Hilarious way I ended up in first class
AT THE airline check-in desk, karma can have a way of working out even the worst of situations. This was one of those times, and as a result of an unreasonably irate passenger, I ended up in a place I only ever dreamt of.
I was flying business class, and was thrilled to be in the pointy end of the plane for the journey from Sydney to London. Stepping up to the check-in desk, the helpful agent said he would pick a good seat for me, and as I filled out some documents, he printed out my boarding pass.
That was when the fury exploded at the desk next to us. "But I only ever sit in 12B in business, and won't sit anywhere else," shrieked the incensed man, jabbing his finger at the check-in agent. "I don't care what you have to do, get me my seat now!"
His agent responded calmly, "But sir, you didn't pre-book that seat and it has already gone, but I promise to find you another great seat." She might well have told him he was going to have to sit on a bucket for how he reacted.
"Listen, you get me 12B or else," he roared. "I don't want any other seat on this plane, so fix this catastrophe!" Yes, he called it a 'catastrophe'.
I looked down at my boarding pass and saw I had his prized 12B. I whispered to my agent, "I'm happy to move if it's going to avoid this - give him my seat." Just then my no-nonsense agent's phone rang, and he started a brief conversation.
As my fellow passenger was turning crimson with rage, my agent hung up the phone and turned to the man. "Sir, that was my supervisor and it seems there is something we can do about this after all - please give me your boarding pass," my oh-so-polite agent announced. He then busily tapped away on his keyboard, before printing out two new boarding passes.
He handed the first one to Mr Cranky and said, "Sir, I apologise for this inconvenience. We have moved another passenger so you can have your requested seat of 12B."
Quick as a flash, the agent then turned to me and said loudly, "Sir, that was my supervisor on the phone before saying we had to upgrade one person into first class, and so we have moved you so this man could have his preferred seat. You're now in 1A."
With a smile so sickly sweet it could have cut glass, the agent then said, "I hope you both enjoy your flight."
I glanced over at the other passenger and his mouth was literally hanging open. In fact, the news he had actually got what he demanded had stunned him into silence. He shuffled away.
When I stepped on-board, turned left and headed towards first class, I passed Mr Cranky on the way. The sound of the curtain swishing closed behind me as I stepped into the hallowed space was all part of this sweet victory. Then came the flow of Moet, the chef-designed menu, the pyjamas and best of all, the chair which looked more like a couch and would soon become a bed.
Just as I was settling in, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and turned to see the check-in agent. He was trying to stifle a gleeful smile but was not trying very hard at all. "I wanted to say I have never had such job satisfaction upgrading someone as I did today with putting you up here, while also managing to get that other man into his preferred seat."
As he walked away, it was a potent reminder of the power of the check-in agent and to always be careful what you ask for. You might end up in the seat you demanded after all.
For more travel news and inspiration sign up to Escape's newsletter.