So I packed a nicotine smelling, mismatched bag of clothes and boarded an Etihad business class flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi for my husband’s interview. Having never visited a Middle Eastern country, I was a little apprehensive about what to wear and how to behave. Although I considered myself somewhat well-travelled, I have to admit that there was a little voice inside my head that was thinking crazy stuff. For example, I was unnecessarily preoccupied with the thought of bombs. When deciding on an airline for the trip my logic was that we should book a flight with a Middle Eastern airline because they wouldn’t bomb their own planes or how I felt threatened by the drunken Indian grandmother in the business class lounge because she could be a suicide bomber. Obviously, this was a silly American stereotype against people with dark skin because Indians don’t usually blow themselves up.
So we left the coziness of our business class lounge (complete with buffet and back massages) and made our way to the gate to board our flight for Abu Dhabi. Immediately the smell of body odor punched me in the stomach. The odor was so strong it felt like someone jabbed fondue forks up my nose. It was almost as though the lining of my nostrils was disintegrating as I stood there. For the most part, Americans do not have body odor because we generally bath on a regular basis (yes, I know…remember this is a humor blog; not a sociology study), wear deodorant and don’t eat foods that permeate from within and expel in a blue fog of funkiness. Some people, on the other hand, are another story and since Abu Dhabi is in route to so many places — the gate was was packed with smelly people. So right before the big buffet came back up to greet everyone, I was ushered by an attractive lady aboard the plane into the smell free zone referred to as Business Class.
Wow! I thought. So these planes do exist! All these years we have been saving up American Airline frequent flyer miles to simply move up to a bigger chair closer to the pee closet. Wow! (mouth dropped open) This plane puts the American air industry to shame and this isn’t even first class! Immediately a very coiffed flight attendant approached me to help with my bags and guide me to my seat. As soon as I reached my seat I was being forced fed cold beverages and gourmet food by one of the most attractive and best mannered flight attendants I have ever experienced. (Sadly, picture below does not include the mandatory Marilyn Monroe red lipstick).
Immediately memories of the tenured and weary American flight attendants in worn uniforms pushing a large, heavy beverage cart were gone. The fear of suicide bombers was gone. I settled in for my 18 hour flight and the only thing I was thinking about was my champagne and my gourmet meal, my seat that reclined to a bed, my big fluffy blanket, the French movie I was getting ready to watch and this once in a lifetime experience.