Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Roughing It

On top of last week's traumas, I must add one more. This one changes life as I know it and I"m not at all happy.

For years, the Ball & Chain has travelled during the week, amassing hundreds of thousands of air miles, and with it, Global Services status with United Airlines. As many of you know, it's tiring being on your own with two small children 24/7 and I often complained. The service we received when flying was nice, but since I didn't fly that much, I wasn't usually the recipient. It has meant however, that we often fly business class when going to England every summer.

For those not familiar with the air mile accummulation system, many airlines go the extra mile for customers who fly a lot with them. A few years ago the B&C and I were flying somewhere on our own (cannot for the life of me think what it was, and it's probably the only time we;ve done that). We arrived early at the gate and requested an earlier flight if possible. I saw the check in clerk sirruptitiously point to the Global Services status on our printed tickets, and we bumped a pilot who was dead-heading on the same flight. I felt a bit guilty, especially as he was standing right next to us and made it known that he wasn't happy, but the B&C's attitude was that he was the one spending all the money with the airline.

Global Services has its own check in desk - none of that standing in a long line. We don't even have to stand in the First Class line. We go to another place altogether and if there are any problems, they straighten them out too. We board planes first whether or not we're flying in the posh end. You have no idea how handy this is when flying with multiple kids, some of them small. The perks go on and on.

And now he tells me that he's no longer a member of that illustrious group. Of course I've contacted my lawyer to see whether this renders our marriage null and void. I mean what's the point of putting up with a loud Grape Nut cruncher, who can't carry a tune if there's no upside? I know I should be happy. After all, being booted out of Global Services is the result of him not flying nearly as much as he did; meaning that he spends a lot more time at home.

But still.

I broke it to the kids last night. They didn't register at first, until they realised that mom and dad probably weren't going to shell out for a trans-Atlantic business ticket and they might have to squash in with the hoi-polloi in seats that don't lie completely flat.

Poor darlings.

.

18 comments:

  1. O. M. G. I'm nearly speechless and having to fight my gag reflex. Hoi polloi? Seats that don't lie flat? *retches* You'll never be able to leave the States again.

    My sympathies.

    Pig x

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  2. Mhm. How do I say this right without feeling like a complete and utter spoilt brat? ... *thinks* ... *thinks hard*... *thinks very hard*... ok, there's just no way of putting it nicely: I just refuse to fly long haul in a sardine tin. Even if that means we only do half of the vacations we could have done if we had gotten cheaper flights. I'd rather go to Cornwall.
    PS: Guess who goes to Cornwall this spring.

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  3. Yeah my kids are spoilt too - no they have never been in business class but they have been on about 25 transatlantic flights to far. And unlike most kids who are thrilled to be anywhere near an airport they're all like "I just hate the food, it just stinks. And I hate it when they don't have a really good selection of kids movies, that's just selfish. And I hate the way the air smells like farts." I'd like to see them go on a family holiday on a coach London to France like we did in the old days. They'd probably die of shock!

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  4. We've lost out Gold status on Virgin Atlantic. It hurts, I understand your pain. Doesn't everyone have their shoes polished, while they eat a bacon sandwich in the jacuzzi at Heathrow before their flight departs? The Virgin Altantic lounge at Heathrow is like heaven on earth!

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  5. Commiserations. I was thoroughly spoilt as a child by always going business class thanks to my Dad's job, then flying a lot through work in my first job with lots of perks. Now, I always have to fly cattle class and it's just gutting....

    A friend's husband just did a thoroughly unnecessary flight from NY to Montreal - just so he could attain frequent flyer status and get upgrades....perhaps you could persuade the B&C to do a few journeys to top up his status?

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  6. Ah, that first time you turn right instead of left when you board a plane - I'm sure our kids still haven't got over it (spoiled brats that they are). Well used to it now though - well, we all are!!

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  7. We're flying to Coloado on Friday night, but because he's still a 1k customer, we can board the plane first. That makes a huge difference when everyone is racing for the overhead bin space.
    Sigh!

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  8. HUGE sympathies. But please try to bear it so you can come back to teh Uk and grace us with your presence!!!!!

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  9. I got stuck in this post thinking about the dead-head pilot. Is that really the term? It's just such an unfortunate turn of phrase.

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  10. Iota- Ha ha ha. Dead-heading is the industry-jargon for crew jumping on a flight (for free) to get from one place to another.

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  11. We still reminisce about the times we flew business class on BA when single and once when daughter was quite small. (All the other folks in our cabin rolled their eyes when we took our seats but daughter was brilliant...one other traveller even complimented her to us as we deplaned.)

    I feel your pain and I urge anyone married to someone who flies for a living to get that stuff about air miles and priority clubs into the pre-nup. You'll thank yourself later.

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  12. I wouldn't care but I have never managed to sleep on a TransAtlantic flight, even when flying Business on my own (once). It's just that......
    Sob!

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  13. my husband worked for BA for 11 yrs so we got upgrades (but even staff weren't supposed to ask for them. The stewards of course all looked afte reach other when flying on vacation but us hoi-polloi OTHER BA staff just had to hope & smile swetly!)I was always urging my hubby to flirt with the male stewards to try & secure an upgrade! We went from sublime to ridiuclous, business class out to back of plane in teh SMOKINGsection on our return. OR sittign in teh jump seat or rest seats & having to move round the planne to different seats every few hrs when we got in the way of the dinner service! A strange existence! Only ever flew 1st once cos hubby became a manager & became entitled to it BUT by then we had had kids & they won't let staff in 1st with kids (business yes, 1st no) He STILL get sthe concessions tho as 'retired' staff so I'm not complaining!

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  14. That picture at the end was PERFECT! Made me laugh a lot.

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  15. I'm just not well travelled enough to comment, but slightly gutted that just as OH was collecting enough miles for us maybe to join him on a trip, he no longer needed to travel for work.
    Great picture :)

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  16. The only way I got my merry threesome on a plane out of NY to Sydney was the fact they were flying business class and had seats that turned into beds - little did they know this was going to be a never to be repeated treat - as the company was no longer paying and as a result they have had to fly not just cattle class but the lowest of the low class where you are basically helping the hostesses hand out the meals back to the UK every year!

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  17. Travelling cattle class is soul destroying and kills my back, but we do it every year and every year we say we aren't doing it again...when I worked I always travelled 1st class on the train and it was a shock to the system when I had to join the hoi poloi again! (sigh) As far as hotels are concerned though, mine always ask what star it is and anything less that 5 isn't acceptable!!

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  18. My husband worked for BA too, and we got a few trips to Australia/NZ in business class (and once in first when we went on holiday without the sprog), though the downside was that if the flight was overbooked, staff were the ones bumped, so there was the odd night having to return home to try again the next day, or overnight in Changi airport, but that's a small price to pay imo.

    Needless to say, we haven't been back to Australia since he left BA, but have done transatlantic and you do get used to it again. We still flew Ryanair in between anyway (in the days before they started charging for every little thing) - they were still cheaper than paying the 10% of BA's fare that staff had to pay!

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