The following is an excerpt from my Kilimanjaro travel journal, written June 3, 2010
I’ve always been a coach passenger, and I’ve never had a problem with that.
Coach prices fit my budget and make expensive trips more feasible. I’ve done three trips to Switzerland and a long-haul flight to Alaska in coach during the four previous summers, and all were fine.
In fact, I’ve never flown first class in my life. That’s why the words caught my attention when I checked in for the first leg of my Kilimanjaro trip yesterday in Kansas City. The self check-in computer informed me that for just $45 I could upgrade my hour-long flight to Chicago and sit in first class.
Just three days earlier, my brother-in-law had joked to me “Enjoy flying coach all the way to Kilimanjaro and back.”
I thought about it for a moment and decided, “what the hell, why not?” I swiped my credit card and was off to my first class seat.
It turned out to be money well spent. I opted not to indulge on the complimentary alcohol because of the excessive amount of medication I’m taking at the moment — Malarone for malaria prevention, an another antibiotic after suffering a last-minute medical emergency in the days prior to departure.
The extra space was worth the cost, as was the cushion between me and numerous screaming babies — something that would come back to haunt me on the overnight flight to London when I was back in coach again.
A symphony of screamers wailed for all but 30 minutes of the eight-hour flight to Heathrow Airport. There were solo screams, call-and-answer cries, even duets. It was, without question, the worst overseas flight I’ve ever been on … a fact made more vivid now that I’d had a taste of life in first class.