21 02 2010

Category; Humour

Upstairs on a 747! How many times as a child had I stared towards the upper deck and thought about the glamour that lay at the top of that little staircase. And now I’ve made it; business class on a 747 Jumbo Jet…

By the time I’m here I may have thinning hair and receding gums, and it’s courtesy of someone else’s airmiles, but here I am with the movie stars and captains of industry. OK some salarymen glued to laptops and a couple on honeymoon, but it beats going to the library to save on heating bills.

From the airline's website - footstool, screen, and tray far far away

Would you like a drink, sir?

Tomato juice please, with Worcestershire sauce.

Abstemious; good. I can have any drink I want and that’s what I want, but I don’t see a Tabasco bottle. No Tabasco?

A flaw! Or maybe it’s just in case a terrorist blinds someone with chilli.

No matter, I rise above the lack of Tabasco. My tastes are simple. I have another tomato juice, with Worcestershire sauce, ice, a slice of lemon. The simplicity of my tastes is overwhelming. It’s in a glass. A proper glass. Made of glass.

At first sight the seat is shocking, and mystifying. So much space and so much unnecessary and decadent gadgetry. I play with the entertainment system. This is obscene. Who needs to travel this way? I’m travelling to a country where most people can hardly afford to eat.

The touchscreen doesn’t register where you poke it, you have to aim a little to the right. Tiresome.

I reach an annoyingly long way to release the screen – is it motorised in First Class? I try discreetly wrenching it but after that fails I read the guide to my seat, a modest 2-sided laminated affair that alerts me to the beautifully discreet buttons for screen and tray.

The footrest has to be lowered and it’s a long way away. I have to get out of the seat to manhandle it into its various positions; higher, lower, angled. Surely they could get that motorised? In First Class it probably is already.

A warm towel, and a little bag with socks, eyemask, and unguents. Delivered by the hostess; Celtic and capable. Old enough to exude capacity, but not old enough to be too motherly. There’s still a twinkle. And she seems to understand me so much better than any woman out there in the real world. She intuits.

Would I like anything? She asks when I’m half-way through watching a film. I didn’t realise I did want anything, but instantly I know that it’s a peppermint tea that would enhance the joy I currently feel. We’re both intuiting.

But no alcohol – not even caffeine. My modesty must impress. Almost ascetic. Like the Dalai Lama without the robes. Where can you buy robes? Siddhartha was a prince. A modest prince; he’d have had mint tea in business class.

Mr Green, what would you like for your main course? Mr Green! You called me Mr Green. What I’d like most of all is for this to last forever.

I’ll have the lamb.

Mmm the Chardonnay I had with the Thai chicken starter was lovely, I’ll go red with the lamb but the St Joseph or the Chilean blended with the intriguing sounding Carmenere grape?

I feel like I’ve won something.

My thoughts have moved seamlessly from how could anyone justify this decadent obscenity to how could I travel any other way. This is justifiable, but those pigs who indulge in the sybaritic excesses of First Class; that vile hedonistic parastism allows no response short of a length of rope and a lamppost.

I lie flat with quilted blanket and pillow and drift away. I cannot over-emphasise the delight of a snooze in seat 62K. You snooze, you wake, you listen to something, read something, watch something, the lovely lady comes with a nice cup of peppermint tea. No thank you no biscuits just the tea is lovely. Then you go to the toilet, not tripping over anyone to get there, no queuing and its clean and there’s a fresh flower. Then you toddle back to 62K and have another nap. It’s a delicious cycle that lasts for hour after perfect hour.

Actually the lamb is a bit tough; all the food is adequate but who cares when it’s so nicely presented on bone china (stamped Royal Doulton but made in Bangladesh; I’ve been to the factory, they use halal fake bone) and eaten with steel cutlery.

I never once think of the people in Economy. I don’t care about the people in Economy. Who cares about the people in Economy? I saw them all queuing and I even smiled and handed back something one of them dropped, but, seriously, who cares?

Sometimes I wonder about the people in Premium Economy. That’s where I should probably be. I’d be fine with that. This is great, but I don’t take it for granted. I’d be absolutely fine with the rubbing elbows, lack of legroom, inability to lie flat, a neighbour’s drool on my shoulder, children playing, children screaming, children. No Mr Green, no peppermint tea.

No dessert thanks – maybe some cheese, that’s what the Dalai Lama would go for. Would I like port with that? Oh god yes. I’m not sure the Dalai Lama would but I’d love port with that. An entire brim-filled glass of fortified wine would be great with that.

This cheese isn’t ripe. It’s cold and it’s not fully ripe. Why serve me Brie that’s not ripe? OK there’s a grape and a sliver of celery, but it’s not ripe and it’s not Brie de Meaux. Do they have Brie de Meaux in First Class? Maybe Epoisses? Ripe Epoisses? Pigs.

This is my lunch. Probably looks similar in First Class, but tastes better

After mint? After thought. First Class probably get Bendicks

Real Coffee, Real Halal Bone China. Mmmmm.

© Sam Green



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