What's Still Great

I’m Proud to Be on American First-Class

The only way to live and fly.

By 5.17.10

Now for part one of an occasional series about extremely fine goods and services.

Your humble servant owns a number of houses and apartments. I travel among them constantly. And I speak often and travel to those events and do commercials and travel to those gigs. So, naturally, kindly people ask me, "Where do you consider your real home? Washington, D.C.? Malibu? North Idaho?"

Lately, I have come up with an answer: the first class cabin of American Airlines. There is my favorite home.

Now, to be sure, other airlines have fine first class cabins. United has a flight from Dulles to LAX that is bliss. Alaska has fine first class to SEA-TAC. But American does something better than anyone else: they take care of me.

Mind you, except for occasional health issues, I live a pretty good life. I swim often, look at lovely sights, generally enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

But indoors, at any of my homes, there are dogs and cats (yuck) to clean up after. There are mountains (true Everests!) of bills to be paid. There are statements from brokerages and banks. There are dishes to be cleaned and put away. In short, it's a chore. Even in my bedroom of my homes, there are spiders and moths and dust balls.

On American, though, I am a king. I take my seat and a flight attendant asks me what I want to drink. I fall asleep listening to Bob Dylan and no one wakes me up as my son routinely does in Beverly Hills. When I awaken, there is a selection of yummy things to eat. When I want to see a movie or a TV show, there are movies and TV shows on a little player.

Better than that, in many airports, when I am getting ready to board, there are young men and women who help poor ancient staggering me to get to my seat. There are helpful, bantering clerks at the gates.

At some airports, there are even young people at the gates themselves to get me through the long security line before I die of thirst.

When I am with American Airlines even in coach, on short flights, I get treated right. Cheery conversation with the attendants, often pilots wanted to say hello, ground personnel wanting to chit chat. American personnel just seem to be in a better mood than the people who work on most of the other airlines. (Although United out of Dulles and Alaska anywhere are also good.)

And then when I am on the plane, even on the shortest flight, there are snacks and I don't have to clean up my room.

But, again, it is the long, first class flights that I love and hate for them to end. No deluxe hotel, no fancy schmancy restaurant has the kind of care and attention I get from American's people. (For some reason, they are at their absolute best at Dallas. Maybe that's because the corporate HQ is there.) After I have been home for about two days, I am eager to get back on the road…on the American Airlines first class road. Life is short. I want to spend as much of it as I can in first class on American. For most of my life, I couldn't afford it. Now, I can't afford not to fly that way.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.