Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flyin' on Business Class

Last month I had an opportunity to try out how flying on business works. I flew a few times back and forth to the US earlier, but I always took the Economy seats. It is possible to survive such a travel, but usually hard to sleep on the not too comfortable seats and the space is not really much for a 1.93m tall person with long legs like me. Not to mention the amount of attention you get from the flight attendants throughout the flight.

This time I did not complain about the available space, food, nor the service.

I flew from Budapest to San Francisco, through New York and from Los Angeles to Zürich through Atlanta. These 4 flights were all operated by Delta this time.

The check-in experience was not that really great in Budapest: I had to wait for about 10-15 minutes in the priority check-in line. Well, there were a lot of people even for Business class. The security was fast and when I arrived to the gate, I took the priority line to the airplane, so I could settle very fast.

Leg space: more than enough. There were a lot of thing stuffed into the back pocket in front of me. Menu, blanket, pillow, magazines, headphones and a nice small bag of useful stuff for a long flight:

The stuff in the bag were the following:
  • Socks: the A/C was on full throttle of course, so it was pretty useful.
  • Eyeshade: I think I've used it, pretty practical.
  • A Delta discount flyer: useless.
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush: nice touch.
  • A pen: well, good for a swag.
  • Earplugs: practical for someone who needs these kind of things.
  • Tissues.
  • Various creams: my girlfriend liked them, she told this is a good brand. I am not a cream-geek, so I don't know.
  • HintMint: I did not really like it. :)
Nice pack, I kept it.

I could not complain to the menu either. There were 4 courses, the main course could be chosen from a couple options. I chose some chicken. The portion was big enough. The last course was the dessert. This time, it was a chocolate cake:

In this photo, you can also observe the amount of leg space available...

But back to the desserts. This was the selection:

Cheese-cake, ice cream sundae, chocolate cake, fruits. Not bad. :)

30 minutes after I finished with my portion, the flight attendant asked if I asked for strawberries. She was very sorry to forget who was it. I said to not worry I could take it, so she left it to me:

I expected to have a plug for my laptop, but unfortunately it was not working. First of all, it was very hard to plug the Apple charger to the socket due to the limited space around it. After I managed to force it in, it turned out that there is no power in my seat. The flight attendants couldn't help. Argh! Next time I'll bring an extension cable which will eliminate at least that part of the problem.

The seat was very comfortable, though. The economy seats usually have one button to change the tilt of the back, but here there were about 20 different buttons to change everything: the tilt of the back, the feet position, the length of the footrest, etc. It was definitely more comfortable than the economy ones.

The headphones were noise-canceling ones, watching movies was nice with them. My program was: Adjustment Bureau, Unknown, and the first half of Hall Pass.

After the movies, I made some work in the computer (until the juice lasted), and then got some food before landing, then we arrived in NY in time. I tried not to sleep on this flight, because this was an in-day flight (from noon to afternoon).

Oh, btw, there was Rene Russo on the plane. She looked much younger than she is.

At JFK, I was the second person out of the airplane and I had 0 waiting time at the immigration office. The luggage waiting time was slightly longer, but there were no real issues, I managed to catch my next flight to SF.

In the JFK - SF flight, there were no "Business" class, just "1st" class. Fancy! At least the plug worked there, and I could use the interwebs for a $10 fee. It was funny posting to FB in 30k feet high. Well, this is not really a Business Class benefit, everyone could do that, only they did not have power plugs or just on selected seats. The leg space was big enough here as well, though no stuffed bag this time. The noise-canceling headphones were there as well.

The food was really good this time, too. I was really tired this flight (it was 4am in Budapest time when we took off), so that after doing some internet browsing and finishing Hall Pass (it was not that bad as I expected), I got some sleep. It was around 11:30pm local time by the time I arrived to SFO.

The way back was similar, with minor changes: internet in the first flight, sleep on the second. They asked me if they would wake me up for breakfast. After consuming the dessert (cheesecake), I managed to sleep about 6 hours.

So this was my "Business experience". I was appreciated it, I can tell that the seats were much more comfortable. It is also true that the ticket was not cheap.

As a side note, the best economy experience I had was in a flight from Zürich to Sydney through Dubai. Can you guess which airlines? Yes, Emirates. I flew on the Airbus A380 between Dubai and Sydney. There was an on-demand video with all the new titles, slightly bigger legroom than the usual economy standard, and I got two stickers which I could stick into your seat to indicate whether or not you wanted to get woken up for breakfast. The linked video introduces the first and the business class in the A380, I suggest taking a look at it. Pretty funny. Well, one time, maybe...

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