Business Class, and He Whinges!

Great sufferings render lesser ones quite incapable of being felt, and conversely, in the absence of great sufferings even the smallest vexations and annoyances torment us. Schopenhauer

I'd say that only E@L can get a Business Class ticket to New York and whinge about it, but if Arthur Schopenhauer were alive...!


I can't sleep on this plane, despite the $10k it's costing the company for my business class seat. I am not going to be refreshed and ready for work when I finally arrive in Chicago. I'm going to be a wreck. So in order to kill some of the 18 hours of this flight I am going to run through the many reasons why I can't sleep, as it may help me... to sleep...

These medium-old style business class seats on Singapore Airline just don't work for me. They're supposed to go flat, but that's a cruel joke. They unwind in a pre-geared way that probably sounded good in the committee meeting and looked cool in the AutoCad animation but in reality they are shit. There is no separate button for just adjusting the back-rest. There is only the upright-flat button which controls the whole seat in a pre-programmed way. There are some override buttons for the leg-support and foot-rest, but they have their limitations.

Maybe 8 or 10 times previously, not this flight though, the main switch on the seats has malfunctioned on me. The typical problem is that when I am trying to micro-adjust my reclining position to watch a movie (see below) the seat takes off by itself and goes into the fully recline position. It often won't come back up. I have to call for help and the SG has to lift up the lid marked 'For Crew Use Only' behind the remote controller and reset the seat by holding all the buttons down.

At least these seats are shit for me. Some people might find them luxurious. Some people like blood sausage. Let's try get into a comfortable reclining position first, the relaxed watching-TV laid-back position. As I take the seat back towards, I find that my shoulders are too wide and the flanged edges of the seat cut into my triceps and deltoids, so I have to stop just a little short of comfortable. I try to raise the leg-support but because of some design limitation in the gearing it won't raise more than a token amount. I have to take the seat-back further down into triceps splicing level where some mechanical threshold is reached before the leg-support will rise any more. The section edge of the fold-down footrest is elevated a bit from the rest of the support, and it is cutting into my calf. Ow. I have to go even lower into shoulder-crunch to allow the leg-support to extend fully so that I can unfold the footrest without it only making it far enough down to dig into my Achilles tendon. I am really below TV watching declination now. I can come back up with the backrest a smidgen now before the leg-support starts to retract. Not enough to get out of shoulder zone but some.

So I lean forward to put the footrest out and down. However, within a minute my feet are too sore to rest on the footrest, the edge digs into the sole like a slow bastinado. The aching numbness [is that possible?] in the balls of my feet is particularly bad today, like I have run a marathon in hard-leather-soled Florsheim dress shoes. I fold the footrest back up, and the edge of the section cuts into my calves again.

Now let's try to sleep. If I let it run out completely, the seat inclines at about 7° downhill and I feel that I am continually sliding off into the small foot recess under the next seat. Tiring little muscle spasms are firing off all the time due to the slipping sensation. My shirt rides up, my pants ride up and crush my balls. My toes are brushing continually against the top of that recess. With the hypersensitivity due to the chronic Morton's neuritis in my feet (ha! I quoted Schopenhauer in that post!), even that small touch feels like those parts of a reflexology massage where the masseuse digs a small stick deep into the tip of each toe. I can't stand it. And I AM sliding down all the time. Every few minutes I have to reach up, grab the top of the seat back and haul myself up.

Even in the fully reclined the section edges do not sit evenly with my body, digging into my calves again, into my hips when I am on my side, into my lumbar spine when I am on my back. When I on my side, it's OK for a while but my upper arm usually manages to fall asleep before I do. The lower shoulder starts to ache as if it were being crushed. This is not a bed.

Remember the scene in BlackAdder the Firste, with Blackadder tied to a post, about to be immolated for being a witch (convicted on the testimony of a horse) - "I can't even get comfortable!" he squirms as they begin to torch the birch twigs. That's me in a plane.

I fucking hate flying.



I finally managed to drift off... after 20 mins the SG woke me up to see if I wanted a hot towel. I couldn't believe it! I pulled up my eye-mask and glared at her. Then I pulled it back down again. THAT showed her!

[SG Thinks: Yet another arsehole!]

Plus the lady next to me keeps farting (in her sleep! the bitch) most enthusiastically.

I fucking hate flying.

Unless I can get those new Business Class Seats I had on the flight to Paris...

Or, hey, the private cubicle in the A380 - I want one of them for Christmas.


I did read about 100 pages of The Schopenhauer Cure on the flight... Man, that Philip Slate character is an arsehole.

However, it makes me feel better to know that there are others, even if only fictional, more grumpy than me.



Posted by: expat@large on Nov 26, 07 | 10:55 pm | Profile


That Schopenhauer Cure sounds like a bundle of laughs. As for your flatulent companion...are you sure it was her? Ladies don't fart.

Posted by: Dick on Nov 27, 07 | 12:38 am

Chinese ladies do fart. Non-stop. It all that char sui.

Laugh, I nearly psychoanalysed myself! Bleakly misanthropic and cynical pessimism has its funny side too. Look at Beckettian humour, heavily influenced by Schopenhauer. It's a matter of perception...

This book is a 'good read', if not only as a potted biography of Arthur and his philosophy, but also for demonstrating a hypothetical group-therapy session in action (The author Yalom is a phychotherapist.)

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 27, 07 | 7:44 am

Sounds alright. I'll give it a go. Beckett can be a hoot.

Posted by: Dick on Nov 28, 07 | 1:07 am

He makes one of the group therapy people into a Schopenhauer clone. Most interesting.

This book is not so dark, though everyone is fairly damaged or geuinely ill (the therapist has cancer!), but it's not funny. Didn't mean to give that impression. Schopenhauer himself and his books however are so dark they're unintentionally funny.

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 28, 07 | 9:07 am


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