We recently had the fantastic opportunity to fly long haul business class.
Now I know what you’re thinking Business Class is far too expensive, and really what does the flight matter as long as the holiday is amazing. I have felt exactly that for many years, having flown around the world a number of times, experienced the glory of internal transfers and even had a flight for a grand total of 15 minutes. The question was always why would I spend that much more?
Throughout my teens and 20’s I had had traveled an estimated excess of 20,000 miles and had never been a recipient of the fabled ‘free upgrade’, and therefore had never experienced the joys of the premium classes. Saying that, I had once flown Premium Economy on Virgin and it didn’t impress me enough to make a habit out of it. In my eyes the ‘free upgrade’ was just a tale told by honeymooners or friends of friends.
It was at the end of my second trip around the world at the ripe age of 28, after our incredible engagement in Bora Bora, that the fable became a reality. We were due to fly from Tokyo to London, a British Airways flight that exceeded 13 hours. We were casually chatting with the check in staff, when we mentioned our engagement. This wasn’t to ‘try our luck’ or anything of the sort, it was simply an exciting time for us. Nothing was said, and we were issued our usual economy tickets which we visited a restaurant and duty free before arriving at the gate
At the gate we were promptly stopped by an air steward, and asked to step aside. ‘No they weren’t kicking us off this flight’ went through my head, as the stewardess approached us. ‘No need to worry Mr Betts, we have upgraded you to Business Class’
That flight was by far the most comfortable I had ever been on, with no invasion of space, children screaming or funny smells, there was room to move, the temperature was pleasurable, the food was bountiful and the staff just felt more courteous. It was just a lovely experience.
Since that moment I have always reviewed Business Class Flights, however when travelling to such far destinations prices varied. I always stuck firm to the thought, ‘the money can be better spent when I am in the destination than getting there’. Well after a torrid experience with a major airline, we were given the opportunity once again to fly Business Class. This time we had the full service package, transfers and lounges included. As we had such a poor experience with this airline we were very nervous about what this experience would bring.
What it did bring was the most amazing airline travel experience of our lives thus far. We were greeted at our home (on time) by an executive car and transported to the airport, there we were privileged enough to use the executive check in (no Queues), and escorted to the lounge. The lounge was comfortable, elegant with food and amenities plentiful. We also shared the lounge with a few TV personalities most notably Andy Peters (popular UK TV personality). The flight was called and we boarded the plane again without any queues. I really didn’t take into account how this relaxed journey would affect my mood, it really did… No more sitting on the floor, buying overpriced airport food, and generally feeling like a sheep in the crowd. This was truly an unknown relaxing experience.
The flight was similar, as we were greeted with a glass of champagne it continued with fantastic customer service, exquisite food, tranquility and lots of space which to move around. It’s really the little things that make the experience so amazing, for example comfortable headphones, real cutlery, an actual glass for your drink, a place to put your carry-on luggage that enables easy access, a larger personal movie screen, and of course being able to eat and drink when you like. The comfortable aspect was a real plus also, as this airline had the chairs that collapsed into flat beds. It is simply the best way to travel especially long haul. The rest of the lounges during our trip were just as good as the first (if not better), with huge sections of food and beverages, one even had its own barber and massage parlor. It’s just another world!
All in all, we arrived to ever destination relaxed and feeling great and even departed every destination feeling the same. I never realised how much the journey affects the holiday, especially the first few days and last few days. The impact of this type of travel was immense, both on our moods and emotions, it just felt better and what is holiday for? if it’s not to feel better?
So the question is, is it worth it?
I have always looked at numerous different options when purchasing flights, from the websites themselves such as Expedia, lastminute.com, Travelbag, to the comparison sites such as Kayak and Skyscanner. I even occasionally speak with travel agents such as Kuoni, Flight Centre, Thompson and Thomas Cook, or Airlines directly, as all have different deals at different times. Prices are influenced by so many factors including the airlines themselves, travel companies, dates, length of flight, oil prices, popularity etc…, however if the difference is affordable I would always pay more.
Therefore if the price of Business Class is affordable to you, I would have no doubts about purchasing it.