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Day One: SEA->LHR

Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Dave!The bummer about being a US West Coaster is that a trip to Europe basically kills an entire day. I start out with a local flight to Seattle, connect to a long-haul 10-hour flight to Amsterdam, then RUN MY ASS OFF across Schiphol International Airport so I can get to my connecting London flight that starts boarding ten minutes after I land.

And here I am the next morning in Jolly Olde England.

Now, usually, that ten hour flight is nothing but the sheer agony of being crammed in a tiny seat and unable to move the entire trip... but somehow the travel gods smiled upon me and I ended up getting upgraded to World Business Class. Given the obscene amount of miles I fly each year, I'm used to getting upgraded on domestic flights, but it is a rarity on International trips (which, sadly, is where it makes the most difference).

Suddenly, a trip filled with pain, suffering, and dread becomes a different experience entirely.

And now I'm going to blog about what it's like to travel World Business Class on Northwest Airlines (soon to be Delta). From past experience, I know that there are those who will think that I am an asshole and somehow "bragging" about how awesome I am because I fly first class when "normal people" are stuck in coach. And that's fine. But I think it's important to note that flying thusly is something I could never afford, and only ever get to experience because it's free. Except it really isn't. I had to accumulate 160,000 frequent flier miles last year and spend countless weeks away from home, friends, and family to get to the point where I earn... I fucking earn... that prized upgrade seat. So people can say what they like, because everything has a price... it's just that sometimes it isn't paid entirely with money.

And besides, what else have I got to blog about?

Please forgive the positively shitty photos. They're positively shitty because they were taken with the positively shitty camera on my iPhone...

World Business Class

The first thing you notice is the legroom. Whereas the knees of my 6-foot 2-inch frame are permanently embedded into the back of the seat in front of me in coach, World Business has a freaky abundance of legroom. The above photo shows me at the edge of my seat with my legs fully extended. I can barely touch the chair ahead of me.

World Business Class

The reason for all that space? Your seat folds out into all kinds of configurations, including a bed. Yes, a bed. While not completely flat, it might as well be. Unlike the laughable "recline" position of the teeny-tiny coach seats that crush the person behind you, these seats can actually become comfortable enough to get some sleep. Good sleep.

World Business Class

Along with a seat about a billion times more comfortable than coach, you also get a little amenities kit. Inside you'll find a pen, chapstick (lip balm), switchblade comb(!), sleep mask, a toothbrush with mini toothpaste, and a pair of socks. SOCKS, BITCHES!! It all comes in a lovely zipper bag that's actually very nice. Notably absent are slippers. When I've flown World Business Class to Asia, you get slippers.

World Business Class

Before takeoff, they offer you juice or champagne, but you can ask for anything you want. After takeoff, they roll out the beverage cart and bring you a little box of assorted nuts. The nuts and your drink are refilled as often as you like. You can also go to the galley and grab from their snack basket any time you get hungry, which is crazy when you consider that they feed you constantly. Vahid gave me the book "Soon I Will Be Invincible" for my birthday, and it is freaking AWESOME (seriously, go buy it immediately). Vahid knows all kinds of cool books, yet never blogs about them. He will, however, gladly give you a long list of incredible reads if you see him in person buy him a drink or two.

Note the personal Video System (which is also available in the main cabin at a smaller size) which can map your journey, show you movies, and play music or games.

World Business Class

You are handed a menu with various upscale dishes... hardly any of them vegetarian-friendly. A full dinner and breakfast with various appetizers and snacks are served, all of them sounding just great (assuming you eat meat). As an example, one of our breakfast options was "Egg Pie Florentine with Spinach and Bacon, served with Apples and Cranberry Compote" plus your choice of breads.

World Business Class

Unlike coach food, World Business Class meals are never served in little plastic tubs. It always comes on real glass plates with real glassware and real metal cutlery. And I believe that's real butter too. But my most favorite part? You don't just get "salt and pepper" you get "Natural Sea Salt OR Natural Rock Salt" and "Freshly Ground Black Pepper OR Freshly Ground White Pepper"... YOUR CHOICE! How classy is that?!?

And there you have it. That's how the other half live (and me... on rare occasions). If you have the means (or frequent flier miles), I highly recommend it. I can't speak for other airlines, but Northwest (soon to be Delta) with it's impeccable flight attendant team, great seats, and great food, makes even the longest flights a sheer pleasure with their stellar World Business Class service. Two thumbs way up.

