Air India

150 150 Rob McGibbon

November 07, 2006

Not a good start: my up-grade blag crashed and burned at the check in desk at Heathrow’s Terminal 3, so get yer hankies out for a tale of woe from Row 53. My blagging spiel is all adrift these days, so it was not much of a surprise. I have no one else to blame except me.

I’ve been pretty good at blagging up-grades over the years, but the gusto in my efforts has all but disappeared. Something in me has died. Before, it was a bit of fun, a challenge, and it was always worth smothering your pride for some embarrassing pleading because, when it works, there are few things sweeter than sinking into that big seat and sipping an instantly delivered glass of champagne when you know that the Unfortunates who are folding their legs in Economy are a good hour away from a cup of tap water in a foil sealed plastic cup. But these days, the whole process of asking to be up-graded is a bit too demeaning, pathetic even. My pride simply won’t be so easily swallowed. Why is this?

Let’s be honest here: I had really hoped by now that I’d be flying First Class, or at least Business, without breaking sweat. Even if I am not paying, then at least the people hiring me would reflect my worth by bumping me up front. This is not the case. So, when I begin my patter to the check in supervisor about my qualifications for a better seat, for free, I can’t help but feel a sense of failure. This is not a position of strength from which to blag and, hence, my argument withers easily. I now genuinely believe that people beyond a certain age should not go asking for up-grades. Just accept your financial short-comings and, thereby, your position in life and humbly take your uncomfortable place at the back. But please, at all times, do keep your pride and self-worth in the up-right position.

This is all rather deeply psychoanalytical, a bit deep. I’m still too new to blogging to know how far to go, so I will leave it at that and get on with the Air India review…

You know I said I had an open mind about Air India? Well, I lied. My mind was full of preconceptions and they were all proved to be correct. But, to be honest, it is too much of a wide open goal to slag off this airline. Yes, its aircraft have threadbare carpets – speckled with yesterday’s rice – torn and wonky seats and plastic trimmings that are jaundiced with age. Yes, the food is iffy and the cabin was whiffy. But you cannot hide the fact that for a last minute flight to New York, Air India offers good value. And, well, the Cobra beer was as cold as any beer I have been handed on any other airline, so that helped ease the pain and shame. It certainly soothed the tooth ache…