It most definitely has its perks. Let’s start with the lounge. When waiting for our flight in Chicago, we were granted access to one of those lounges that I’ve only seen people disappear into like a secret club. Well, it did seem like a secret was being shared, because I had no idea they were so nice. Not only do they have comfortable seating, but free food, beverages of all kinds and wi-fi. So we enjoyed a few hours of one of those lounges while waiting for our 15 hour flight to Hong Kong to begin boarding.
Let me say before we go any further, that we did not purchase business class tickets. Mainly because, we can’t afford business class tickets. We do however, work the system and use airline points (explained here by my wonderful husband) and that is the only way we were able to do this. This also was the reason we had such a funny routing:
- Chicago to Hong Kong: 15 hours
- Hong Kong to Kulala Lumpur, Mayalasia: 3.75 hours
- Kulala Lumpur to Jakarta, Indonesia: 2 hours
- Jakarta to Sydney, Australia: 6+ hours. We stayed the night in Sydney, then finished up the journey with
- Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand: 3 hours
- Auckland to Nelson, New Zealand: 1.25 hours.
So basically we chose to fly business class to New Zealand for the number one reason that it will probably be the longest distance we’ll ever fly and we wanted to be comfortable for the 30 hours of flight time it takes to get there.
We were also quite well fed and hydrated. I have never used the bathroom so much when flying, and I think it’s because they’re constantly offering you something to drink. (Or maybe because I’ve never been on an airplane for 15 hours at a time before. Not sure which it was.) As soon as you’re in your seat, a smiling stewardess would appear asking if you wanted juice, water or champagne. I mean, you might not even be sitting down yet, and there she’d be asking for your order.
This first flight was the long one: Chicago to Hong Kong, and when we reached the gate for boarding they handed cookies out to commemorate this new overnight flight with Cathay Pacific. Daniel isn’t sure why they were saying it was new, because this isn’t a new route for them. Perhaps a new crew? Either way, the cookies were tasty.
Shortly after the before-take-off beverages arrived, we were handed a menu. A menu, indeed! A list of appetizer types of dishes, then three options for a main meal. Supper was served soon after take-off, but Natasha was sleeping. So when she woke up sometime during the night, probably around 3 or 4 a.m. she had the fruit that we had earlier. It was amazing fruit…big raspberries, fresh blueberries and strawberries sweeter than the ones I picked myself this past spring!
Later then, for breakfast, we all had omelettes with sausage and potatoes. Natasha ate like a lady of luxury, doing something she’s never been allowed to do before: watch a movie at the same time. I have to add that nothing was in a plastic container. Except the butter, which was in a teeny little white dish, all of its own. (Still classy to me for some reason. See bottom picture for an illustration.)
So after that long, long, flight, we arrived safe and sound and a wee bit sleepy, in Hong Kong. But I must say, I was more tired going to Portugal than ANY of these flights. I think that was due to the fact that I was hungry, and didn’t get any sleep. Flying economy with seats that “recline” about 1/2 an inch, are not conducive to any type of restful sleep. So even thought we woke up every hour for 15 hours to take melatonin, we still felt rested at the end of the this first flight.
Ah yes. About the luggage now. You know how I mentioned that we were only taking 3 carry-ons and 3 personal bags? Here they are. For the flight from Sydney to Auckland and Auckland to Nelson, they limit the carry-on weight to 7 kilos. (That’s 15 lbs.) Any checked bags cost $125 each. So, we went the cheap route and packed light. Very, very light.
Daniel did send a box to our house in New Zealand before we left, because by not checking any luggage, that meant we couldn’t take any of those questionably pointy objects like his safety razor which uses straight blades, or my sewing kit with its small scissors. So he shipped his laptop and a few of those items to have waiting for us.
Here’s an example of the dining experience. A fork and knife for each course, and so on. A white table cloth on the table, then a tray with another linen cloth, and the silverware are wrapped up tightly in a real linen napkin. I didn’t get a picture of the strawberries and fruit I mentioned earlier, but that dish even had a sprig of peppermint as garnish. It’s all just so lovely.
The service too, was very nice. The stewardesses and stewards have all been so very friendly, accommodating and helpful. They thank me, for handing them a cup, as often as I thank them for refilling my cup! And, no little plastic cups in sight here…they’ve all been glass. Even miniature goblet style for the beverages before take-off.
Now, on our last two flights, we didn’t fly business. Those were shorter flights so we survived economy just fine. But still. Flying business makes the entire journey so much more enjoyable, and I never thought I’d feel so at ease with flying. I actually look forward to our return trip home when we once again have many hours in the air.