My family and I just returned from a week’s vacation in Tuscon, which I’m sure you don’t really want to read about, unless you care to view all 1283 pictures of airplanes that my husband took at the Pima Air and Space Museum.  (Yeah, I really don’t want to look at them, either.  I had to see the real things once already in the 105 degree sun).  However, that won’t keep me from blogging about this trip in the next few weeks!

Of course to get to Tuscon, we flew, rather than spend half the vacation driving.  Now I’ve always gotten the message there is a distinction between first class passengers and the rest of us peons.  But it seems the airlines are adding more and more “classes” of passengers lately.  There used to be 3 zones.  Now there are 6-9.  We are always at or very near the bottom zone for some reason – mostly because we refuse to pay an additional fifty bucks apiece to get into a higher zone.

As we sat in the boarding area waiting for our zone to be called, I listened to the other zones with their unique “betterness” than us being called.  It went something like this:

“All Priority Club Platinum Richer than Trump  first class passengers may pre-board now through the priority lane.  Welcome aboard to our very esteemed guests and thank you for choosing us instead of your private jet.”  Now mind you, the priority line is simply a lane to the left of a divider that separates the three foot distance from the waiting area to the agent who scans the ticket.  In fact, at the end of the divider, the passengers have to cross into a common area to get to the agent.

“Next all Priority Club Gold Elite Members on the first class passenger A-list are welcome to pre-board through the priority lane, where champagne and caviar will be served shortly to both you and the Priority Club Platinum Richer than Trump guests, just as soon as you have made yourselves comfortable.  Welcome aboard.”

After a moment, another announcement is made.  “All Priority Club first class beautiful A-list people are now welcome to board through the priority lane.  Welcome aboard, honored guests.”

“All First Class, non-beautiful people B-list passengers are now welcome to board through the priority lane.   A flight attendant will bring you and the Priority Club first class beautiful A-list people an assortment of refreshments while you wait for the common people to board.”

As the last of the eight first class passengers make their way down the jet way, the agent announces, “We will now begin boarding in zones through the main lane.”  She meanders to the divider, now opening the lane on the right.  “We will begin boarding with zone 4.  Welcome aboard, but don’t forget you are NOT permitted to use the restrooms in first class.”

While the cattle stampede for zone 4 is squeezing through their single file chute, she announces,  flatly, “Zone 5.”  There is massive congestion at this point, but my family and I wait patiently at the very back of the crowd.

At last it is our turn.  “The rest of you riff raff from zone 6 can go ahead now,” she says in a disgusted tone.  “Just don’t touch or look at any of the first class passengers as you go by.  And don’t smack them in the head with your carry-on baggage.  Wait until you get into the main cabin to do that.”

“I’m going through the priority gate,” I tell my husband.  I’ve always been a little defiant.

“Go ahead,” he says.

So I duck under the divider, walk the three feet down the priority lane and meet up with him and my son in the open area.  Nobody says anything to me.  Hah!  But then, there are only a handful of people left.

As we are heading down the jet way, I hear, “Zone 7 cheap pond sucking bottom scum feeders.  MOVE IT SLIME BALLS!”

We finally make it on board, taking note the first class passengers are eyeing us with open disdain, even though we DID shower and use our deodorant.  “Where is our row?” I ask my husband.

“Twenty-nine,” he says.

“There are only thirty rows in the whole airplane.  Where does zone 7 sit?  On the tail?”

“Zone 7 is the free-for-all group,” he explains, meaning they are stuck wherever they can find an empty seat, usually in the middle between two large, smelly sumo-wrestler types.

“Oh.” I wedge myself into the tight seat and attempt to shove my carry-on under the seat in front.  As the circulation slowly cuts off to my lower extremities, a child kicks the seat behind me and a baby starts to wail in the seat across the aisle.  A woman bangs me in the head with her massive purse as she tries to cram her carry-on into an overhead bin.  I pray she doesn’t drop her luggage on my head as she shoves her stomach into my face. The kid behind me is now playing with the tray on the back of my seat.  Up, down, up down, WHAM, down.  I start praying the woman whose stomach is still in my face, who is still struggling with her luggage drops it on the kid behind me.   Okay, not really.   There are already fifteen people lined up in the aisle waiting to use one of the two restrooms reserved for the 264 non-elite passengers.

It doesn’t matter though.  We’re all going to the same place – from the Priority Club Platinum Richer than Trump  first class passengers to us mere peons. And at least my family is just riff raff and not cheap pond sucking bottom scum feeders.  I find myself feeling rather smug to be superior to SOMEONE.