Surviving First Class

LAX is empty.  The self check in line is devoid of anything save for the necessary machines.  The First Class line with its rub red velvet ropes has three people waiting – all men, all in blazers.  For a moment I contemplate standing behind them because my ticket is a First Class ticket and I don’t even know if First Class people are allowed to check in with the plebeians.  I realize that this thought is completely ridiculous, as is waiting just so I can look like an elitist in a show displayed for nobody.  I breeze through self-check, give my 33 pound pag to a friendly gentleman and I’m on my way.  The emblazered crew haven’t budged.  Pretentiousness is inefficient.

I head past Gate 41 to the frosted doors that say “Members Only” – a phrase that only ever meant vintage jackets and Miami Vice to me.  But no, this is the Admirals Club and I have access to it per my mileage purchased ticket.  The staff is chipper and I don’t feel like I’m at an airport at all anymore.  A blonde woman hands me a plastic card and asks if I’m going to London to model.  I’m wearing a baggy gray shirt that says “Sin City Las Vegas” and bright red sorts that double as denim underwear.  I suppose I don’t look like their normal clientele.

I take an elevator and hand my card to another blonde woman with giant blue eyes who tells me that she hates when other women are taller than her.  Then she laughs.  I am shephered again to another room for first class passengers.  I feel like it’s the first day of school and I’m the much talked about “cool girl” that everyone inexplicably wants to be friends with.  This is what happens to people that spend thousands of dollars on a plane ticket: professional ass kissing.

My plastic card is inserted into a wall and more frosted doors open up.  I am greeted for the third time by another woman who is brunette.  I’ve been here five minutes.

The First Class Lounge is as quiet as a library and has walls of glass that look onto the planes below.  I hold back the desire to giggle out loud.  Money isn’t everything but this sure as hell tickles me pink.  I snake my way past rows of giant leather seats and headphones playing classical music into a few pairs of listening ears.

The room opens up to a buffet and glass cases of chilled beverages.  There is a printed menu of this evening’s selections.  I look for a price next to the items – of which there are none –  and step around awkwardly wondering if I am supposed to be here.  I decide that I am.  I grab a bottle of Acqua Pana natural spring water, passing on the sparkling San Pelegrino.  There are absurdly neatly organized bottles of Coca Cola, Diet Coke, ginger ale, tonic water, regular water in a jug with lemon slices, a few carafes of milk and various juices.  There are mini croissant sandwiches, tiny cheesecakes garnished with strawberries, barbecue chips, pita chips, granola bars, bananas, apples, various crackers, bow tie pasta, spinach salad, more crackers, tequila chicken soup, red wine, white wine, six different kinds of beer, twenty different bottles of liquor, an espresso machine, coffee pots, milk on ice.

My previous airport options have amounted to $4 Starbucks lattes, overpriced bananas, crappy trail mix that will forever remind me of sleep deprivation, and if I’m lucky, a salad with fake chicken.  A scene from Charlotte’s Web plays over and over in my head  I am overwhelmed.  A smile crosses my face as I sit down, surveying my bounty.  I am not hungry at all, but I begin to eat and drink like a bum at a soup kitchen.templeton


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