This is a guest post from my friend Stuart, who just got back from Italy in style. Read his business class exploits below.
“Would sir like to take a look at our selection of international newspapers?” That was the moment they got me, the moment I felt able to release some of the pent up social anxiety about flying business class. First, I enjoy seeing how news is reported around the world. Second and more importantly, a broadsheet would work perfectly as a barrier between me and the stares of the economy class travelers I’d ordinarily be traveling with.
Their glares are just one of the things you’ll have to deal with if, like me, you unexpectedly find yourself in the front of the plane on an international flight. It won’t be easy to come to terms with — okay it’ll be a lot easier than dealing with the crying babies and chronically obese snorers in economy — but I’ve put together a few pointers that should help you feel a little less shocked during your time among the one percenters.
1. Everyone looks just like you
You might feel like you don’t belong. That’s especially natural if, like me, you’ve spent most of your life with your knees hunched up against your shoulders in economy. The truth is though, unless your clothes look like rags, you’ll be pretty much indiscernible from everyone else. None of that however will stop you feeling about as comfortable as a geriatric at a Justin Bieber concert.
2. You’ll get champagne before take off
Or juice, or water. The point is you won’t have time to sip it like your mother taught you. You’ll have to quaff it. But that’s okay, you’re flying business class! Quaff away champ.
3. Everyone will hate you
Okay maybe not everyone, but the people shuffling into economy will shoot you looks that could burn through aluminum. Okay maybe they won’t, but that’s what it’ll feel like. Every inch of you will want to scream”I’m just like you!” But you won’t, because then the dream might end and you’ll end up back with the peons.
4. You’ll be tempted to examine the contents of the free toiletry bag
Don’t. Just don’t. Accept that it’ll be good and use it when you need to. Doing otherwise would be like snooping around the mansion your company hired for its end of year do.
Actually that’s a load of crap. Have a look. Your wealthy companions will be doing the same thing and pocketing every freebie that comes their way. How do you think they got wealthy enough to afford business class in the first place?
5. It will change you
And not for the better. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll get used to the high life. Chairs that don’t have massage functions will seem weird, along with laminated menus and special cubby holes for your shoes. I suggest volunteering at a homeless shelter to regain your sense of perspective. Be sure to use the express queue for immigration though.
6. Baggage collection is the great leveller
When you fly business class, you’re given preferential treatment from pretty much the moment you check in. When you leave the plane at your final destination however, the airline’s responsibility has pretty much ended. You’re now in the hands of the airport, and all it’s really interested is getting as many people in and out as efficiently as possible. This realisation will hit you hardest when you’re waiting for your luggage at the carousel. Sure it might arrive a little earlier than everyone else’s and you won’t be as bewilderingly exhausted (because your seat actually allowed you to sleep) but in every other way, you’re just like all the other stiffs trying to get to their families or the least dodgy-looking taxi driver.