Thursday, April 16, 2009

On Flying, Lavatories, And Class

This reminded, tangentially, of my flight back from England recently. (Thankfully NOTHING to do with the particular form of illness addressed in the article. Ick.)

I'm pretty particular (read: neurotic) about flying, as some of you may know, and as part of that, I'm very specific on where I like to sit on flights. The chosen areas vary based on duration of flight, airline, type of equipment, etc. For example, I prefer a window seat flying a red-eye to Heathrow because I can sleep soundly and no one nudges me to enter or exit the row. On the way home, however, as I won't be sleeping (beat jet lag!), I prefer an aisle seat so I can move around, etc. This is only sort of related to the story - but at least you'll find this information handy, should you need to fly with me.

Anyway: it's however many hours into the flight and I decide to stretch my legs and visit the lavatory. The lighted sign indicates all are occupied, but I don't see a line and figure, eh, may as well stand up for a bit. In the time it takes me to get there, one other woman walks up and stands outside the block of lavs. No big deal. I look down the row of 4 or six closets and see the one on the end by us is vacant. Since the woman was there before me, I motion to her with the raised-eyebrow go-ahead signal. She points to a sign on the door that says "reserved [or something similar] for premium economy." She makes a comment to the effect that she wasn't but that if that applies to me (dot, dot, dot, disapproving look, she knows I'm crap class like her), I should go ahead.

Ohhh, helllllls no.

Look, those lavs were on OUR side of the curtain. And, more importantly, there was no one waiting from premium economy or otherwise besides the two of us low class types. So there's no way in hell I'm waiting for a restroom when one is open and there's no one else around. Note, there is NO DIFFERENCE between these two. The premium aren't. They're just airplane bathrooms.

As we're having this discussion, someone from premium does come through the curtain and I make [an overly snarkly and probably asshole-y grand motion] to the person to go ahead to THEIR restroom [but I plead airplane as an excuse].

For some reason, this concept of premium economy class restrooms located in lower class-ville struck me as the most classist, least American, least equal thing I had seen. in. my. life. and was an injustice that could not go unaddressed. So that poor woman had to have it addressed to her, as did my poor husband when I ranted about it upon return to my seat.

It's a LOO! And I wasn't marching up to the upper class bathrooms! Had I been the guy in the story, however, I'd have been similarly, righteously pissed as well.

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