And now, after a fantastic morning wandering around London with flawless blue skies, it's time for dinner...

Categories: Travel 2009Click To It: Permalink


  1. Hilly says:

    I flew Delta out here to Florida and LOVED my personal video system. I ordered the game package, watched Twilight, played in-flight trivia then obsessed over how quickly we could pass over the Gulf of Mexico.

    I love that you had so much leg room though cause I know you normally don’t get that.

  2. shiny says:

    They… they give you the whole CAN!

    I mean — it’s Pepsi. But they give you the whole CAN!

    Glad you’re having a good time thus far…

  3. Ah, I think Heaven might be a bit like World Business Class.

    Or, should that be “World Business Class might be a bit like Heaven.”

    Who cares. Both are awesome. 🙂

  4. sounds like a wonderful way to travel! so glad you get to enjoy it.

    have fun!

  5. A Lewis says:

    Shouldn’t that be a Diet Pepsi?? And socks? Hehehe. I’m happy for you. I’ve sat in Business Class on that very particular flight! It’s not a bad way to travel, eh??

  6. Sybil Law says:

    Well, look at Mr Fancy Pants!
    Nice – that does indeed, look tolerable for a long flight!
    Have a great and safe time!

  7. sizzle says:

    Please have double fun for me. I wish I was in London!

  8. Sarah says:

    Glad you got there safe and sound and very uncramped.

  9. Robin says:

    Very jealous.

    I am happy you had a good time. I have to find Vahid @ TC09 so he can give me good books to read…I need to refresh my bookshelf a little…

  10. kapgar says:

    I keep seeing that damn book on the shelves and wondering if it’s any good. Thanks for the rec.

  11. Robin says:

    Been traveling all week and just unfolded myself from my seat in coach. So jealous. At least someone had leg room today—because it wasn’t me.

  12. karla says:

    We flew business class on SAS to Bangkok at Christmas, and yes, it really did make all the difference. It made the travel portion pleasant instead of torture. Changed the whole vibe of the trip. Well worth the miles/money.

  13. Iron Fist says:

    Ha! I KNEW you would love it. Glad you’re enjoying it so much.

    (And Kevin, YES, go and pick up a copy, you won’t regret it.)

  14. Nicole says:

    That reminds me of the time I went to London. My friend worked for Sabre so I got to fly business class on American Airlines. They had filet mignon on the menu! Plus I got to watch movies and whatnot. And I remember getting a pair of socks too. Very nice flight, other than the fact that by the time I landed I had the flu. 🙁

  15. martymankins says:

    I’ve got to take a long flight in First Class. I like being treated with luxury

  16. claire says:

    Wow. I’ve swung an upgrade or two to first class domestically but those were over a decade ago, maybe 2 (so no individual tv screens, e.g.). Your world business class seat and its amenities look pretty awesome.

  17. serap says:

    I got socks when I flew to the USA with Virgin… isn’t it weird how happy a free pair of socks can make you?! Have a great time, and I’ll be thinking of your lovely flight when I fly Easyjet back to the UK on Tuesday!

  18. delmer says:

    I was upgraded to FC on a trip to Vancouver due to some sort of computer oddity with US Air. When I redeemed my frequent flyer mile there was an option to chose FC for the same amount of miles … but when I did I was advised it wasn’t available on my flight. As it happened, it was. My upgrade didn’t have nearly the amenities (socks?!)

    Congrats on the upgrade. With all the miles you fly you deserve it on a long flight.

  19. Andy Hayes says:

    Welcome to the island! =) Glad you arrived in style (did you see the business class post on my website?)

    Looking forward to next week’s get together…

  20. stef says:

    i worked for delta air lines in cincinnati for 4 1/2 years. being an employee means free flights…yay! of course, it’s only as long as a seat is available, and you standby for first, and get coach only if first isn’t available. needless to say, i’ve been really fortunate, and got to travel first class for free many times during my employment at delta.

    (of course, i was only making $12/hour and had to work major holidays, so free flights was a decent trade-off for having to deal with grumpy passengers on christmas instead of my family. who may or may not have also been grumpy.)

    since international first/business class was rarely full, it was almost a given that you would be put in first class when traveling internationally. AWESOME. i was spoiled. going back to international coach when i was used to flying in first really sucks.

    life lesson: if you want to travel in first class, either be a millionaire or get a job with an airline.

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