Small Caliber Big Shot? September 12, 2006Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Cars, Humor, Travel.
There aren’t many times that I get to feel like a big shot, but the current trip I’m on (to New Hampshire… again) turned out that way.
It started out innocently enough. While pre-printing my boarding passes for the Northwest flight to Detroit, and then to Manchester, I noticed the option for “a free upgrade to First Class if available.” (I was offered this because my trips to Dubai last year seem to have permanently ensconced me in the “Plutonium Elite” class.) Without thinking much about it, I selected that option, and did the same for the Detroit-Manchester leg of the trip.
I Have No Class But First
While waiting for the plane (which was late) to arrive at the gate, I was called up to the check-in counter, and promptly handed a First Class boarding pass. Hmmm… THAT was unexpected. As one might expect, I smugly pre-boarded with all the other self-absorbed nincompoops who had either paid too much to fly to Detroit, or had received a similar magic upgrade.
Since that flight was delayed taking off, I had to hustle through the Detroit terminal to get within shouting distance of my gate by the time the doors were scheduled to close. Fortunately, that flight was running late too, and I walked up right as general boarding began. “Beep beep” went my ticket as the gate agent scanned it, which was not good (or so I thought) because all the other tickets scanned with a single beep.
She looked surprised, called me by name, and said “Where have you been? We’ve been paging you for 10 minutes!”
“I just barely made the connection,” I responded, and happily took my second freebie First Class upgrade of the evening. In short order, I was again able to stretch, doze a bit, and most importantly, hungrily chow down on the mixed nut trail mix that they were selling to coach passengers for $2/bag.
By the time I disembarked from the second leg, I was beginning to move back to the mode of the humble, coach-flying peasant. I dug out my car reservation, and winced at the words “Dollar Rent-a-Car.” (My experience with low-budget rental cars has been less than stellar.)
Sure enough, I was handed the keys to a Hundai Accent, a fairly small car for someone 6’2″ and 250 lbs (give or take). I lugged my luggage (appropriately named objects) the requisite 300 yards to the car, unlocked, stowed my bags, plugged in all the necessary gear (phone, iPod, and FM adapter) and noted that none of my power-starved devices were being charged.
Ugh! My kingdom for a functional 12v cigarette lighter outlet! (I don’t have much of a kingdom, so that’s not a bad trade for me.) Frustrated, I hauled everything out, locked up the car, and trudged back to the terminal to see about getting a different Hundai Accent. Low and behold, there were no Accents left. Tragically, they gave me a free upgrade!
The upgrade vehicle is a Hundai Azera, a premium car that I was completely unfamiliar with, prior to this trip. Upon entry, I felt as if I had stumbled back into first class: Leather seats, seat heaters (or as I prefer to call them, “bun warmers”), Infinity stereo, automatic climate control, power sunroof… and once I was on the road, I found above average power under the hood. On top of all this, there were THREE 12v power outlets, and they all worked!
Come Wednesday, I have to return the car. There’s no telling if I’ll get First Class seats on the return trip, but I’m skeptical. Soon enough, I’ll be back in coach with all the little people. (Trust me, if you can sit comfortably in a coach seat, the term “little people” most certainly applies. Airlines must expect Lilliputians as typical passengers.)
Until then… I’m a big shot!