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How is Delta like Balaam’s Donkey?

September 1, 2013

Last Thursday and Friday, I sat in a chair and turned sideways to speak to a camera.  The twisting and holding took their toll on me.  By Friday night, my left shoulder, back and neck were SCREAMING at me.  Fortunately I travel with a heating pad and Tylenol.  I was able to get some sleep, but I dreaded the long flights across the country to come home on Saturday.  Flying is always hard, but flying with a screaming backache could be torture!

When I checked in at the airport, I knew that my second flight had been upgraded to First Class.  I travel a lot and this is a perk I only receive occasionally.  I like the comfy seats in first class.  I am able to sleep well in them.

First class means free luggage.  One bag was 49 pounds (I’m THAT good at guessing the weight of my suitcase) and the other was 40 pounds.  I checked them in and didn’t have to worry about them any more.  Saving the $25/$35 charges was a nice bonus.

First class means the fast line at TSA screening.  I was tired and in pain and appreciated not having to stand in a long line to go through screening.  Screening is still an obnoxious experience, but skipping the 45 minute shuffling line was a blessing.

First class means food.  My first flight was booked in economy and I had a 30 minute layover in Atlanta.  I was concerned about having food for the day.  I ate breakfast at the airport and hoped I would survive on the bags of peanuts and pretzels until I landed and drove to a restaurant.  As I was boarding my first flight, the gate agent stopped me and handed me a new ticket.  I had been upgraded to First Class on that flight, too.  Once I boarded, they asked if I would care for an omelet (and fresh fruit, tea, and a bagel).  I said yes and was thrilled that my lunch problem was solved.

First class means priority baggage handling.  Once my second flight landed, I took the long walk to the baggage area and waited for my luggage.  Both bags were among the first 10 to arrive.  I grabbed them, made my way to the parking shuttle, and left the airport in near record time.

My travel day was not perfect.  I had a long walk through the first airport and was exhausted and in pain by the time I arrived at my gate.  The gate agent asked if I needed assistance boarding.  I guess the cane plus my body language gave her that message.  I really wish other people couldn’t see how much I hurt.  I thanked her but declined.

I was concerned about a 30 minute layover in Atlanta, but was surprised to land at A19, walk across the hall to the bathroom, pass the food court, and wait at gate A17 for my next flight.  In Atlanta, it can take nearly 30 minutes of walking to get from one gate to the next.  I was delighted that my two gates were so close!

When my second flight landed, the gate agent asked if I wanted assistance to get to the baggage area.  Again, I wish other people couldn’t notice my pain.  I thanked him but declined.

Some day, possibly soon, I will need all of the help that was offered, but for now I want to do what I am able to do.

And about Delta being like Balaam’s donkey?  God spoke through Balaam’s donkey, and I think God blessed me with the easiest possible travel day, using Delta’s Medallion upgrades.  I am very grateful.

I am home for a few days.  I plan to rest and catch up on work before I leave again Wednesday morning.  Those flights will not be so lovely.  I am flying on small planes that do not have First Class cabins.


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