We have a plan for surviving our 22-hour flight in the cheap seats.
It involves chocolate. More about that in a minute.
I know what you’re thinking. Is there a downside to buying deeply discounted airline tickets for a marathon flight?
Why yes, there is.
For one thing, we weren’t allowed to select our seats until Sunday - the day before we took off - which means my daughter and I will be sitting several rows apart. In middle seats, of course. No doubt sandwiched between super-sized passengers who are also trying to save a few shekels.
But a few months ago, when my daughter looked up Korean Airlines and saw the airline’s luxurious accoutrements, she was delighted.
“They have beds!” she exclaimed, pointing at pictures of passengers in various states of blissful relaxation.
“Um, that’s first class,” I noted, peering over her shoulder.
“Well, even economy looks better than most seats on domestic flights,” she said cheerfully.
“We’re not flying economy,” I pointed out. “We’re flying Economy X.”
She finally found photos of the seats that await us. We both stared quietly.
They look like lawn chairs. They recline just 2 inches.
It’s going to be a long flight, we agreed.
Take Ambien, suggested my brother who travels regularly to Asia on business.
Take melatonin, suggested my editor who zips back and forth to Germany.
Take chocolates, suggested someone on a travel website.
I decided to go with the third option. Passengers can be grumpy. This seasoned budget traveler wrote that she always brings along treats for airline workers. They have stressful jobs. She likes to brighten their day with a token of her appreciation.
She suggested bringing a box of chocolates for the person at the ticket counter. Another for the workers in the boarding area. A third for the flight attendants.
Tell them you know they’re in for a long day and you want to do something nice for them, she said.
Shoot, I should have been doing this all along. After all, I know better than most travelers that flight attendants are not just waiters in the sky. They’re first responders.
And they’re damned good at their jobs.
I owe my life to a highly skilled crew of attendants who quickly put out a fire on board a Delta flight out of Norfolk in September of 2016.
I acknowledged them in a column, but they might have enjoyed something a little sweeter through the years.
“Maybe the candy will get us an upgrade,” my daughter, the mercenary, said hopefully, thinking about the lawn chairs that await us in Economy X.
Unlikely. But we might score an extra bag of peanuts. Better yet, a free drink.
I wrote this before boarding my flight on Monday. I’ll tell you tomorrow if the candy gambit worked. Admit it, the suspense is killing you.