My First Time in Business Class Ruined Plane Travel For Me — Forever
You don’t realize how much you need business class in your life … until you ride it. (Photo: Thinkstock)
If everyone could fly business class, there would be no more war, is the somewhat heady conclusion I came to after being upgraded from economy on a recent return flight from Munich to New York City.
Before last week, I had never flown business class, and, truth be told, never thought much about doing so. Most of the flying I do is either on airlines that have a reasonable economy set-up or too short to merit spending the extra dollars on a few inches of leg room.
I’m also a bad flier. When I say bad, I mean the sort of flier who gets worked up about a flight days ahead of departure and then for the duration of the trip, is entirely convinced the only thing keeping the plane safely aloft at 30,000 feet is my total and undivided attention.
This makes me feel ridiculous spending the extra money for business class since I am so busy sitting upright and willing the plane to stay afloat … with my mind. Even if I could afford it, it was hardly worth it. Or so I always assumed.
Boy was I wrong. About everything. The flight to Munich — where I had been asked to moderate a panel at a conference, all expenses paid — is just over eight hours. Add to that the time spent on the runway at JFK International Airport when you are number 47 in line for takeoff, and you’re looking at an extra 90 minutes. Much to my surprise, the economy seats on Lufthansa were tiny even by economy standards. By the time we finally rolled onto the runway, a solid hour after boarding the plane, the four inches between my knees and the seat back in front of me became increasingly panic-inducing. Not four minutes into flight, the woman seated in front of me slammed her seat back. All the way. Four inches became two, and I spent the next few hours getting up close and personal with Ingrid Bergman (“I ran away from you once. I can’t do it again.”). (Side note: Why hasn’t anyone banned reclining seats in economy? They are, in my opinion, a hangover from the days when travelers’ comfort was an actual business consideration, but they have since become a force used only for evil.)
If Dante were alive today, he would create a new circle of hell for the inventor of economy class. (Photo: Thinkstock)