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Air Rage

by Helen Redmond

Go to the airport. Get on an airplane.

See how class flies.

Travel classes. Cabin classes: First Class. Business Class. Economy Class.

No attempt to hide class. Class inequality in your face. Up in the air.

Class bought. Booked. Unabashed class in air. It’s one of the few times  the idle rich and the capitalist class are in close proximity to the economy cabin masses.

Red Carpet Club. Admirals Club. Executive Club. Privilege Club. Concorde Room.

“Discover a place of calm and tranquility in which to relax before your journey.” – British Airways.

“An oasis of service and privacy.” – United Airlines.

“Come dine in our first class lounge, relax at the spa or indulge in retail therapy at our exclusive duty free mall. Now the halfway point is a destination in itself.” – Qatar Airways.

“Flying First Class means enjoying the highest standard of travel, even before you take off. Deciding for yourself how to spend your time. Enjoying valuable moments of peace and quiet and the privacy to do so in the midst of a busy airport. And starting every flight with that ‘First Class’ feeling.” – Lufthansa
Lounge. Class. Exclusive surroundings. Well-appointed. Unprecedented levels of sophistication, comfort and refinement. Quintessentially your private concierge. Exceptional luxury.

Business suites, private cabanas, quiet rooms with daybeds, exclusive cigar lounge, shower facilities, en-suite private Infinity bathroom. Medical centre.
A world away from the economy masses sitting crammed into small spaces, stretched out sleeping on stained carpet, prisoners of delayed and cancelled flights. Dirty, shitty, slimy, tiny bathroom stalls. No toilet paper. No soap. Trash piles. Economy. Class. Amidst the unrelenting surround sound of screaming infants, whining, crying toddlers. Seat hogging, shouting into phones, snapping, complaining, cranky adult passengers. Body odor. Bad breath.

Air rage.

Check-in. Be first. Class. Enhanced baggage allowance. Priority security check-in. Sit-down check-in area. Whisked through.

“Nothing is too much trouble if it can make your journey smoother, from pressing your suit to confirming your hotel room. Just ask.”

Priority boarding. Elite access. Board first. Class.

Gate agent announces enthusiastically, “I’d like to welcome our first class, business class, Elite Premier 1, Gold K passengers to board through the red carpet area.” They board in a separate, cordoned off area.  A red carpet is laid over the stained carpet for them to stand on as they board.

A brief moment when first class capitalists are in full view of second class economy workers.

Boarding announcement for economy masses. Bored. “Now boarding seating number 2.”

Air rage.

Captain: “Flight attendants, arm the doors for departure.”

Onboard. In-flight. Amenities. You First. Class.

Cabin crew pamper premier passengers. Before take-off “take flight” on the tarmac with our award winning, premium selection of generous pours: wine, champagne, cordials, cocktails. Complimentary.

Economy beverage service begins when plane levels off.

Not complimentary.

Beer, $6. House wines, $7.  Spirits and liquors, $7.

“Once onboard, prepare to turn your personal space into a 5-star restaurant, a full-featured Cineplex in the sky, an office, or a completely flat bed enveloped by a feather duvet. The choice is yours.”

Comfort. First. Class. Unique personal windows that span two windows.

Enhanced in-flight seating. Seats that are 60% wider at the shoulder. 8 in-seat massage settings. Space to stretch out.

Coach class. No personal space.

Prepare to be packed together like licorice.

Southwest Airlines created the “Customer of Size” program.

Customers with unique seating needs, i.e. flying while fat. Large seatmates whose bodies extend into the neighboring seat. Flesh infringement.

“Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat should proactively book the needed number of seats prior to travel. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats and measures 17 inches in width.”

Southwest said it would be staggeringly expensive to add a few wide seats in economy to accommodate obese customers.

Air rage.

In-flight dining at 35,000 feet.

Celebrity chef designed menus. Culinary food flight. “As a premium passenger you’ll be served signature delicatessen such as foie gras, caviar, lobster and smoked salmon.” Exquisite ten-course meal of tantalizing delights. Arabic mezzas. Catch of the day. Braised beef cheeks with port sauce. Cream cheese and walnut tartlet, blue cheese canapé, pear and cheese ravioli with aubergine and tomato concasse. Finely cut rocket, pesto, Seaside English cheddar sandwiches.

Sumptuous puddings and a selection of fine chocolate truffles from: DeLafee, Knipschildt, Noka and Richart.

Freshly brewed Kona coffee and espresso.

Bon Appetit!

Economy masses food choice: chicken or pasta.

Available for purchase: soggy snackboxes shrink wrapped like luggage.

Low class snackbox for $7.49: pretzels, crackers, goldfish, Hormel hard salami, cheese spread, jelly beans, Chips Ahoy! cookies.

Starbucks freshly brewed coffee. Tea. Not me!

Sleep well. Sweet dreams of floating on beds of cumulus clouds.

Lie-flat seats that recline to a full 6 foot 6-inch bed.

BackCycler motion system for lumbar support and back stimulation.

“Should you decide you’re ready to sleep, you can slip into wonderful soft cotton pajamas and request Turndown Service at any time of the day. We’ll make up your fully flat bed with a specially designed single-piece quilted mattress, crisp white 400-thread Egyptian cotton duvet and pillow to help you drift off in comfort more blissfully than ever.”

Inflatable, travel neck pillow. Seat back reclined. Kinda. Try to fall asleep sitting up. Drift off, neck snap wake up. Saliva drool. Sleep deprivation. Itchy flat pillow. Natty polyester blanket. Back ache. Leg cramps. Deep vein thrombosis.

Jammed aisles. Stay in your seat. Seat belt sign on.

Economy class cabin fever.

Air rage.

Arrive refreshed.

Perk up those premium passenger pores.

“We’ve invited world-renowned dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad to come on board and prescribe a special selection of his premium skincare products to protect your skin from in-flight moisture loss.” Amenity facial kit. Branded toiletries.

Goldman Sacks bankers need to look good when they get to Greece.

To tell the Greeks they have to share the sacrifice.

To work longer hours for less pay, pay more taxes, receive less benefits and retire later with a reduced pension.

Rejuvenate. Replenish. Enrich. Business. Class.

Complimentary call girls. Elite in-flight escort service.

Business. Class. Men. AAdvantage. Rewards. Frequent. Fliers.

Pomegranate body lotion massage.

Skin therapy. Oral hydration.

Just kidding!

No hookers on long-haul flights.

Against FAA regulations.

Jet Blues.

Easy Jet. Not easy.

We are not United.

Anti-American.

The skies are not friendly.

For a fee you are free to move about the country. By class.

Captain: “Flight attendants, disarm the doors for arrival.”

Air rage.

Helen Redmond is a free-lance writer. She can be reached at redmondmadrid@yahoo.com

Helen Redmond is an independent journalist and writes about the war on drugs and health care. She can be reached at redmondmadrid@yahoo.com

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