It was a cloudy day at Heathrow.
As I transitioned from one terminal to the next I realized this particular airport was more like a metropolis than a transit hub. Zooming between terminals took longer than it does to commute between some Irish cities. My flight arriving from Dublin had been delayed so found myself standing in the Fast Lane which I observed may just be the most stressful place you can possibly stand on earth (other than in an actual war zone). People were sweating, biting their nails…you could see they were about to miss their flight for a much anticipated vacation or business meeting.
Once through security I spritzed myself with several thousand perfumes, window shopped for clothing I couldn’t afford and spent a good deal of time enjoying a Courvoisier tasting located within a duty free shop. Once my flights gate blinked across the screen I plugged myself in and blasted Icona Pop’s “We Got the World,” while fist pumping and marching fiercely through two terminals.
Over the course of the next hour I found myself a front row seat overlooking Heathrow’s runway. Eager beavers desperate to get on the flight first loitered around the check in desk while I had my elbows in the air, relaxing as every other minute a new plane catapulted into the heavens. Adventures potential. Once the line up to have my passport and ticket check had dwindled I grabbed my bags and hustled through.
I was looking for a seat in Row F. As always I slowly walked past First Class, intentionally slowing down to observe the characters sitting in the most coveted section. While Economy class squeeze into their seats these folks sip on champagne and flip through Esquire and The Economist. Past the “silent curtain” I whisked my way through Business Class with my eyes jumping from my ticket seat and the numbers located overhead. Just before arriving at the second “silent curtain” which would lead me to The Economy in which I am so familiar (a separation of classes once again so visceral) I stood at the last seat in Business Class and my jaw dropped. I was totally dumbfounded. I stared down at my ticket, back up at Row F and after repeating this rhythm ten times I realized for the first time in my life I was not going to be sitting with “the rest,” and would be exploring sky high potential. My mug was smug and the woman beside me noticed. She motioned me to sit down, almost comforting me in my state of shock. I’ve never won the lottery but this felt pretty close.
Over the course of the next 6.5 hours I documented my Business Class experience on British Airways while hopping over the Atlantic. I started by sipping a glass of champagne while our flight taxied to the runway. I flipped through their Indulgence Menu and got rather excited at the prospect of writing a restaurant review several thousand feet above the Ocean. I was most impressed by their Champagne list, offering First/Business Class passengers a selection of French bubbly. I made a point of sampling each bottle during my flight and even indulged in a Kir Royal cocktail. “One of everything, dahling!”
I was thrilled by the prospect of “stretching out,” and got a bit button happy as I explored my space. We were given a wee travel kit featuring toothbrush, lotion, warm socks among other essentials and massive headphones that make the Economy ear buds look so lame. After photo shooting myself in my seat I then explored the bathroom (which featured a wee bouquet of flowers) and the Club Kitchen which sits between First and Business Class allowing guests to pop by for a snack whenever they feel peckish.
While nibbling on a bag of nuts I nerded myself out by checking the time remaining in my flight and then assessing top films I wanted to watch before landing. I took into account their run times, making sure I would have enough time to enjoy the rolling credits at “Fin.” I had a sour moment a few years ago when I did not prepare in this manner and my flight landed at my destination with 45 minutes of the film yet to explore. It was the climax no less! I opted to watch Oscar buzzing Lincoln and The Master both of which bored me entirely.
Service was exceptional throughout the flight. I was delighted to explore their culinary program featuring metal utensils and glass stemware. Appetizers rolled into entrees which finished with a cheese board that I enjoyed while mixing up a Manhattan. After snacking on several Cadburry chocolates and just before we touched down in Toronto guests were offered a quintessential British ritual: The Afternoon Tea. I nibbled on dainty sandwiches, sipped Earl Grey and slathered clotted cream on a warm scone. Business Class dahlings? Is there any other way?
In Flight Feasting:
Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne
Kir Royal featuring Creme de Cassis and Champagne Boizel Grand Vintage
Champagne de Castelnau Brut Rose
Lockwood Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, California
Martini Rossi and Johnny Walker Manhattan
red pepper, boursin cheese, sun-dried tomato dressing
Mixed Greens with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Seared Fillet of British Beef
dauphinoise potatoes, vegetable medley, peas and broad beans, fresh mint, chasseur sauce
Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice
Cornish Brie and Coastal Cheddar with grapes and biscuits
Earl Grey Afternoon Tea
prawn cocktail and chicken with basil and wensleydale cheese caramelized chutney sandwiches