You walk down the jetway with a spring in your step. Passengers traveling first class, after all, get to board ahead of mere mortals riding coach.
The flight attendants greet you effusively, as befits your station. Those who fly first class are, by definition, VIPs.
You settle down in your luxuriously wide first-class seat - leather of course - and order a Perrier on the rocks with a twist of lime; a little something to sip while the coach riders battle their way to the back of the plane. Ahhh, life is good.
But wait. What's this? Your Perrier water is ...can it be?...Yes! It's flat! And it's not as cold as you like it!
Outraged, you buzz for the flight attendant.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, sir," she exclaims. "Please accept my apologies, and here's a $200 refund on your ticket. I'll fix you a fresh drink...and sir, thank you for flying Continental."
In the age of airline deregulation, escalating fares and what many perceive to be lower standards of passenger service, the above scenario reads like fantasy fiction.
But under a program announced this week by Continental Airlines, this scene - or something similar - could be taking place all over the airways. Or at least the airways that continental flies.
According to Al Miller, general manger of Continental's Salt Lake office, first class travelers will now be entitled to a refund of up to $200 "if they are not 100 percent satisfied with any aspect of their trip, from reservations to baggage claim.
That includes a meal not to their liking, a delay in the flight or, yes, flat Perrier.
Continental, a subsidiary of embattled Texas Air Corp., launched a program last January in which passengers paying full coach fares could subject to space available, upgrade to first class at no extra charge - a policy that has assured not empty seats up front on Continental flights.
"It's especially good for business people," said Miller. "Many companies won't allow executives to book first class, so this is a way he or she can enjoy first class service." But what if the traveler, well, fibs about his flight? For $200, some people might be tempted to complain even if their trip was flawless. Those folks, Miller made clear, will just have to let their conscience be their guide.
"The discreation, good judgement and honesty of the customer will be the only factor determining when the service guarantee applies," he said.
The guarantee applies to round-trip tickets for first class valued at $500 or more, including the airline's "Y-OnePass" tickets good for first class travel at full coach fare for travel from Sept. 19 to Oct. 31.
Other incentives announced by continental as the busy summer travel months end, include 10 percent fare discounts for senior citizens and a $79 one-way fare for companions of travelers using deep-discount MaxSaver fares anywhere in the United States.
For example, a couple traveling round trip from Salt lake to Boston could purchase a regular off-peak MaxSaver for $318 round trip and a companion ticket for $158 round trip, which saves $160 and is 25 percent less than purchasing two tickets at the $318 rate.
Another new incentive allows those age 65 or older to fly anywhere in the mainland United States at a 10 percent discount, Miller said. Or, passengers at least 62 years old may buy a one-year pass at $1,299 for U.S. travel, or a $2,299pass for a "Globall Passport" for worldwide travel, for as many as 42 trips in the year.
Continental has six flights a day out of Salt Lake City International, all routed through its Denver hub.