While it is true that I treated my economy class trip on Lufthansa as something of a joke, I want to make one thing clear: flying in any cabin is an incredible joy that should not be taken for granted.
It was not too long ago that flying used to be just for the wealthy or well-connected. While we moan about cutbacks in service and seat pitch, flying has never been cheaper and that has opened up the world to the masses. I think that should be celebrated. I celebrate that we can step into a metal tube and hurl through the air at 600mph, waking up in a new, far away land.
It still amazes me that I can eat lunch in Tokyo, step onto a plane, and be back at my home in Los Angeles in time for breakfast again on the same day (thanks to “time travel” via the international date line). I’m amazed that I can kiss my wife and son goodbye on a dry, hot summer night in LA and wake up 14 hours later to a cold and rainy winter morning in Melbourne.
I grew up flying economy class and never really dreamed about flying business or first class until I tried to poach a seat on a United flight 15 years ago. You can read that story here.
As much as I love the game of miles and points and the challenge of securing a front-cabin seat for cheaper than many people paid for economy class, sometimes it is about the destination. Sometimes the class of travel doesn’t matter.
Our worth or our dignity is not linked to the cabin we fly in on an airplane. It’s just a seat. If anything, The Millionaire Next Door teaches us that looks can be deceiving and those in the stablest financial position are often not the ones we would expect based upon the cultural zeitgeist. But dignity and wealth are not correlated. Dignity is the birthright of every human being, not something that is earned or bestowed, especially based upon material wealth.
Flying unites friends and family. It unites the world, opening our minds to other vibrant peoples and cultures that enrich us. Travel brings empathy and shatters prejudice.
I’m still in awe every time I step onto a plane. Three decades into my life, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have had to explore this world and for the relationships I have made in the process.
My point is simple: on a luxury travel blog, I’m going to take a light-hearted approach to flying economy class. My job is to help you score premium cabin seats for a great price or using miles/points. It’s my aphrodisiac. But do not ever confuse good-natured fun with any sort of value judgment about flying economy class.
For most, it’s not about the flight, but about the people and the destination. I get it. And I am thankful for it.