It’s really easy for me to pick the worst flying experience I ever had. This is because I usually have a very good time on board an aircraft and leave looking forward to the next one.
Some people seem to always have a complaint, but I am pretty easy going when it comes down to it. One time I stood my ground and ended up paying for it for an entire flight.
First Class For The First Time
Back in 2007, I cashed in 90,000 of my hard earned Qantas Frequent Flyer points for my very first flight in international first class. The flight was on British Airways BA9 from Bangkok to Sydney.
Research online led to me selecting seat 2A as it was generally considered by frequent flyers to be the choice seat in the cabin. Naturally I was very excited about this flight as I had always wanted to fly first class.
A Lounge Call
When I arrived at the lounge in Bangkok, the friendly staff told me very politely that they had some people wanting to sit together and would I move from seat 2A to seat 3A. I responded that I didn’t really want to do that.
In the back of my mind, I was trying to work out how that would work. The seats at the time were arranged so it was one seat on either side of the cabin, so there was no seat next to any window seat that would facilitate people sitting together.
Once again, the lounge person communicated that it would be nice if I moved. The story changed slightly at this point and once again I politely said something like, “Oh I’d really rather not.” Essentially I was saying no without using the word.
This time the lounge agent came out from behind the desk and explained it all again (and I still couldn’t work out the why of it) and this time I replied with a firm, “No”. They were all smiles and let me go into the lounge. I thought that was the end of it, but the worst was yet to come.
A Surprise On Board
Eager to get on board and to turn left on the Boeing 747-400 and sit in first class, I was first to board. On arrival at the door, I handed the cabin crew my boarding pass, to which she responded sarcastically, “Oh! Mr. 2A is here!”. She then repeated this loudly to an unseen colleague further inside and ushered me on board. For the rest of the flight I was essentially given the bare minimum of service.
At first I thought I was imagining things, but throughout the 9 hour flight, I noticed all the other passengers were being treated differently to me. I received no proactive offers of additional items, no smiles at all when I thanked the crew when meals were delivered and was generally the cabin pariah. Being ignored when those around you are being basically fawned over is certainly an experience.
To this day I still don’t understand why they wanted me to move. There was a couple with a baby in the paired seats in the middle of the cabin. Another couple were in 1A and 1K. I couldn’t work out why I was asked to move but clearly I was a pariah for keeping the seat I had selected months in advance.
You would think I’d never fly an airline again after being referred to as Mr. 2A and ignored, but British Airways is the airline I continue to fly with. Luckily when I next flew international first class with them in 2016, my experience was much better!
In the grand scheme of things, it is not much of a complaint. It did spoil my very first time in first class though and I’ve never forgotten about it. What is the worst experience you’ve had on board? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Grahame Hutchison via Wikimedia Commons.
First Class seats image by Gary Bembridge via Wikimedia Commons.