Business class… it’s a magical place that we all dream of, but rarely get to experience. When I arrived in Australia on my last trip, I excitedly checked my frequent flier miles, knowing that I would (hopefully) have enough to upgrade one of my flights home.
I was 625 miles short.
Disappointed doesn’t even describe it.
Still, after a quick search I discovered that it is possible to ‘buy’ additional miles. So for the (relatively) cheap price of €54, I had upgraded the second leg of my return journey home to business class. That is a solid 6 hours and 25 minutes. I realise that having to endure the first 14 in economy wasn’t ideal, but it was better than nothing, and I figured, it would make the 14 hours just that more bearable. Besides, come July I was going to lose 20,000 miles… meaning this was pretty much the only chance I would ever get (without paying).
I checked my ticket scrupulously – yes, it seemed the upgrade had worked – no, it didn’t seem like they were going to take it away from me. I picked myself a window seat and also had the added bonus that I was eligible for the business class lounge in Dubai. Furthermore, the flight was on an A380, the stuff business class legends are made of – featuring a lounge and stand up bar.
The 14 hour flight was… well, exactly that… but at least I was sated by the fact that it was only a matter of time before I got to visit the penultimate business class.
Arriving at Dubai airport, I disembarked, trailed through security and found the business lounge. And who would have thought… they let me in! Me, in my cargo pants and 15 year old travelling t-shirt. I headed straight for the showers, naturally, and changed into a fresh batch of clothes, after which I didn’t feel quite so scruffy or out of place. I wasn’t particularly hungry but I checked out the many lounge areas and buffets and just enjoyed being somewhere that wasn’t teeming with people jostling around. Oh, and that morning glass of wine was a great idea.
And then I boarded the plane. And it was like entering a new world. I mean, I’ve always been a little bit dubious of business class – honestly, I’m young and fit and small enough that I can handle the discomforts of economy. I’m a frequent enough traveller that I know how to get the best out of a long-haul flight in cattle class. And with business class costing 4-5x the price, why would I bother?
But this… this was something entirely different.
I walked into the plane via the ‘First class/Business class’ entrance, and was shown up the stairs. Yes… up the stairs. Because I was lucky enough to be on an A380, business time is upstairs. I gleefully greeted everyone I passed along the way, including some first class passengers who seemed a little bewildered, and found my seat.
Along came the pre-flight glass of champers… and I sat there trying to hold in my excitement, wishing for the plane to be delayed.
Next came the menu card, and would I also like to see the wine menu? Oh yes, please!
After selecting my three course meal (mixed mezze, chicken & a cheese board) and ordering a mojito (obviously), I was set for take-off. From the second story of the A380, the view and perspective from my window was amazing.
Once we’d taken off and I’d received said mojito and a bowl of roasted nuts, I jumped straight up to find the famous stand up bar. The flight attendants didn’t seem to be at all surprised out by the fact that I wanted photos, and even loaded up their Polaroid so I could do a bit of a photoshoot. At this point I was thankful I’d taken the effort to pack my ‘formal’ denim skirt instead of the old cargo pants.
I took my aperol spritz back to my ‘pod’, feeling like I was the only one on the plane. Fast forward some more drinks, my amazing meal, and absolutely no one treated me like I was a pleb on her first business class trip – although it was quite obvious by my giant saucer-like eyes.
I liked the bit where they lay my ‘linen’ before lunch, and also when they asked if I wanted a ‘mattress’ – though I said no to that – there was no sleeping for me on this trip – it was far too exciting, and besides, adjusting to jet lag meant it was time to be awake! I loved the fact that there was plenty of space, I didn’t feel crowded and there was never a queue for the toilet, which featured cloth hand towels, by the way.
I found myself periodically looking at the time and wishing it would slow down – the exact opposite of what one does in economy, and I was almost disappointed when descent began, even though it meant I would soon be home, back with hubby and in my own bed.
So in a nut shell, is it worth the money? Well… as awesome as it is, I won’t be forking out the cash until I’m much, much richer. While I can handle it, I’ll trudge back to economy and stare wistfully at the roof, thinking of that one magical time when I was sitting above it all.