Thursday, November 22, 2012

The business class humiliation - Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur

I had often heard people talking about it as a quality choice, as compensation for overbooking or damaged seats issues or even as a shortcut to making useful acquaintances. I had always managed to stay away from it though. A proud member of the common people as I am, prompted by wild aversion for the parvenus' habits: golf, exclusive clubs, showy cars, jewels, middle class cottages and, precisely, business class. Finally, after a lot of uncomfortable and dusty journeys, cattle trucks, groups of prisoners, buses in unstable balance on the brink of deep ravines, long waits in no man's land, anti-illegal immigration control procedures, I ended up suffering that ignominy. I can't believe it was me, the same person who complained about getting from Venice to Bangkok in only 32 hours and who intends to do it overland one day just to make up for it. That guy, me, in business class, sneaked in on the sly. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't my choice, of course. The people who hire me to teach the courses booked my flight at the very last minute: all the economy seats were already sold out and they had to opt for an upgrade. Hadn't they done that they would have had no teacher for the first day's class: definitely unfeasible.
That's how I found myself stunned by a sequence of privileges that I have never needed before: dedicated check-in desk, outbound immigration premier lane, luxury lounge, priority seats at the gate, priority boarding, flying sofa, wide selection of glossy magazines, flight attendants stopping by to have a casual conversation (you have never noticed me when I was packed along with the other sardine-passangers there in the back of the plane, are you on the hunt for a rich husband? Well, you can keep looking then...), cool drink after take off, selected nuts (less than 30% peanuts!!! Isn't that great?), brocade tablecloth, tungsten cutlery, crystal glasses, a neighbor that smiles, thanks and nods like an Eton student and then again immigration premier lane upon arrival. Had they caught me walking the few hundred meters separating the airport shuttle station from the hotel, carrying a big bag and a guitar on my back, they would have banned me from their luxury club for life. 
Don't get me wrong, it is all very convenient: those details can totally change the way you travel. They actually make you feel as if you were not traveling at all. Yet, I have to say bad things about them. Even though these whims are not my cup of tea one can easily get used to them. When I come across anything that shines too brightly...I prefer to adopt the tramp's mistrust.

Photo by caribb (CC)


Carmen said...

Y r u still complaining when u r even travelling on a business class :(

Fabio said...

Carmen: haha I need to convince myself that it's a bad thing so I don't get used to would be a tragedy if I had to pay for a habit like that!