On the recent trip to New York we flew with Continental Airlines out of Manchester. Originally we were booked on British Airways out of Heathrow, but as fate would have it the day we were due to fly was the day that the BA Strike started and guess what, our flight was cancelled.
As I was super organised, as soon as the dates of the BA strikes were announced and I found out we may be affected I went straight onto BA for a refund for the original flights and re-booked with Continental. That was on the Friday, and on the Monday it was confirmed which flights would be cancelled and ours was one of them. Lucky that I booked when I did with Continental, as the price of the flights doubled over the weekend.
Whenever Dave flies long haul he always tends to go for Premium Economy or Business Class due to the extra legroom predominantly, and the service. If anyone has met Dave in person you’ll understand that he’s big and tall so flying in “cattle class” for a long haul flight is a bit like torture and if he is flying for business then the priority is to arrive feeling fairly fresh and not feel like you have gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. For the trip to New York we decided to treat ourselves and go Business Class all the way, given that we were combining the trip with my 35th birthday and our 12th wedding anniversary.
I’ve flown business class a few times now, and the best flight I had was to Cape Town a few years ago, when on a 13 hour flight you really get the benefit from having great food, great service, lots of leg room and a big, comfy, fully reclining seat.
The main issue for me with business class flights is the price of them … I think the flights to New York were around £5000 for both of us, but then again if you break it down into the number of miles that you are flying – around 3500 – and the service you get pre flight and in flight then it is pretty worth it. For me airports are an awful place with lots of crowds, queues and waiting around. But on Continental you go through the Elite Access route so there are no queues at check in and much smaller queues at security. You can then mooch around the airport as much as you like and then retreat to the Elite lounge where you can eat and drink lovely food, and then be called when it’s time to board. You tend to board the aircraft first and get a glass of wine, and choose your meal from the menu before you get ready for takeoff. Once in the air, you get wined and dined, with a 4 course meal and then whatever you fancy during the flight.
With business class flights you also get a travel bag with all the essential items you might need such as lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, tissues, face wipes, a pen, socks and an eye mask etc. As soon as the kids saw these packs that we brought home pretty much unused, they were straight into their bedroom to set up a shop so that we could buy it all back from them. So worth the extra money we paid for business class flights 🙂
On the way to New York we travelled through the day and it made for a really easy journey, and we arrived at the hotel a lot less weary than we would have been. On the way back it was a night flight so after dinner it was time to recline the seats, get tucked up in our fluffy blankets, get the eye masks on and try to get some sleep. The only thing that having business class tickets doesn’t avoid is the turbulence that we had pretty much all the way back that kept me from getting any decent sleep as I ended up convincing myself that we weren’t going to get home! Apart from that well worth the extra money and the Continental in flight crew were brilliant.
Image from Ian Press