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Working life
By ReallyEvilCanine (Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 04:32:25 AM EST) A Day in the Life, WTF, upgrades, flying, Air France, pie (all tags)

Last week it was my hope and dream that Air France would upgrade my ticket at the airport, lifting me out of the depths of steerage and placing me in the comfort of business class. I got to the airport early and found out that they might indeed need my seat for the early flight.

They called for boarding and a Saudi woman jumped up and cut in front of me, handing the attendant 11 passports for her rather large family and their Philippine slave girl. This wasted some time as various family members wandered back and forth between the jetway and waiting area, the kids both playing and fighting. The staff finally matched tickets and passports to passengers and the rest of us were able to board.

As I walked down the jetway the attendant came running, yelling "Mister Canine! Mister Canine!". She grabbed my boarding pass and scribbled a new seat number. "You've been upgraded," she said, beaming.

That'll teach me.

x-posted from da blog.

Between Paris and Munich, AF usually fly their old 737s with the 3x3 configuration of you-must-be-under-3'7"-tall-to-fit-comfortably-in-these-seats. It's only a couple hours total; no big deal. I needed to be able to work and managed to book myself in the front row aisle of cattle class, 7D.

The thing about these 737s is that the business seats are the same as the cattle class. They magic as many business rows as they need with movable partitions, although in the first three rows the middle seats can fold down into table-like things for the convenience of the elite who are nevertheless still crammed like sardines just like the peasants a few rows further back.

The only real difference in these planes is that first class get treated better, get a free drink while the plane waits to push back and taxi to the runway, and they get better food.

Air France isn't satisfied having just two classes; they have four: L'Espace Premier which is first class, L'Espace Affaires, or what we all call "business", and then (like BA), two versions of steerage which (unlike BA) are the same damned thing. The only difference is that Tempo Challenge offers some bonus miles and free reservation changes which are rather useless when you're already boarding the plane. The only other difference is that Tempo Challenge is in front of Tempo.

My seat had been changed to 4B. A middle seat. I saw that 7D was occupied by one of the Saudi sprog.

Worse, seats 4A and 4C were already filled with big guys whose shoulders extended into 4B's airspace.

I talked to the steward and explained the problem. I'd have to wait until all the passengers were on board. I sat in 3D ("business") and waited, even refusing the the champagne and orange juice offered to the rest of the "business class" people in an attempt to show that I only wanted the seat, not the amenities. It's the same goddamned seat as the other 800 in the plane: narrow and uncomfortable.

The plane was full, save for 4B and 3D. The steward talked to the purser who scowled and came over to me.

"You cannot sit 'ere. Eet ees beezness class. You must go to your seat zair."
"But I need to work. I didn't ask for an upgrade. I didn't want an "upgrade". It's not an "upgrade" when the seat is worse than the one I paid for."
"But you 'ave an upgrade! You are een Tempo Shall-ange! You should be 'appy!"
"I'm not happy. I need to work. I can't move between those guys. I don't want any special food or drinks. I just want to sit on the aisle so that I can type."
"You cannot do zees! Eet ees a beezness seat!"
"It's the same seat as the others," I continued to plead. "I'm not even getting miles and I don't want extras. All I'm asking is to be able to work."
"You 'ave ze upgrade and you must take your seat or you must leave ze plane."
"But then I'd miss my connection."
"We do not 'ave to continue your journey eef you refuse to seet."

The fucker on the left had his iPod set to 13 and dickless on the right kept drooling in his sleep. I sat bent 20° at the waist in order to breathe. The "upgrade" food was also fancier, meaning "worse". There was even less than the standard cheese sandwich but it was presented very prettily. I knew I should've had the overpriced Weißwurst Frühstück at the airport.

A day later as I logged into the network, my corporate software was automatically upgraded. My firewall couldn't block it because it was done via logon.bat as the machine booted, overriding even the firewall's service.

PaintShop Pro was a nice, down-and-dirty graphics program before JASC decided to be PhotoShop Junior. You can't get version 3 anymore. When I want Photoshop, I'll use Adobe's software. I don't want to use Photoshop for a quick little graphic hack, but because of upgrades, you can't get PSP3 anymore.

Nor can I do a bunch of internal work the easy way anymore. We now have a "richer" app suite, which means that instead of, say, firing off a quick note with a diagram to someone, I have to connect to a central server, log in with full credentials, jump through half a dozen screens, and then I have to recreate the note and whiteboard share so that it can be sent to someone whose address I already know but which I now have to search through screens of departments and positions to get to in order to click on it and then confirm that I want the message sent. And then confirm it again.

The only thing worse than an automatic upgrade is a fuckwit who gives me one without asking me.

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A Day in the Life | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
Been upgraded once by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 05:03:27 AM EST
From Economy to Economy plus on United flying back from Miami to London. A few inches extra of leg room was very much appreciated.

Air France sucks ass. You might as well go budget.

last time I was 'upgraded' by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 05:11:27 AM EST

I got a bit lucky -- 2x2 vs. 3x3, so even though I lost my aisle seat, I at least got a larger, comfier window seat. Other than that, anything but an aisle seat is pure torture, and I'm not even close to being the biggest or fattest slob on the plane.

And, ah, PSP 3.x ... I remember it fondly. I made sure to keep it around even after newer versions became available. Quick and dirty, indeed. Easy to use, quick to launch ... a few too many Windows-3.1-isms still in the code at that point, but it never caused a problem. Even ran it under Wine a few times.

PSP3 by ReallyEvilCanine (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 05:27:28 AM EST
Glad I never got rid of the install file. But there's a problem running it under Win2K and up: It requires " wow.exe" (space intentional), a very shaky and temperamental process which isn't directly accessible. If you're in a terminal services session and lose the connection, when you reconnect everything under the process is effectively dead. You can't cleanly shut down the processes (which have had spaces appended to their process thread names) which means you've lost your work.

Still, PSP3 is probably the best quick-and-dirty graphics app around for Windows. You just have to remember to save often.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

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A Day in the Life | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)