Just when I think I’m in …

Posted on
Dec 21, 2009
Posted in: Random Musings

… they pull me back out.

Rand and I are down in California, visiting my crazy family and trying to relax. We got upgraded on our flight down, which certainly helped, but our experiences at the Alaska Board Room left me, well … ick.

Apparently, Alaska Airlines charges an annual membership fee to use any of their board rooms along the west coast. It costs $375 to join, plus another $150 if you want your spouse to join. And, get this: even if you have gold status, which my hubby has, you can’t access the board room. Not even with a first-class ticket (which, in this case, we had).

I have to admit, this kind of amazed me. It seems so … elitist. And I realize the hypocrisy in that, the fact that I’m upset that my husband’s “elite” status on an airline still keeps us out of their board room. I suppose there’s some sort of deeper root to all of it – something about not being good enough to be let in. Maybe it’s my upper-lower-middle class upbringing that comes in to play here and makes me get a bit defensive (an in-law once described me as having grown up “on the wrong side of the tracks” – which, I guess, is how some people describe Ballard). But more than a chip on my shoulder, I just wanted my husband to have an internet connection and a cup of tea for his sore throat. Considering how much damn money he spends with Alaska, I kind of figured he was entitled to it.

Ah, but there’s that word: entitled. That’s a dangerous thing. No one’s entitled to anything, really, except that bit about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Everything else – coffee, internet connections, a modicum of manners – is a bonus. I need to remember that.

Especially after the reaction of the woman at the front desk of the Alaska Board Room. After we walked in, she snidely told us that we couldn’t enter with our tickets.

“Sorry – your tickets have been upgraded. You can only get in if you paid full-price for your first class ticket. But,” she said, giving us a pitying, saccharin smile, “thanks for asking.”

And I realized, we hadn’t asked her anything at all.

We walked back out, got a bite to eat, and sat down in the food court for a while before heading to our gate. And, as we boarded the plane before everyone else, it got me to thinking, again, about entitlement, and about all the times I passed the folks in the first class, and now I was one.

And you know what I realized?

This whole “class” thing? It’s all just a bunch of b.s. One day the masses will revolt: the coach passengers will take over first class, demanding free alcoholic drinks and real silverware. People will board and sit wherever they please. And on that day, dear friends? I’ll be sitting in the Alaska Board Room. Mark your calendars.

Leave a Comment

  • Giselle

    ‘Tis true on Delta as well – only the very top tier of Medallion members (Platinum) get free SkyClub membership. The rest of us lowly Medallion members get a discount, although it’s still expensive (about the same as Alaska). The only times I’ve been in there were when I was traveling with my boss, who’s got millions of miles (seriously) and thus can get guests in. It stinks – the SkyClub is a nice perk that I wish they extended to all the Medallion members! C’est la vie, I suppose.

  • The one time I went first class (thanks to my then-very-pregnant wife and my overly generous father-in-law) we got to act like big shots in the United lounge (if free yogurt and all the Zycam we could shove in our pockets is acting “like big shots”). The surprising/disappointing aspect of it was that you still had to leave the lounge and board through the same gate as the hoi polloi. For that kind of money (or more accurately, for that kind of my father-in-law’s money) I expect a super-secret entrance to the plane a la George Jetson, where my chair comes and gets me, then slides into place in the cabin. And what’s with letting the lumpen proletariat enter through the rarefied air of the first class section? Whatever happened to the servant’s entrance?

    Anyway, I don’t travel enough to ever qualify for the various color-coded exclusionary “clubs.” Alas. Although I think the riot scenario you laid out is the very “security reason” for which they ask the unwashed masses to not use the first-class toilet. Though if they were really concerned about the “security” of the airborne dignitaries, they’d have a fancy iron portcullis or at least a vicious guard dog.

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