Sunday, July 19, 2009

it was ordained

I have the answer to international travel and it is this: Lufthansa Business Elite Class. I had just flown a lovely flight on Virgin Air from SFO to JFK. Great seat, great service, super easy, super nice seatmates (I was in a middle seat and didn't even mind!). But, still, it was 5 hour flight and I would touch down for a mere 30 minutes or so and then get back on a huge, jumbo plane for another 8 hours where I was slotted to sit in the waaaay back.

As I've gotten older, a strange anxiousness has crept into my psyche. I don't really like flying in even the shortest of jaunts anymore...but, in a little seat? surrounded by babies and gigantic men who are sporting a swine-flu cough, this flight seemed destined to be rough, to say the least. At the same moment that I was wondering if I should ask for a mask, and hoping that the whiny little kid in front of me was going to be sedated, I was also mentally checking off my own elements of plane-nature: a neck pillow, earplugs, hand sanitizer, my first-go at ambien... when a rather burly, frat-boy type walked up to me and asked if I could do him a favor. Oh man, never a good start unless the person is holding a camera and you're in front of some monument somewhere. But here, what could I possibly do for him? I was in the same tuna can he was. I only had the one magazine, the one pillow, the one little blanket--truly, I could see nothing to offer.

me: ummmmmmmmmm, sure?

him: see that girl over there?

(thinking it was a rhetorical question, i didn't actually crane my head to look, and nodded with hesitation)

well, that's my sister and we'd really like to sit together and i was wondering...

(oh, here it comes....)

would you mind changing seats with her?

me: is she by a window seat?

him: yeah

me: gads, i am SO sorry dude, but i specifically chose an aisle seat. i just can't sit in a window seat. {i don't remember now if i actually got into the fact that i have an incredibly small bladder which requires me to get up and pee every 30 minutes or so, not to mention, i hate being suffocated into a little seat with no where to go and having to ask the person next to me to get up and down according to my issue-filled whims and, did i mention my fear of flying? being by a window, watching the ground disappear--not good for my mental state. but, anyway, i think i kept that all to myself...}

him: oh yeah, totally. i understand. sure, it's okay.

You bet it's okay, boy-o! I paid for this particular seat. I picked it out online and, while I wasn't very thrilled with the results, I could only imagine what laid in wait for me on the other side of the plane if I were to take the chancy non-aisle seat!

As he was preparing to sit down next to me, I stood up to let him in and looked over at said sister. She WAS in an aisle seat! Well, that was a totally different story. No fat man with a swine-flu cough over there, no grumpy babies near by.

me: hey! yeah! i'll do it!

him: you will? oh, that's great. thank you, thank you.

Gestures, hand-waving, movement of bags. She was excited, he was excited. I was mildly relieved for the change and settled down next to a non-english-speaking woman who seemed to pose no future threat of bad flying mojo...and off we go!

Except, suddenly, super-expressive, dual-language Dad shows up with his three daughters and tries to sit where the brother and sister are already sitting. Hmmmmm. This could prove to be troublesome. So, I sink low in my seat, figuring MY favor has already been culled and I'm done. I watch as the group of them try and figure out how two of them have the same seat number and maybe it was my seat number and blah blah blah...the beautiful, blonde, german stewardess gets involved immediately and we all wait with baited breath to see what the outcome is going to be. I spend the next few minutes saying my good-flight-mojo prayers and I come to find them answered.

Beautiful, blonde, german stewardess moves me up to Business Elite and I revel in my unbelievable luck, while waving my bittersweet goodbyes to the dual-language dad, his daughters, and my truly unlucky brother & sister seatmates (they ended up being separated again in all this). By the time I moved my seat for the second time, it was about 11pm at night and I was exhausted. I knew I had a long flight ahead of me, but when I saw all the goodies that would be afforded me in biz class, I had to stay awake no matter what!

Full hot towels, Gerber daises in the bathroom along with a full-length mirror and window onto the world, non-stop movies, a 4-course menu that ends with cheese (oh, europeans! i love you!), the red wine that was one of the better bottles I've had, and the full on reclining seat for when I was finally ready to curl under my sheets and blankets and fall fast asleep.

I'm sure my giddy-ness was obvious to not only the stewardess' but to the business man next to me who makes this flight weekly, but I didn't care a whit!

In the morning, I was one of the first to awake, to be sure I could join in the amazing breakfast and maybe catch another free movie! When I wiped the sleep away from my eyes and looked around, the place was silent and not a being stirred, except for one man two seats over. He was hard to miss. He had his work uniform on, which included his white collar. It was a priest! He looked as if he hadn't even reclined his seat, let alone taken part of all the goodies I'd indulged in. I took it as a good sign, he and I were in this together. He was maybe even looking out for me. Out of habit, or maybe just to cover all bases, I automatically crossed myself. If he saw me, he didn't let on. So I leaned back in my luxury seat and waited for the stewardess' to bring my fresh, hot towel.


julochka said...

wow, that is a string of good karma. and i can tell you that apparently the luftwaffe biz class is better on the flts to north america than it is between india and frankfurt. where they do not employ any stewardesses who are beautiful or polite. the ones on that route are bitter and angry and clearly haven't gotten any in were lucky indeed, but would have been even luckier had you gotten biz class upgrade on virgin. now THAT's heavenly. :-)

paige said...

I could read a novel written online if you wrote it.

No other blog can hold my attention like yours. I love every detail.

j'taimee said...

that really WAS a house in the clouds :)

Karafina said...

oh hellll no!!!!!

you sooooo lucky! i hope one day this happens to me!!!!
im so happy for you that you got to fly business!!!