You know the feeling.
You’re sitting on one of those crummy airport seats waiting for your flight. The attendants call for boarding and says : “we invite passengers on first class and xyz club members to board. You may also board at your leisure. All other passengers, please wait for the next boarding announcement“.
You look at the folks sauntering up to the gate, boarding pass in hand. You think they look haughty. You may even think they look at your disdainfully. What did you think was running in THEIR heads? We have described how this feels like here.
In a thought provoking essay for us, Nelson Schwartz details how the world’s major travel industry heavy weights; from airlines to cruise lines to theme parks etc – have jumped on adopting some form of what we call the “Titanic” model.
The Titanic actually HAD gates to segregate third class (called stearage) passengers, but that was to comply with American immigration laws to keep migrants separate and accounted for when they arrive. Today it will probably raise an outcry if there is such an overt display of segregation. Rather, the divide is now covert; to the point that the old saying “Knowledge is power” holds so true. What you do no know, you cannot use and you live in blissful ignorance. Some may say that this divide has always existed and that’s so true.
The thing is – as we try to turn travel into an egaltitarian pursuit and more of us hit the road, we are bound to encounter class divides depending on how much we intend to pay for the same experience. I once heard a passenger say: “no need to rush aboard on priority, we’ll get to the destination at the same time”. Well, some people will eat and drink better, be more comfotable during the flight, get off the plane faster and very likely clear security and customs easier than you – dude. All because they are not travelling coach.
The quotes from the end of Nelson’s essay sums it up,
“If I’m in the back of the plane, I want to hiss at the people in first class,”
“If I’m up front, I cringe as people walk by.”