I worked for ARINC for a couple of months, about six months to be exact. ARINC is a company that specializes in radio communications for commercial aircraft. Like most aerospace companies, they also have a site close to the local air force base and had contracts for the US Air Force.
During the time I worked, a conglomeration of commercial aircraft companies owned the company. The big benefit this brought was the ‘free’ air ticket for the employees and their family members, just as if we worked for American Airlines. Also, on a space available basis, flashing our company badge at the airport ticket counter could result in an upgrade to first class.
It happened to me once on a business trip. I had never sat in first class and while I was tempted to mimic the Planter’s peanut ad (the nasally woman, crammed between two big males, notices the airline provided Planter’s peanuts and states, “Wow, I must be in first class.”), I summoned up my composure as best I could to be cool about it. Yea, no big deal, I fly first class all the time. Unfortunately, my traveling companion wasn’t so fortunate and so I had to wave him through first class as he passed by on his way to coach. I did get some enjoyment at that.
I sat next to an older guy who didn’t talk much, if at all. My excitement wavered amid people who had become so used to first class travel that they were bored and snobbish. I didn’t get many perks during that flight, maybe a glass of wine and some chips; certainly no meal or cloth tray cover or napkin.
I doubt I’d fly first class again, unless someone else pays for it. I must say the oversized chair in the finest of Corinthian leather was a nice change, though.