The view from 38,000 feet

I’m going to grudgingly admit that the new business class (sorry executive first) for Air Canada is a whole load better than the old one. But that’s like saying being menaced by a slightly vexed sheep is not quite as awful when compared to the full body killed and eaten experience from an angry sabre toothed tiger.

Gone have the cracked leather seats, 640×480 RGB bulkhead TV projection and in have come sleepy seats with a thousand controls, personal DVD systems and a whole bunch of other game/map/audio options that don’t actually work. But hey, the seats are very cool and you don’t have to elbow some fat guy on his third pudding when you need a wee. Which since I pre-hydrated with three glasses or orange juice and a litre of water is currently running at about a ten minute frequency.

The planes still only have two engines though. I may have previously mentioned how unhappy I am about that.

My fellow passengers in first class (and it’s all a bit wrong as all the poor b@stards in steerage have to walk thru this sci-fi seat arrangement marvelling at the pompous rich people within) are an eclectic mix of arrogant and annoying. One of the stewardess’s isn’t very well but this doesn’t stop these needy overgrown children demanding stuff they could quite easily do themselves.

The whole flying thing has come full circle – when air travel was for the rich back in the 30’s, it was all galleried fuselages and foie grass for breakfast. Then we had ‘pack us in and sell it cheap’ of the Laker era and now we’re back to the chippy fuckers paying thousands for a 7hr flight while those in steerage down are basically slightly expensive cargo.

I always feel guilty checking in, avoiding the queues, and then hitting the fast track where the wait is merely 10 minutes whereas everyone else has at least an hour of hot, turgid hell, and then the bloke in front of you still forgets he has to take his laptop out.

And if that isn’t enough, there is some kind of 1984 RightThink going on as you stumble out of security separated from about half your personal belongings. You’re flung into a neon hell of Satan’s wares double discounted and irritatingly pedalled by minimum waged uniformed desperados.

Maybe I’ve become a bit too cynical but I couldn’t wait to run away, get away to the calm of the lounge where many people displayed characteristics best described as “quite arrogant without much to be arrogant about“. I never really lost that working class chip on my shoulder, and I find myself being studiously polite to everyone from those cleaning the bogs to those serving you drinks.

I’d like to think this is because I recognise their worth in a world lacking in meritocracy, but I wonder if some of it is because I don’t want to be grouped with the self important arse sat opposite. Honestly some of these people, just so far divorced from reality, it’s scary. If I had any real working class credentials left, I’d punch the lot of them.

Still after only being singled out four times by serious looking men representing a myriad of UK/Canadian security services, I finally made it into the country. Apparently business travelling is still viewed by a few “ I assume these people have access to neither television or newspapers “ as a perk of some kind of privileged class. It isn’t, being here is great, getting here is bloody dreadful.

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