I'll be the first to admit that I can be a pretty cheap bastard when it comes to most things. In ridiculous ways too - not at all consistent. I'll spend a bunch of time trying to get the best price for a room in Vegas, but won't balk at the hundreds of dollars I may lose in a session of blackjack. I will wait weeks for the right deal on a flight. Just recently I booked a short flight between Phoenix and Las Vegas as part of trip home after the holidays and waited two months for the price to go down from $59US to $41US... I probably lost money considering the Canadian dollar has crashed in that time.
What I have miserly with is the differences in decimals between gas stations. I almost always get my gas at one chain because it allows me to maximize my Flight Plan points which gets me a flight on a yearly basis. And this extra spending on gas (and dozens of other Point collecting techniques) has allowed me to fly - for the first time mind you - Air Canada's Executive Class to Las Vegas. More on this in a minute.
I arrived at the Toronto airport four hours in advance and, while this may seem ridiculous to many people, hoped I wouldn't have to endure repeated Bataan death marches of check-in, customs, carry-on scans, etc.. Much to my surprise the foot traffic at the airport was almost like a ghost town. With the amount of snow this area received last night, and expected to get tomorrow night, I thought there would be cattle calls of people wanting to get out ASAP. Apparently I was mistaken.
And so I find myself with near three hours to kill waiting for my flight to Las Vegas. Then I remember about the Executive Class booking. Such a booking has qualified me for admittance to the Terminal One Maple Leaf Club in the Toronto Airport. I feel like I've walked out an Amtrak station and onto the deck of the QE2.
Laid out before me is a quadruple spigot tap for pouring pints, about a dozen liquor bottles uptipped in shot positions, a cooler of every soft drink under the sun and a small group of people looking quite content. Not having a job where I can expense Executive flight upgrades, this world is foreign to me. It's almost too quiet. No announcements, sound-proofing, panoramic views of the runways... I feel like this is Eloi world that this lone Morlock has stumbled into. Mix me up a batch of soma-infused Freshie, I'll join the "club".
I never thought waiting at the airport could be so antiseptically-different from mixing it up with the embattled hordes jostling for room at the gates. Dear me, have I become elitist... maybe I'll come down to earth seven hours from now as I walk into my $50/night room at the Sahara on the Vegas Strip. I'll think back to the fond memories of free internet, free drinks, pomo stylings, and people who look too cool to care. Then I'll go down into the casino and see it all over again.
Tom Petty once opined, "the waiting is the hardest part." Surely he can get his agent to book him into Executive Class next time. C'mon Tom, you don't have to live like a refugee!
(PIC: not my Maple Leaf Club, but looks the same)