[Previously posted on Facebook]
I am 70 years old. Last Sunday, for the first time in my life, I flew 1st class on an airline.
This was not the plan. Mia McDavid and I had a wonderful weekend in Chicagoland with Windycon and our visit to St. Luke’s. She had to drive on to Michigan to visit one of her old college professors, while I had obligations back in the Twin Cities. So the plan was for her to drop me off in downtown Chicago and drive on to Michigan. Meanwhile I would take the CTA Blue Line train to O’Hare airport and catch a 3PM flight to MSP.
The problem with a weekend so soggy with nostalgia was that I had forgotten the realities of Chicago life. We were 15 minutes late getting downtown. My CTA train was 20 minutes late getting into the downtown station and got stuck on the track two stops before O’Hare. By the time I got into the airport the doors had closed on my flight.
Figuring that Delta, which dominates MSP, would be my best bet for finding another flight (in retrospect that may have been a mistake) I went to their ticket counter and, after waiting in line, explained my situation. The polite and professional agent there, with a smile that made clear that she knew she had me by the balls, explained what she could do: I could take a 1st class ticket on a flight leaving about 6PM for about $560, or wait for a coach flight at 8PM. I took the earlier flight.
Having been forced to take a 1st class ticket, I had no intention of passing up the amenities. Knowing that I would be taking Uber home from the airpost, I had two glasses of wine. I would have had at least one more if the trip had been any longer. As it was we got into MSP about 20 minutes early, a very rare event for any flight from or to O’Hare. As we were taxiing to the gate the Captain went on the PA and said something like this:
Ladies and Gentlemen, Jeff Bezos is one of the richest men on the planet, but even he cannot buy one second of time. We have arrived 20 minutes early, so, for now, you are all richer than Jeff Bezos.