First or Business? The Rules of Flying
I am, as any of my friends (most of whom prefer to be called acquaintances) will readily admit, a doddering old fool which explains why my life is littered with so many arbitrary rules. Among these is the rule which states that if any flight is going to last more than four hours, I have to travel in the front of the plane.
This can get seriously expensive if, as I found the other day, one is flying from Heathrow to Easter Island. A sensible human being would simply accept the fact that for a day or so one is going to be extremely uncomfortable squeezed into a narrow seat between a breastfeeding mother and an adolescent whose iPod earphones are loud enough to vibrate the armrest between us.
But not me. Oh no. I decided that for a trip this long, I needed to be able to lie flat at night. I could do without Champagne. Caviar seemed unnecessary. But a good nights sleep was utterly essential and to hell with the cost.
A prudent member of the human race would simply have bought a Business Class ticket on one of the several airlines which provide flat beds. This is not as simple as it might appear because several airlines claim to have flat beds but fail to point out that they are not at 180 degrees. Instead they are flat but sloping downwards, which means that you spend a sleepless night fighting gravity as you slide inexorably off the end of your bed onto the floor.
British Airways, however, does not commit this particular crime. Their flat beds are actually flat. And their food is edible. And their drinks are drinkable. But, gentle reader, be aware that there lurks a problem with a capital P. If, like me, you have a rule which says you must sit by a window so you can watch the solar system slip by, you will find yourself trapped. Once you have converted your seat into a flat-bed your neighbour on the aisle will imprison you since there is no space through which you can pass if you ever wish to have a pee. To do so you must first climb over his (or her) sleeping form which is, effectively, impossible. The solutions are either to reserve a seat next to the aisle – in which case you will be woken by your neighbour when he too wants some exercise – or to occupy one of the seats in the centre of the aircraft.
Neither of these two options appealed to me. Which explains why I now have yet another rule which is unambiguous and inflexible. If I have to fly overnight I must fly first class. I have, in other words, joined the ranks of all the LUSSO readers who knew this anyway.