Spoiled Bitch Alert. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I have been an incredibly lucky Nancy recently, I have to admit. Not only did I get to skip winter (even if it never really was winter in Toronto this year) and get to live in Australia instead, but I’ve also been able to work in a significant amount of travel and sight seeing around my work responsibilities. A huge part of work travel as well is the fancy flying experience! I would never be able to afford Business Class on my own dime, and believe me, I soak up every minute of the opportunity.
I’ve had the opportunity of ‘sitting at the front of the bus’ as I say on a couple of different Airlines, and largely find them to all have bigger seats, nicer food and more frequent acess to free booze. The experience is generally incredible, but there are definitely Pros and Cons to the various airlines. From my recent experiences alone, here are my kudos and complaints about traveling Business Class.
Air Canada Executive First – I’m pretty patriotic, so you’d think AC would be at the top of my list, but sadly it isn’t – while I’m a huge supporter of Air Canada Economy (best in flight entertainment in the air – and its FREE), they fall short of the mark in their ‘Executive First’ Cabin.
Killer entertainment system – Excellent selection of New Release TV and Movies as I’ve come to expect from Air Canada, although it has to be stored for take off and landing so you don’t get to enjoy gate to gate entertainment like the folks in Economy
Self-Serve Bar – On the Long Haul 777’s there is a serve your own drink and food station, which is only slightly ruined by the fact that it is constantly manned by a very helpful steward only too willing to get your drink and snack for you and bring it to your seat.
Amenity Kit – Comes in a cute reusable bag and includes some high end moisturizers and lip gloss along with the essentials (tooth brush and paste) and my favourite – the SOCKS.
Seats – The majority of AC planes still have the old style reclining seat – which is a downside until you actually try out the ‘pods’
The Pods – While the ‘Pod’ style seat on the International long haul flights definitely looks incredible and having guaranteed aisle access is a bonus (especially for in flight beer drinkers such as myself), the actual seat is wildly uncomfortable in my opinion and the lie flat option is ruined by that approximately 9 different moving parts of the seat which turn the narrow bed into a lumpy nightmare.
The Food – Really unpredictable – on my flight from LA back to Toronto in November I was given a piece of beef that appeared to be freeze dried and was no bigger than a medium sized piece of broccoli, I’m not even sure if it was actually beef.
Ya, that's the actual piece of beef I was served. G-ross.
United Business – Overall the most comfortable, but some of the design as well as having to fly through the US kind of ruined the experience.
The Seats – Wide seats that lie back into a very comfortable bed and are adjustable into many different sitting and reclining positions – I was never for want of a better position – plus they come complete with a personal sized duvet and a great pillow
The Food – All meals I had on United were high quality and enjoyable, although I did notice the portions were a bit large for the requirements of a sedentary flight (maybe its an American thing?)
This was the SECOND course of my Breakfast before landing in Sydney.
Entertainment System – Only slightly beat out by Air Canada, mostly because I know the consistent quality of the AC system and this might have been a fluke, but I found the screen and selection to be wonderful
No Aisle Access – I had selected Window seats on all my flights and United was the only Business Class that didn’t offer guaranteed aisle access, while their seats have definitely been updated their new layout still involved the two by two seats and reaching my seat required a narrow squish around the ample arm/drink rest. I had more than one awkward experience vaulting myself over my sleeping neighbour.
US Hubs – The nature of taking a US owned airline on an International Flight means the requirement of passing through a US airport, which all Canadians will agree is stress they would rather avoid when traveling, especially when the destination doesn’t involve the US at all. Flying back from Sydney to Toronto via LA required getting off the plane, getting my baggage, clearing Customs, dropping off my bag, exiting the terminal, catching a bus to my connecting flight and going back through Security – which would have been a vile experience regardless, but to top it off I had to deal with the nightmare that is LAX.
Lounges – The United Lounges are horrible, I actually chose to leave one as the rest of the airport was actually nicer. You can’t serve your own drinks, they close the bar early and it was a legitimate problem when I needed a WiFi password for both my laptop and my iPhone. Seriously.
Singapore Airlines Business Class – Hands Down the most luxurious experience I have had the opportunity to enjoy in flight.
EVERYTHING – Seriously. The Staff are incredible, the seats are ridiculously large (no joke, Tigger and I were able to comfortably share my seat for awhile), the food was divine and the liquor was plentiful.
Seriously! Look at all that space!
The Seats (sort of) – I’ve already stated that these were huge seats, and are in fact the largest in their class (by over 50%!!) so there really isn’t much to complain about there but for the sake of consistency (and to emphasizes the magnitude of my spoiled quotient) it irked me a bit that the only way to change your bed into lie flat was to get up and flip the back of the seat down. I know, I know – poor little Nancy having to (gasp!) stand and have Flight Attendants rush to her aid in order to achieve lie flat comfort mid flight. I’m just saying its kind of nice to be able to press a few buttons and transfer between lying and sitting. That’s all.