I recently got the chance to travel in business class, on a short haul flight to Portugal. After years of working as a Personal Assistant, and frequently booking business class flights for other people, it was finally my turn to travel in “business”!!
From the moment I checked in and the lady said “enjoy your business class flight” the grin was fixed on my face. The first benefit that I was keen to try out was the “business class lounge”. This was a fairly modest size room, with comfortable seating, free food, drink and plenty of Apple Mac computers available for free browsing. As it was a little early in the day for alcohol I played it safe and opted for coffee. By the time I polished off my free cappuccino and muffin I headed for the near by gate.
If the smug grin on my face did not scream how much of an inexperienced traveler I was, then the next action did… When I boarded the plane I waved my ticket in the air hostesses face and said “hi and where do I sit for business???” She just looked at me, smiled and said “find your seat number” as I looked to my right I noticed how small the plane was and within a micro second the smile left my face. I felt highly disappointed; there was nothing to distinguish between business and economy seats, as they both looked identical! Red faced, I clumsy found my seat number and placed my bag in the overhead locker.
While sitting down I watched the other passengers board the plane and thought about; A) Why B) How, my old manager could justify his expensive upgrades. In those few reflective minutes, I felt like a fool for being so excited about travelling in business, after all, was it really worth paying hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds more for upgraded travel? I admit, yes the lounge was nice, but it was not worth spending that much extra on a flight just for the lounge. After a short while all (few) passengers were onboard and the air hostesses’ scurried around like ants to make sure everyone was seated comfortably. The first onboard privilege was that my coat was hung up (on a proper wooden hanger in a cupboard). The second was that I was offered a hot towel to freshen up with. Okay now the picture was becoming clear, I could see that the pampering treatment, which accompanied business travel, could be seductive. What was that… free glasses of champagne for take off, at 11am… sure thanks why not? I now understood that although my seat looked the same as economy, because I was sitting the other side of the curtain, sipping champagne my seat did not feel the same and that glass (not plastic) flute of champagne tasted great. The difference between seats was all about service and attention to detail. I was served real food on a china plate, my cutlery was silver and not plastic, and I was also offered a fresh bread roll from a basket and not an individually plastic wrapped bag.
The final luxury was when the plane landed in Portugal and I was first to leave, this made a welcome change to the normal, awkward, uncomfortable 15-minute wait to exit the plane
All in all the experience was good, although I was overly excited and skeptical at times the flight was good and incase your wondering… yes I would travelling in business again, but not if I was paying!
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