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Jewish World ReviewMarch 2, 1999/14 Adar, 5759

Larry Elder

Larry Elder

So, how was your flight?

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) SO, HERE'S HOW IT STARTED.

I arrived at the airport, en route to Pennsylvania for a debate. The organizers arranged for an "e-ticket," an electronically-issued ticket requiring ID upon arrival at the boarding area. So far, so good.

The attendant punches up the information, confirms the flight and seating assignment, but looks puzzled, "This ticket isn't paid for."

"Excuse me?"

"Someone used a credit card, but it didn't go through. You're going to have to pay for it yourself."

"Fine," I said. "How much?"


"$l,865?!" (Did I have enough on my card to charge this?)

I hand him my Visa, and, whew, it goes through.

When I arrive in Pennsylvania, I told the organizer what happened.

Embarrassed, he promises to promptly reimburse me for my ticket.

Now the fun begins. I must get up early -- 5:00 a.m. -- to get my flight back to Los Angeles. The night before, I arrange a cab to meet me downstairs

at 5:30 a.m. At 5:35, I walk downstairs only to find that the cab driver took off. "Sorry, the driver left. I tried to call you, but you were on the phone." said the hotel clerk. He calls for another cab, but by the time it arrives, I have only a few minutes before the flight.

For this return flight, I must catch a commuter from this small town to Philadelphia, and then a jet from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. I had slept less than four hours, the debate went exceedingly well, and so I thought I would reward myself.

"May I upgrade the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles leg to first class?" I said to the ticket clerk.

"Are you a Frequent Flyer?"

"No," I said. "I don't think so."

"Well, it'll cost $240."

I thought about it for a second and said, "Fine."

"Everything is all set. You have a first class seat, but I don't have time to take your credit card, so please go to either Customer Service or the boarding area in Philadelphia, and pay for it there."

In Philadelphia, I go to the boarding area. "I'm sorry, sir. You must go to Customer Service for your first-class upgrade since you're not a Frequent Flyer."

"But, but, I was told ..."

"Nevertheless, you must go to Customer Service. I can't upgrade you here, since you're not a frequent flyer.

Hello, Customer Service. "I'm sorry, sir, I can't upgrade this to first class." "Excuse me?"

"This was a special ticket, with a special price, and it is not upgradeable."

"Not upgradeable?"

"Fine," I snapped. Remember, I'm operating on four hours of sleep, barely made the first leg of my flight because the cab driver couldn't wait five minutes and stood in line in the boarding area for one-half hour, only to be told that I must keep my original seating assignment.

I board the plane, find my row, open the top cabinet, put in my carry-on-- Wait, someone's in my seat!

The flight attendant leaves to sort it out. I stand in the aisle for five minutes, blocking people trying to board.

The attendant returns. "Sir, why don't you sit in 1-F, first class." Bingo!

In first class, the attendant asks whether I would like a drink. Now, it's 9:00 a.m., but the hell with it.

"Yeah, make it vodka with cranberry juice."

And, after a few minutes, I have a nice little buzz going. Well, I think, everything more or less worked out. I'm in first class and didn't have to pay for an upgrade.

Suddenly, another woman attendant boards the plane. "Are you Larry Elder?"

"Yes." I'm thinkin', hey, my fame has spread to Philadelphia.

"You can't sit here!"

"Excuse me?"

"You can't sit here."

"But, but ... ma-am, I was told to sit here because someone was in my seat in 8-A."

"You can't sit here."

She leaves and yet another woman comes. "Sir, you can't sit here. You haven't paid." So, now I'm a thief.

Murder, at this point, becomes a distinct possibility. "Look, I was told to move to 1-F. There was someone in my seat. You can go and ask him. I have several witnesses. I didn't just walk into first class and sit down without having paid for it. Now, I suggest you get it straight."

Minutes later, yet another guy shows up. "Mr. Elder, we are so-o-o-o-o sorry. We so-o-o-o-o deeply apologize. We so-o-o-o-o apologize for any inconvenience."

"Well," I said, "I really didn't appreciate being called a thief."

"Well, we are so-o-o-o-o sorry."

I land in Los Angeles, and my assistant asks, "So, how was your flight?"


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11/30/98: Save the children:tax the poor
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11/13/98: The Clinton 400
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10/02/98: Clinton --- friend of the working woman
9/28/98: George Washington vs. the Grand Jury
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9/14/98: The "Larry List" of the most fascinating women in politics
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8/21/98:So very clintonesque
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5/29/98:What's next, ‘burger busters'?
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5/18/98: This just in
5/11/98: Stepping up
4/30/98: Who's faking whom?
4/16/98:To spank or not to spank

©1998, Laurence A. Elder