Monday, January 3, 2011

First Class: Part 2

Back in 2007, I went on a trip to Kenya, We flew with Virgin Atlantic. Our first flight from DC was canceled due to a hole in the plane (encouraging, right?) and they gave us a LOT of miles due to that plus the miles we got from our journey. Those miles were expiring this December and were enough to get me a flight to Nairobi. Sweet.

Ever since I had planned this trip to the States, I had no idea what I was going to do about my 16 hour layover in London. I knew that I didn’t want to spend 16 hours in the main insane area of Heathrow. Due to it being December, I also knew that I didn’t want to spend 16 hours out in the frigid cold. Virgin Atlantic has a lounge in Heathrow for their first class passengers. I had looked at the possibility of buying miles to upgrade to first class purely for the lounge. Clearly, that wasn’t going to happen. When I got to the airport in DC, I asked what the cost would be to upgrade to first class. When she quoted $1300, I knew that I was in for a long layover in the crazy main area of Heathrow. She told me to check with the lounge in London to see if I could get a day pass. A day pass!? I didn’t even know those existed. When I landed in London, I went to their counter to ask about a day pass. They directed me to the lounge who told me that I could come four hours before my flight. Um, and what about the next 12 hours? They then directed me to the American Airlines lounge directly below for the meantime. The American Airlines lounge was surprisingly pretty cheap, had great showers, free food, drinks and WiFi. Since I had a bazillion tests to finish for WorldVenture, I settled in and got everything done.

When it was four hours before my flight, I debated on whether to go up to the Virgin Atlantic lounge since I was already so comfortable in the American Airlines lounge. Knowing that I’d never get this chance again, I headed up to the VA lounge.

My first thought upon entering the VA lounge: Oh, so this is what first class people experience.
My second thought: I stick out like a sore thumb. It's like they know my shoes are from Payless and I got my Gap jeans on sale. I shrugged my shoulders and sat down to enjoy an amazing meal. In the lounge, they offered free services to their spa so I got a good manicure. It was incredible. Once my layover ended, I was feeling so blessed. Beginning that day, I had no idea if I’d have a quiet place to get things done and God provided above and beyond. I headed toward my gate feeling productive and relaxed.

When I arrived at my gate, the agent took my ticket and put it under the scanner. It beeped kinda weird and he looked at it again. He then looked up at me and said, “Congratulations, you’re now in upper class”. Um, say what? No. Way. Again? I thanked him and walked into the gate. It was extremely hot, crowded and stuffy but all I could do was marvel. For months, I had been wondering how everything would work out. I’m such a planner and I was worried what would happen in those 16 hours. I had looked at all sorts of options but none worked out. Instead, it all worked out far better than what I had imagined and BONUS, I got first class. Again. How the heck?

I knew from my time searching VA’s website before that their first class was unlike any other. I was right. The “seats” are more like your own little cubicle.

When you want to sleep, the flight attendant comes, flips the seat around and down and boom, you have an entire bed. I slept for most of the flight (thank you Ambien, for all you’ve done in my life) and was for some reason crazy nauseous throughout. I barely touched the meals they gave me and sipped gingerale throughout. Despite that, it was definitely amazing.

I still can’t believe it, really. I mean, this stuff never happens to me…and twice? However, really, God’s hands were all over this. I was checking BBC after I returned and saw that the same day that I was in London, there were crazy protests and riots. They were in all of the areas that I would have headed. I had some tests sent to me from WorldVenture right before I left the States and had been wondering when on earth I’d have the time to complete them. He gave me the perfect time and place to do so. It was also fascinating to people watch. Many people find their identity in that crazy lifestyle.

God is a God of details, as I’ve said many times and again and again, He shows it to me. I don’t deserve His love, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness…or random blessings like a quiet relaxing place to get things done or even first class.

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