I checked into my flight online about 23 hours and 57 minutes before my flight was scheduled to depart. Printed my boarding pass and considered myself good to go.
Next morning, Eric drove me to the airport and I checked my bag. The woman at the ticket counter gave me a new boarding pass, but it was so darn early, I didn’t think anything of it except to check the gate number. Passed through security, found coffee, found a bagel, and parked it on a bench at the gate. I was waiting patiently to board the plane – after the super-elite-platinum-jewel-encrusted-frequent-fliers – and to double check my assigned coach-class row (which I thought was either 12 or 17), only to look – really look – at my newly issued boarding pass and to find that it read “Seat 1C”. Wait. Isn’t that first class?
Perplexed, I walked over to the podium, pointed at my seat assignment and mumbled something about having a new boarding pass, and the gate attendant said "oh! you're in first class -- right this way!". Once seated, I hesitated to buckle my seatbelt, convinced that there had been a mistake and that a man in a grey suit with greying temples was going to approach me and inform me that I was sitting in his seat. When they closed the door, I knew I was stuck. I had a choice of breakfast entrées (I had the Quiche Lorraine), and a flight attendant asking me she could get me a beverage upon takeoff. I blinked at her and quietly said “orange juice?” Seated in the very first row, I had a good view of the galley, and all of the alcohol that was served to the other first class folks – good lord, those people drank a lot, given that it was 9am!
The plane taxied out to the tarmac, and sat for a bit before the captain came over the PA system and informed us that a light had come on in the cockpit that shouldn’t be on, and that they had to get it checked out before we could take off. The passengers groaned collectively while I wondered why they couldn’t just put a piece of electrical tape over the light like the rest of us do in our cars. In the end, we left Seattle over an hour late, but arrived in Boston only 20 minutes behind schedule.