It quickly emerged that a member of our group, a veteran of overseas travel, had already snaffled one of the magic tickets.
To this day, I don’t know how he did it, but that’s the magic of the upgrade. The people who know how to do it never, ever let on.
The PR for Tourism Queensland, who was accompanying us, withdrew herself from the drawing of lots in what I can only describe as a moment of madness. That meant I had a one-in-three chance of bagging the dream ticket. However, for one-in-three you can read one-in-a-million because I never win anything. I am allergic to luck.
I refused to draw a lot.
“There’s no point,” I said. “I never win anything.”
So Lisa drew her lot. No, it wasn’t her. I was offered a go. “I told you, there’s no point,” I repeated. My face was impassive but I was crying inside.
It was Dale’s go. But no, it wasn’t him. That’s strange, I thought. Who’s won then?
“It must be Richard,” said Rebecca, the saintly PR. It must be Richard. The most beautiful phrase ever uttered at Terminal 3. It must be Richard...
That moment ranks in the top five most memorable of my life. It may be the best ever. Yeah, having children and being there at the birth is good. And doing the “I do” bit was pretty special. But business class? All the way to Australia? For 24 hours? Like hello?
On Cathay Pacific, you get the most comfortable chair ever, which turns into a fully horizontal, stretch-your-legs-out bed, with pillows and duvet, at the push of a few switches. The air stewardesses address you sweetly by your name, and smile, and give you hot towels and replenish your glass whenever you want. The food isn’t just edible (a first for me on an aircraft) it’s actually pretty good. There is an orchid in the loo.
Do you want to know why rich people always look so much better than you after a flight? Business class.
Do you know why they don’t snap at each other while waiting at the baggage reclaim? Business class.
If I could live anywhere in the world, do you know where I would want to live? Business class.
And so I experienced a miracle on the flight path to Brisbane. If I think about it now, my pulse quickens and my eyes mist over.
The only problem is that I now suffer a criminally under-diagnosed condition known Post Business Class Stress Disorder. The prospect of flying economy is, frankly, too much for me to bear. I know you get there at the same time as travelling in business, but it’s not same. It’s like having a cake without the filling and the icing and the fancy pipe work. Or the Champagne flute.