Health issues make long plane trips in cramped economy seats not only uncomfortable but also risky for our mom.  This is especially unfortunate since most of her family is located a 12 hour plane trip away.  As determined as our mom was to tough out an economy flight anyway, Matilda and I were more determined to surprise her with a first-class experience and a flat bed.

Our mom is not fussy.  She is stoic, selfless and many other positive adjectives.  She has no expectation of luxury and pampering.  In all the years we trudged to our economy seats, she never once glanced wistfully at those premium seats like we did.  The flight was merely a way to visit family so the journey was never important.

After a particularly rough year, our mom was feeling up for some travel.  Matilda cleared her schedule to accompany her and I got to work plotting and planning.  I managed to amass enough United miles to secure two first-class award tickets to Europe during the busy summer season and surprised her on Mother’s Day.  She was so excited for the opportunity to visit her family, she didn’t realize the tickets were in first class until we pointed it out.

Our mom obviously liked the surprise as she had a permanent smile the entire month before her trip.  And it continued throughout the trip.  She smiled in the first-class lounge, she smiled while boarding early, she smiled while enjoying her in-flight ice cream and Matilda claims she even smiled while asleep in her flat bed.

united global first lounge chicago ohare
Our mom enjoying the United Global First Lounge at Chicago O’Hare before her flight to Europe

flying united global first
Our mom happy to be flying first class for the first time

As always, our mom enjoyed visiting her family but this time she also enjoyed the journey.


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