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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Coffee, Tea - but Mom's leaving for First Class

Let me pose a question to you moms out there (and dads). At what age would you feel comfortable abandoning your children? Wait, hold on and let me rephrase that. At what age would you feel comfortable allowing your children to self-manage themselves on a plane ride so you and your spouse can enjoy the benefits and luxury of First Class on the last leg of your plane ride home (after 10-days of 24x7 vacation with the kids)?

Well, I quickly discovered my answer to that question. In the wee hours of the morning my family and I embarked on our return flight from our east coast vacation. Visions of my Tempur-Pedic bed floated through my mind as I tried to get some shut-eye on the plastic airport bench between flight segments. Meanwhile, while I was trying to get some shut-eye, my husband decided to check our seat assignments because he was sitting in a different part of the plane for the last leg of the trip home. He was informed by the ticket agent that two First Class seats were available for us, but it would mean being separated from the children. He called out to me and asked what I wanted to do. Without a split nanosecond of hesitation, and shamelessly in front of my three children, I answered "Go for it!" I think I may have actually yelled it at the top of my lungs so that the whole terminal at Chicago Ohare could be clear on my choice. So in answer to my own question, at a shameless 51 years old for me, and 11, 14 and 17 years for the kids, I definitely felt comfortable abandoning my children (ok, allowing them the independence to self-manage themselves) on the last part of our trip home. I just couldn't take another leg of the trip sitting on top of a quarter-inch thick piece of foam for five hours. Crying babies and ill-mannered children who kick the back of your plane seat just didn't rest well with me. I'd had enough of that. So when my husband announced our chance to upgrade (free I might add, because of his frequent flier status), there was no question that I would leave my children in the poor section of the plane so I could immerse myself in the upper class section. Just like the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry gets upgraded to first class and Elaine is relegated to coach, there are two distinct worlds on an airplane. And I quickly discovered how easy it was to become part of that Business and First Class world. I mean I could actually lie in a prone position in my First Class Lazy-Boy-Like seat while the flight attendant fluffed my pillow and offered Bloody Mary's.

Prior to boarding our flight, I told the kids we'd let them take turns sitting with one of us so they could benefit from our seats. But I forgot the FAA regulation prohibits changing seats enroute for safety reasons. The FAA person who wrote that regulation was probably a mom who'd traveled a lot with her family too! Thank goodness!

So for the next few hours my husband and I dined with silverware and table linens, watched whatever we wanted to on our own individual TVs, took a restful nap in our lazy-boy thrones and got such individualized attention on the flight it was insane! While the ratio of flight attendant-to-passenger in economy is about 100 to 1, in First Class it is about 10 to 1. And we were loving every minute of it. I realized how easy it would be to get used to this First Class lifestyle. My husband and I took a moment to go downstairs (yes, we were aboard a 747 where the First Class seats were located) to check on our kids. It was as if we left Beverly Hills for East LA. The kids were all huddled up in tight quarters, begging for a bite of our hot chocolate chip cookie, asking what other food did they serve "over there". But the curtain was drawn separating First Class from the rest of the plane. We had to leave them quickly so we could go back and savor every minute of First Class while we could. Because once we deplaned, we knew we'd have to go back to our humble home where we didn't have people serving us and fluffing our pillows and asking what beverage we'd like.

Now that we are back home, I can always go back to that little piece of First Class in my memory bank. It was nice while it lasted!


  1. Sitting in economy plusJune 26, 2009 at 12:17 PM

    I thought you just had warm food! Not your own t.v too!:(
    AHHH! Now sitting in "economy plus" sounds even worse!:(

  2. That sounds like heaven at the end of a family trip. And I wouldn't have hesitated for a second! Not at that age at least.
    Heck, my mom sent me on my first solo flight when I was 4, so I come from a long line of relaxed parent fliers. LOL


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