On a recent Delta flight from Lafayette, LA to Atlanta, GA I happily partook in two of my most beloved air travel customs during the in-flight drink service. One, ginger ale and peanuts. I am utterly convinced that nothing tastes better while hurtling through the sky in a giant metal tube. And two, hard-core and unabashed people watching. After softly placing my requisite order with the flight attendant (Or was it loudly? Volumes are very hard for me to ascertain at such altitudes.) he handed over my rations while simultaneously inquiring “Something to drink?” Already on to the next row. “I’ll have a vodka tonic.” Glancing across the aisle, the lady ordering was the absolute picture of poise. Certainly in her late 70’s yet dressed and coiffed not a day over 65. Her pearl earrings were clip-ons but the glamorous kind. Her posture the product of what I can only imagine as equal parts privilege and determination. Out of her handbag she produced a drink ticket and offered it to the flight attendant as payment for her plastic cup cocktail. I wondered what else was tucked inside. If she, like me, had come prepared for a long day of travel by hoarding trail mixes and novels. The man pushing the drink cart and pulling in stale airplane air sputtered out in his Georgia Peach voice, “Delta hasn’t even had this logo in over a decade, hun! I think this ticket may be a bit too old.”
“I think you’ll find there is no expiration date on this ticket. You will, of course, have to honor it.”
I turned my head to let out a giggle so I failed to see the attendants reaction. I hope it was more admiration than anger. He, nevertheless, found an issued on date and read it aloud to all of us within ear shot, remarking in a somewhat belittling tone, “I hope this wasn’t the last time you went anywhere!”
“Absolutely not! This is simply the first Delta flight I’ve flown after 5 p.m. when it has been appropriate for me to have a drink.”
With that she took a sip and thanked him in the politest way possible–the sort of politeness one can only reach when wearing pearls and flying coach in the 7th decade of one’s life. The sort of manners born of equal parts privilege and determination.
(Photo via here.)