Have you noticed how when you board the bigger inter-continental aircrafts, you always have to go through the business class before you take out your reading glasses to evaluate the smallness of your economy seat that you cannot find in the first place? I have my own theory on this, a theory that is mine and probably wrong. I think that the Airline, no matter which company, is telling me in no uncertain words that I’m a loser. “Well sunshine, either you’ve chosen the wrong job or you’re not working hard enough to be able to afford the reclining seats and the 5-course dinner at the front of the plane,” seems to be the message emanating from the cockpit.
I must be thankful that I can afford trips to Peru, so my wife can see her family. I am also aware that most Peruvians would be only too happy to sit it out in economy class seats. But by European standards it’s crystal clear that I’m the biggest loser of the lot because even in buying an economy class air ticket, I manage to pay twice as much as the 20 stone yobbo sitting next to me who bought his ticket a day before I did. Yep, life sucks doesn’t it.
I take comfort from the fact that the five-course meal served in the business class has five times more chance of being infected with Salmonella than the single course dished to me in a vacuum pack that I cannot open. It’s simple maths.
The other heartening thought is that if the plane goes down in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, we all drown together. Now there’s solidarity for you.
The truth of the matter is that there’s one thing I hate more than being 20,000 feet above the sea for 10 hours, and that’s having to spend 40 seconds of my life going through the business class section of a Boeing 777 and the sight of champagne served in a crystal glass even before there is someone in the seat to drink it. But I prefer that to the look on the faces of the business class tossers who are actually drinking the stuff. It’s a look that is saying, “I have made it and you have not!” – a stark reminder of what could have been had I been unscrupulous enough to earn lots of dosh illegally.
My frustration at being a loser took a turn for the worse when I learned that the Manchester United football team (you know, the ones who earn a lot of money and never win) had chartered the most expensive aircraft in the world to be able to show off their egos in a foreign land half-way across the globe. The aircraft, a Boeing 777, goes under the name “Crystal Skye” and cost the club a cool half-a-million smackers. Well, I don’t know about you, but the only thing I have in common with these guys is the use of the word “Crystal” for my tiny little blog. As I said before, if this plane goes down, the jet set die just like the poor plonkers in Economy class travelling to Ibiza with RyanAir. Not that I’m wishing for a disaster. Let’s be crystal clear about that.
The social divide encompassed within an aircraft flying 20,000 feet above a shark infested ocean reaches its paroxysm when an opaque curtain is drawn between the business and economy classes, and chained with a “No riff-raff” board. It is a curtain that reflects an uncompassionate world, a relentless rat race where those who fail really get to know about it and pay the consequences for their failure.
On a trans-atlantic flight, a long time ago, there was I, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, desperately seeking the compassion of a Spanish air hostess to allow me to use the microwave situated a meer two meters away from my economy class seat, but on the wrong side of the curtain. All I wanted to do is warm up milk for my 18-month-old baby. Being on the side of the losers, I had to walk all the way down to the other end of the plane to be able to use the very same microwave model but belonging to a different social class.
It was a clear case of “have’s” to the right, and “have not’s” to the left. But in the face of disaster, we are all equals.