Who’s Dumb Enough to Pay to Fly First Class?

I get such a kick out of walking through that premium cabin on my way to a coach seat.

Some things in life are funny. Not uproariously, laugh-out-loud funny but “able to make you smile inside” kind of funny. These small enlightenments are all around; one has but to pay attention and enjoy life’s small follies.

I boarded a US Airways flight from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia this morning. I would have much rather flown Socialist Airways instead (Southwest), but they weren’t headed where I needed to go so US Airways got my business. I say Socialist Air because, unlike “real life,” Southwest has no class distinction. Other than the opportunity, for an extra fee, to board early, the seat in the back is the same as the one in the front. Not so on other airlines.

No, on US Airways you have the opportunity to plunk down a bunch of change and fly in the front, first class. Now, I like luxury as much as the next guy and would love to fly in the big seat in the front, if for no other reason than to get off the plane quickly, but at what price? The coach price for my flight was $304, the first-class price $1,312.

Now I don’t fault someone for paying for a first-class seat: If you have the money and want to sit there, more power to you! In fact, one would assume that the big bucks up front allow for less expensive fares for those of us in steerage but here’s where I got my daily chuckle. All those titans of industry who have already boarded and are sitting comfortably while they read their papers and sip their orange juice look sooooo smug. No eye contact with the rabble as we pass through the first-class cabin. If anyone did bother to look up, they’d see me smiling at the silliness of it all.

Come on, it’s amusing that someone would pay a $1,000 premium for a seat on an airplane. We’re all going through the same space at the same time to get to the same place. Call me crazy, but a bigger seat and some free juice on an airplane at that price seems like a stupid decision to me. In fact, it would make more sense to me to sell first-class seats on the escape chute, if deployed, or the life boat, if needed. Now that would seem like a smart move, don’t you think? That might actually be worth a grand, you know, if you were in shark-infested waters or the plane was on fire.

Like the fact that people park as close as they can to the gym, or that those little square napkin dispensers at the diner dispense one napkin at a time, first-class is funny, that’s all there is to it. Come on, who uses only one of those little napkins?