats in the Business/First Class section lounge in Barcaloungers sipping champagne, my dream has been to fly in that section. Not because I am snooty; I’m not. Or because a better class of people are in that section, (there isn’t from what I can tell) or because the food is better (which it actually is), but because I want some room. I’m a mere 5’2″, and I’m cramped in the Sardine Can or Pork and Beans area. I pity the super-sized people.
With due diligence, and months of checking on line, the tickets the Sicilian and I needed to fly to Spain went on sale. I pounced on two First-Class tickets. Let me tell you, there are light years between the Sardine Can/ Pork and Beans area and First Class.
We boarded the plane before the Sardine and Pork and Beans passengers and were given drinks of our choice in real glasses. We were not told, no beverages during take off or landing. This bonus allowed the Sicilian to be totally relaxed during take off.
Our seats were wide enough for a 300 pound person to sit in comfort. Each person had their own 12 inches wide table which separated your seat from other person on your row. A bottle of water, a fresh, full-sized pillow, and a wonderful comforter were waiting for us at our seat. We had real headsets, not those plastic things don’t work and gouge the skin in your ears raw. USB and power plugs, a personal reading spotlight, and a wonderful Tumi box added to our comfort. (I realized I’d lived a sheltered life, one with few luxuries. I’d never heard of a Tumi Box until this flight.)
The food and beverage service was great: real china and silver, and miniature salt and pepper shakers which the Sicilian placed in his carry on. This was nice, but I’ve had nice in many restaurants. What was really grand was. . . the seats lay completely flat. Yes, flat, like a bed. The Sicilian, who hates to fly took a long winter’s nap.
I’ve always contended there is no such thing as jet lag, and this flight proved it. I watched as those in the Sardine Can walked off like crippled gnomes. The Pork and Beans passengers didn’t look much better. But, after our seven-hour flight, much of which was spent napping, we walked off the plane looking and feeling like humans. We were able to enjoy a full day of activities in Spain without exhaustion.
Will I ever be able to fly First Class again? I don’t know, but I do know I like being in that galaxy far, far away. (And so did the Sicilian.)