On being handed a hot towel to refresh on an AA flight: "It was basically the size of a cocktail napkin. Or perhaps it was a piece of the pilot’s long-lost security blanket. Whatever it was, it was marginally warm, borderline damp, and had the unmistakable, oft-used texture of a bargain washcloth."
On the classy good ol' days, before airline deregulation: "Meals were an event, with high-end chefs from restaurants like the '21' Club in New York catering meals that would be served on Rosenthal china with stainless steel silverware, starched white napkins and tablecloths."
On the issue of declining service: "On some flights, first class doesn’t even mean a meal. US Airways, for example, doesn’t serve prepared food in first class for any flight less than three and a half hours long."
On the issue of outdated in-flight tech: "Consider an American Airlines MD-80 I recently boarded only to discover that the jack below my first-class seat was a round DC outlet like one you might find in your car’s cigarette lighter. Which would have been great had I been driving, but left my PC bereft at 35,000 feet. (The airline promises that it is converting the outlets.)"
On airline clubs and exclusivity: "Holding a first-class ticket does not guarantee access to terminal clubs, something I discovered at Newark Liberty International Airport, where my $759.70 ticket — one way — wasn’t enough to get me into the United lounge, despite the fact that I was wearing my best (and only) suit."
You can read the main article online here, but the full-page of First Class suite photos won't be there.