I have flown all over the world – to Europe, to China, and against my better judgment, once to Scranton, PA. But I’ve never flown first class. I had a boss who flew first class all the time. Recently we exchanged notes about our passenger experiences on a flight to Dallas – hers in first class versus mine in cargo, er, I mean coach (same difference). Here is a side-by-side comparison, as documented by the flight attendant announcements.
FIRST CLASS FLIGHT ATTENDANT PASSENGER ANNOUNCEMENT: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome aboard Delta Airlines Flight #427 for Dallas. It will be our pleasure to serve you this morning. You will all receive a case of Omaha Steaks simply for listening to this announcement.
COACH CLASS FLIGHT ATTENDANT PASSENGER ANNOUNCEMENT: This is Delta Flight #427 for Dallas. Everybody, listen up. If you weren’t planning to fly to Dallas today, then you’re on the wrong plane. You’ve got sixty seconds to get the heck off. Hey, bald guy in the third row, listen to me when I’m talking to you!
First Class: As you take your seat, if you have any difficulty stowing your carry-on luggage, we’ll be more than happy to assist. Ma’am, let me help you with your ostrich. No trouble at all.
Coach: As you take your seat, put your carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you that your knees are currently pressed up against. Anything larger than a child’s backpack will be confiscated and tossed into a pile of luggage bound for Saskatchewan.
First Class: Now that you’re comfortably seated, please note that your seat can recline a full 180 degrees. If you do not prefer a cotton eye pillow, we’re happy to provide a silk one. Can I interest you in a free Apple Watch?
Coach: Try to make yourself comfortable. I mean really, try. Good luck crossing your legs. Don’t bother looking for a pillow or blanket. We needed them for the pets of the first class passengers. Your seats don’t actually recline. That’s because we had to reduce the total space between rows in coach by nine feet to make room for the first class passengers’ wine tasting chalet. So, stop your whining. It’s already getting old and we just took off.
First Class: For breakfast, we will be serving your choice of eggs benedict or a custom-prepared omelette, along with Belgian waffles or cranberry streusel coffee cake. Please let me know how you like your latte prepared – unless you prefer a bottle of Dom Perignon. It’s 2005 – a very good year, I assure you.
Coach: For breakfast, you have a choice between a snack mix of tiny pretzel sticks with Corn Chex and – no wait, that’s your only option. We’re out of peanuts. My bad. But you can purchase a fruit & cheese platter for $19.95. I’m not sure whether the fruit is still good. Are pineapple slices supposed to be purple?
First Class: We’ve reached our cruising altitude of 32,000 feet, so feel free to move about the cabin. Or just sit back – way back – and enjoy any of the 2,000 video choices available. These are, of course, complimentary.
Coach: We’ve reached our cruising altitude of 32,000 feet, so feel free to use the restroom. Your current estimated wait time is 27 minutes. Your movie choices are The Bad News Bears or Sharknado 2. The rental fee is $19.95. No credit cards. Cash only. Exact change required.
First Class: Just a reminder that the casino lounge is now open on the promenade deck. Enjoy a game of black jack or perhaps roulette. Or, if you prefer something a bit more soothing, consider a dip in the hot tub in our spacious Platinum Club spa.
Coach: Just a reminder that the casino lounge is now open. Oops, I forgot. You’re in coach. So, don’t even think about trying to gain entry. Our casino bouncer will take you down so fast you won’t know what hit you. Just stay in your seat and read the in-flight magazine. There’s an article about how twine is made that’s mildly interesting. Or do the crossword puzzle on page 86. The answer to 7-Down is Sherlock Holmes.
First Class: In a few moments I will be coming around to offer you a foot massage or a pedicure. In the meantime, enjoy the dessert tray of assorted Godiva chocolates and berries – compliments of the pilot.
Coach: Some of you may have noticed the lovely aroma of Godiva chocolate wafting from first class. You can’t have any, of course, but you’re more than welcome to inhale the exquisite chocolate smell for just $5.95. I also have a roll of Certs breath mints. Just 50 cents a mint.
First Class: As we prepare for our descent into Dallas, if you have not yet enjoyed your hot shower you have only a few minutes to do so. Please return your seats to the full upright position. Just kidding. Feel free to remain reclined as long as you like. And please accept our small token of appreciation for flying Delta Airlines as you disembark – your very own calico kitten. It’s had all its shots.
Coach: As we prepare for our descent into Dallas, please return your seats and tray tables to their upright position – unless you’re in one of the nine rows that don’t have tray tables. We apologize that the air conditioning was not working during the entire flight. Oh, and your luggage may be delayed a while. I’ve just been informed that our baggage handler accidentally put all the coach luggage on a flight bound for Buenos Aires.
First Class: Thank you for flying with us. A chauffeur named Alfonso is waiting at baggage claim to take you to your final destination.
Coach: Thank you for flying with us. The Lost Baggage office is next to carousel 9 in Terminal C.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2016