21 February, 2008

Upper Class (and Laughing Last)

There is nothing like indulging in, and embracing the time one must spend at the airport. A good book. Browsing the inane little shops. Reading your chosen book, your travel companion (Atlas Shrugged today, a large but delicious book, and pertinent as Rand loved New York so).

However, today I find I take issue with the notion of Transatlantic travel. I find it insidious that a person shows up early for a flight they books six weeks ago, and gets kicked off their flight because the airline cancelled the previous flight, and has thus put all of the displaced passengers in the seats of those who could not check in online. I could not check in online because my internet was scuppered, and thus, even though I arrived two and a half hours early for my flight, I lost my seat. Madness!

It was at this point, in a relatively calm and collected mood myself, that Neil shows up. Neil is a defenseless, quintessentially English functionary. An anemic-looking, sloped-shouldered, jut-toothed, slightly balding boy shoved into a suit by the oppressive and irrational Airline he 'works like a lackey from rise to set' for. He creeps over to the crowd of angry travelers and squeaks out the unpleasant news to us all surrounded by a bevy of siren-y "beauties" in heavy make-up and domineering red coats to protect his mousey self from the wrath of the crowd. He tells us to wait. He tells us we'll have to move to the side with all our bags. He tells us to wait another hour until boarding closes. He runs away each time to the protection of the red ladies.

It was at this point that a thought arises within me. Slowly, calmly, and much less offensively than the angry mob behind me. I approach the desk and say so quietly and calmly the Sirens themselves are seduced,

"Excuse me. I don't mean to be any more of a bother than that angry mob already has, but I'm just sitting here, on the cold hard ground and thinking to myself that the reason all of us aren't on the flight we booked is because you have overbooked your flight, as well as filled our seats with people from a flight you cancelled. And yet, if we had checking in online, we'd be fine. What has really occurred here is a preference towards those with a dependable, working, internet connection. that is a Socioeconomic issue. It's actually soooooort of a form of prejudice."

And no sooner had the words exited my lips than a flurry of Airline sirens and functionaries alike were hustling like headless chickens, getting all of the angry mob on to Upper Class....

... starting with me.

The End.
(...Moral of the story pending...)

PS) FYI: you're involuntarily bumped off your flight and the airline can't get you to your destination within an hour of the original arrival time, federal law requires that you be paid the equivalent of your one-way fare up to $200 or $400, depending on the length of the delay. This compensation is woefully inadequate and hasn't been adjusted for inflation since first introduced into law. (And no, you won't be compensated for the mega business deal you weren't able to close because you weren't there.) Passengers should insist on cold hard cash instead of a travel voucher since they come with restrictions and can be difficult to redeem. Also, here's a helpful website about being "bumped."


  1. Wow, you handled that with such poise! And upper class to boot. That really makes a flight across the Atlantic go by faster. Hope you arrived safely.

    Poor little Niel.

  2. patience is.....a virtue?

    as is level headedness and a quick tongue!

  3. Ah.... love it. Am proud of your work!



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