Well since I’m still awake, you can hear all about how much I love Air New Zealand (again) and how the universe pointed a finger at me, declaring , “It’s you. Today you are lucky bastard numero uno.”
These days at Heathrow (by the way , thank you also London tube system – all trains in the right place at the right time, well done you), one has to use automated self check. I may have directed a large amount of ire towards the inanimate check-in touch screen: “Why have you frozen again? What the bloody hell is going on? No, no, no, no, no, no – don’t throw me out, I want to choose my seat! Stop that, yes, YES, I want to continue. What do you mean? I am touching the f’kin’ screen. I want to continue! I – oh you frikking dirty cock-sucking whore. You threw me out again..” After three rounds of this, I asked for help.
I was a little less than gracious as the very helpful Heathrow representative swiftly went through all the screens that had flummoxed me and within, ooh.. three seconds, had printed me a boarding pass.
“Wait, no! I didn’t want that seat.” Ah, here’s me as a toddler throwing her dummy out the pram.
“That’s all right you can change it when you check in your bags.”
“But I don’t have any bags to check in.” Now I’ve morphed into a whiny tired ten year old, complete with droopy bottom lip.
“What seat did you want?”
” Dunno… aisle?” Hello moderately sulky teenager.
“Okay, I’ll get it changed for you now.”
“Thank you, I … look I’m really sorry. I got a bit stressed.. and you’re absolutely lovely, thank you for helping me.” Oh, look! Here I am, mortified adult. Welcome back.
Swift nod of the head, “That’s okay.”
I watch her efficiently walk over (no really, she walked efficiently, she had a very ‘can do’ aura, you could see her in any number of roles where a cool head is needed: Heathrow customer services rep.. hostage negotiator ) to the bag drop rep, with whom she had a special rapport I think. There was a lot of smiling and laughing (possibly at me), and what looked like some well established flirting! (Automatically I start thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they ended up together, they seem like they’d make a very nice young couple.” I have become a tea drinking lady of a certain age who will stop the world for a friendly natter and a gentle gossip. All I need now is slippers that I wear outdoors and a light weight, folding shopping cart, on wheels.)
She returns, efficiently.
“Here you go.”
“Thank you so much, I really appreciate your help. I’m so sorry if I came across as a bit snippy. Ugh you must have to deal with this all day.” My British shame of not being able to maintain 100% control at all times, is rolling off me in waves.
“Okay, have a good flight.” She’s so efficient she hasn’t even allowed herself time to even notice my inner turmoil. I am in awe of her. I want to be her.
Anyway, fast forward to getting on the plane, and I have a delightful aisle seat, in a great location. I notice I have some weird kind of foot rest but that’s okay, it’ll stop the person’s feet behind me from my touching mine (freaks me out, every time, I mean uggggh, people take their shoes off on aeroplanes, there’s toe contact). I hear a person in a row opposite me ask if they can move into my row because there’s no-one else in it. “Sorry, no, we’re still boarding and we’re fully booked,” is the response.
It’s at this point that I realise I have a sky couch seat which is this ingenious idea where by all the seats in a row have foot rests that you can raise into a horizontal position and transform three seats into one twin size bed. You have to pay extra for it, but it’s a fantastic idea for families with small children because you can sprawl out, or if you’re feeling flush, for a couple who don’t mind buying a third seat and the extra fee.
So I’m looking at these seats, thinking well… they can’t have sold the other two in my row as a sky couch because that wouldn’t work if I’m with a cuddly couple, so it must be two other people who checked in late like I did.
Or… orrrrrr – do I dare think this??? – I have struck the lucky tree, hit every branch on the way down, landed in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the lovely, super efficient rep and her delightful fiance at the bag drop (imagination is a wonderful thing, I’ve already got them booked on a wonderful honeymoon flying first class around the world) have given me an entire sky couch to myself.
YES! YES! YEEEEEEEEEEEEES!
Sky couch to myself.. 11 hours, stretched out, watching movies, listening to tunes, having my meals and very full glasses of wine served to me as if I were a Greek god.
I made a valiant effort not to look too excited but the euphoria of having the sky couch and the three pillows and blankets all to myself tipped me over the edge and I grinned inanely at everyone who caught my eye.
Oh and just to really tip things over the edge, I was through customs and security in 10 minutes, at LAX, with a bathroom stop included. Hands down, best flight ever.
I have millions of miles in my lifetime, and I have never been upgraded. This though, was the Macdaddy of freebies. I walked through business class on the way out, and let me tell you they were looking a little squashy compared to my full size bed.
Thank you universe.xxx