Flying in business or first class is always a real treat and I have been very lucky to experience both. Please read on to hear more about my experience flying with British Airways.
What is Business Class Like
When you are flying business class you are treated like a VIP. Your luggage is labelled priority so it arrives first on the carousel at landing and you get to join the quick priority queues for check-in and immigration.
Whilst waiting for boarding, business class passengers are entitled to relax at the business class lounge. Each airline will have its own lounge but they have pretty much the same facilities such as access to bathrooms and showers (with toiletries provided), wifi internet, couches, and desks to plug in your laptop or devices. They also have a drinks bar that has a selection of red and white wines, bubbly (the better lounges will have champagne rather than prosecco), beer, whisky, scotch, brandy, vodka, gin and a few liqueurs. I always take the opportunity to drink lots of Bailey’s, which is always a popular choice with passengers and its not uncommon to see people pouring themselves whole glasses of this delicious, sweet drink and waiting for the staff to bring more bottles.
For those who prefer to stay sober, there is also a decent selection of non-alcoholic beverages such as mineral water, juices, hot chocolate, teas and coffee. There is also a food buffet with light snacks from noodles, sandwiches, cheeses and crackers to fresh fruit and pastries.
When it is time to board the plane, Business and First class passengers are allowed to go first. As you settle in your seat and await take-off you are offered a glass of champagne or orange juice and are provided a food menu and wine list to browse.
When the flight has taken off and the seatbelt sign is turned off, your steward will then proceed to take your order for the meal and you can choose an appetiser, main course and dessert as well a beverage. Your meal will be served in china crockery with real cutlery and a cloth napkin and likewise your champagne or wine will be served in a proper glass. I’m not a fan of airplane food generally however I always eat the bread and once I had a very tasty vegetarian risotto. Desserts are a different story and are usually very good. I have enjoyed ice cream sundae with hot fudge topping as well as chocolate mouse cake.
Once you have finished your meal you can sit back and watch a movie. Usually there will be a large screen monitor that pulls out however on some aircrafts you will be given a tablet with headphones instead. The selection of entertainment will be the same as offered in economy and first classes. In business, the seats are very comfortable and they recline completely flat if you prefer to sleep.
One of my favourite perks in business class are the free cosy blankets. British Airways blankets are usually beige and blue quilted, whilst Singapore Airlines and American Airlines both have puffy, quilt-like blankets in blue. I have a great collection of airplane blankets at home as they are great for picnics or snuggling on the couch.
Flying in First
First class is not significantly different from business class. I recently flew first class travelling on British Airways from London to New York. The biggest highlight was the single aisle seating, so no matter where you sit you always have access to the aisle and plenty of leg room. As in business class, the seats can be adjusted to lie flat if you wish to sleep.
Upon arriving you are offered the customary glass of champagne or orange juice and a newspaper. We also received a little goodie bag with hand cream, face moisturiser, a toothbrush and toothpaste, socks and sleeping mask, as well as some British Airways branded cotton pyjamas and slippers. There were also several soft pillows in the compartment but I also requested a blanket and was disappointed they only had thin blankets that were not very warm.
The menu on my particular flight was average. However it was a morning flight and breakfast is usually the worst airline meal. I ordered a salmon and cottage cheese bagel to begin with, which I didn’t like because the quality looked suspicious with an unexplained black dot on my salmon. I then had the raspberry french toast, which was okay however the raspberry filling was very sweet. However the warm complimentary bread with butter served throughout breakfast was very delicious and I drank plenty of champagne, which enabled me to sleep well for the remainder of the flight.
Best Flight Ever
Without a doubt, the best flight I’ve ever had was the British Airways Club World flight from New York to London City Airport (via Shannon). This is a single class service, only for business class passengers and seats just 40 people. Inside the plane is very quiet and spacious and the customer service is top notch because there are less travellers to attend to. You also spend an extra 1 hour commuting than typical when flying back from New York, which means a little extra sleep if you’re taking the red eye and need to go straight to meetings on landing. Ana Silver O’Reilly also wrote an interesting blog about this particular flight that is worth reading.
When all is said and done, travelling in business or first classes is a lot more expensive than using a budget airline. The question is whether you would rather spend your money on a comfortable flight or save it for the hotels and attractions upon landing. What do you prefer?