Here's a sign of the times: The mayor of the fifth largest city in the country was seated in first class for a flight home from Washington, D.C. -- and not only did an anonymous tipster contact us, horrified by the scandal, but we also raced to the phones to find out whether this atrocity could have really have happened.
Of course, the reason any of us even care is that, for the flight in question two weeks ago, Mayor Phil Gordon was on a whirlwind tour of D.C., begging for federal bailout money. The city has slashed $270 million -- and 1,000 jobs. We're broke, baby.
So why should the city be splurging on a first-class ticket for Gordon? Doesn't this reek of let-them-pay-for-our-cake tone deafness, a la executives flying in private jets while asking for a handout?
Well, maybe it would, except for this: The city paid for coach.
Yes, that was the mayor spotted in a first-class seat. (Our spies are good!) But, as Gordon recently explained to us by phone, the city paid $314.20 for his round-trip ticket to Washington, a great price for a pair of coach seats. On the trip east, he sat in the bulkhead seat.
But, on the trip back home, barely 24 hours later, the US Airways attendants asked if he was interested in being bumped up to First.
"I said sure," Gordon told us. "I'd had four hours of sleep the night before, and my back still hurts."
The mayor also wanted to let us know that his accomodations during the near-sleepless night in question were a mere hotel room, not a villa. Duly noted. But if any of you happened to see Gordon slinking down the hotel hallway and slipping into the Presidential Suite under the cover of darkness, you know we're always more than happy to investigate.