First Class

2012-08-06T09:53:04-07:00Categories: politics, travel|Tags: , |

            Ah, the clink of the forks in First Class. From where I’m sitting on this plane, just three rows away, the sound is like wind chimes heard through a closed window, reminding us: we are here and not there where those pretty breezes are blowing. I’m in Economy Plus, where apparently there’s a little more legroom. I did not pay for or upgrade to this section; I think it’s a bone the airline threw me after my earlier flight was cancelled. Going through security at Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport, I noticed an express lane and signs urging me to sign up for a card that would give me the privilege of using this special lane, presumably after traveling thousands of miles or paying extra, or both. None of this is particularly new. But it feels just a little more—in your face than it used to. Pay for this card and cut in line! Pay for an Economy Plus seat so you can cross your legs! Pay Lord knows how much and eat real food with real forks! Here in Economy Plus, I’m sitting next to a blonde, sleepy teen in a hoodie whose suntanned and bejeweled mother, seated in First Class, just brought her back a chocolate sundae in a glass dish. After eating her ice cream, teen daughter popped her ear buds in and went back to sleep, leaving me to wonder about her mother, as I always do about people in First Class: what is it like to have [...]