Flying First Class

like the dew of Hermon, that comes down on the hills of Zion: for there Yahweh gives the blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalms 133:3 WEB)

For years we lived in the Pacific and travel always involved a lot of airline miles. After a couple years of bouncing back and forth between the US and Guam I had a large number of unused miles saved in my airline account. For years I felt the airline miles packages were a scam, until I had a massive number waiting to be used.

One spring I was again scheduled to travel from Guam to North Carolina and back. I must admit, I’m not a lover of airline travel. The seats are too small with the headrests constantly pressing against my shoulders and providing no rest. Sitting in the shape of a pretzel for twenty hours is not my idea of fun.

With the trip pending I pulled out my air miles report and made some calculations. If I pooled my miles with the other family miles I could fly first class! I’m not talking the mediocre business class but right up front, glass dishes and all, first class.

I went to the airline office, handed them the tickets and they upgraded my cattle car, shoe horn seats for the luxury of first class. I wasn’t sure what to expect but figured it had to be better than riding in the back mooing for dinner.

The travel date arrived and I boarded the plane, ahead of everyone else! The flight attendant’s manners were spectacular, pleasant and helpful. I didn’t have to wait for takeoff to enjoy a refreshing drink or a snack. They were just waiting for me to climb aboard and indulge.

To compare the seats in first class with economy would be difficult. Cattle car contains benches with arm rests to separate the stalls. First class has cushions, foot rests, headrests (which actually reach your head) and sufficient lateral space to wiggle until you are comfortable. Thirsty? Drinks are available any time during the flight. Hungry? You have a choice of several meals served with real dishes and glass glasses.

I landed in Japan and was personally greeted by the sunny smile of an airline worker. Apparently I was the only one in First Class and the others were subject to the lesser honor of business class. Nobody greeted the business class passengers. They were on their own.

I was escorted around the crowds, through special walkways to a waiting area just for first class. There was more room for the dozen or so first class passengers than the hundreds of cattle rustling against one another two flights up. Food and drink were available and part of the package. No announcements were necessary. When it was time to board, ahead of everyone else of course, the staff tapped lightly on my shoulder and escorted me to the plane.

This treatment continued for most of the four flights to North Carolina and back. When the domestic planes were too small for a real first class cabin the service was reduced to drinks, food and smaller seats. At least I could still board and exit ahead of the stampede.

I have never again flown first class. The strange thing about upgrading was you got extra mileage flying first class. Thus I recovered my mileage in the one trip plus some.

Later I used the mileage to move up to business class and gave up unused mileage when I left the Pacific and participating airlines. One year Beth and I took Ellice to visit Thailand using mileage. It was our high school graduation gift to her, a once in a lifetime treat.

Computers put me on more air flights than I imagined. There were chances to see my brothers and visit my mother while in the USA. In the midst of their frustration computers provided little gems of enjoyment and benefit. Attending training and global IT meetings in the US racked up plenty of mileage.

When the Lord puts us in a ministry we didn’t expect we sometimes wonder what He is doing. There are frustrations which threaten what sanity we have left. Then He reminds us it is His work and not ours. He is in control and knows what we can and cannot do. When we are faithful to press forward God reminds us again with little gems of enjoyment and benefit.

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