Back in September, I wrote a post on my life bucket list (see here for the post) where I listed “Fly in first/business class on an international flight” as one of the things I would like to do. Little did I know, just over 3 months later, that I would be able to check this off my list! Perhaps a case of “put it out in the universe and see what comes back”? Regardless, I loved every second of it and will forever have a soft spot for British Airways because they were my first (and hopefully not last!).
As you may know, I was home in Ottawa for Christmas and was moving to London on December 29, 2012. I flew on WestJet from Ottawa and Toronto and was going to fly British Airways from Toronto to London. I always like flying WestJet and the people are much nicer than Air Canada (plus you actually get a snack!). The flight attendent delivered my drink with a “you look exactly like my friend, except she’s blonde”. My response: “she must be a good looking girl”. That got a laugh out of both the FA and the people beside me and the FA said “good answer” and chuckled as he walked away.
The week before I flew, I’d scoped out Toronto airport (which is complete crap by the way considering it’s a major international airport) and found out they have Plaza Premium Lounges in the international (and domestic) terminal. Check them out here. For $30CAD, you get two hours of access to the lounge which gets you food, wifi, showers, tvs, newspapers and, most importantly, comfortable lounge chairs in a quiet environment (ie. no screaming children). The food was delicious as well by the way.
When it was time to head down to the gate, I headed out of the lounge, past the British Airways lounge and down to the departure gate where I heard the gate agents calling my name to come and see them. I went up to the gate agent and said “I’m Sarah” and the lovely girl (my new BFF) goes “Congratulations Sarah you’ve been upgraded to business class. I just need your passport and boarding pass”. Apparently the flight was overbooked and because I’d been booked into Premium Economy (best choice I ever made when I bought that ticket!), I had been bumped up a class. Even though they were about to start boarding the flight soon, she told me to go up to the lounge, have some dinner and a glass of wine and wait until the 2nd announcement in the lounge to come back down to the gate. HELL YEAH BABY!
I had a hard time containing my complete and utter GLEE at this new development. I’m sure I had the most ridiculous smile on my face as I waited for the lift back up to the lounge-it was pathetic really. I went into the lounge and had a glass of white and some amazing food while quietly trying to contain myself and pretend like I belonged. I then headed back down to the boarding gate when called. I got on to the plane and again had trouble containing my excitement. There was a woman sitting in my seat and she asked to switch seats so she could sit beside her husband. No worries. I then went to her seat and there was a man there hoping to switch seats to sit beside his wife. No worries. My final seat ended up being one of the double seat in the middle aisle but since the seat beside me was broken, I got the whole double area to myself. You could have fit a good 4 people in the area I was alone.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to leave that night because apparently the copilot got sick and collapsed. They made an announcement that we would be put up in hotels and have the same plane and seats on a slightly earlier scheduled flight the next night. As long as I was still in business class, I wasn’t too bothered! We were all a bit nervous because the forecast was for snow but thankfully Toronto is not London and the airport can handle a few centimetres of snow. You bet your butt I used those allotted meal cards at the hotel to the best of my ability!
The next night, we all settled back into our seats and got ready for take off. Unfortunately because they had to add on an extra flight, BA wouldn’t let anyone with complimentary upgrades into the lounge so I had to sit at the departure gate like a commoner haha-hard to do when you’ve experienced the other side!
The flight thankfully was uneventful. I loved having my little cubby and LOVED being able to stretch out! The food was delicious and all 3 courses were served on proper dinnerware with real cutlery! Because, as a friend pointed out, clearly people in first or business class are assumed to be less likely to attack someone with a real knife; those hooligans in economy however…unpredictable!
My starter was a lovely asparagus salad with parmesan and an apple vinaigrette and I just had to have a glass of the white French Bordeaux. Then I had a lovely fillet of beef with veggies and mash and finished off with an amazing dessert of chocolate mousse cake with a caramel centre.
I then was able to stretch out and enjoy myself with a book and a glass of wine. Now THIS is how I should always travel I tell ya!
Despite the lie flat bed and being able to adjust the pillow height, I still didn’t sleep. I guess I am doomed to never sleep on a plane. I had to make due with just lounging about-it was terribly difficult but I was willing to take one for the team. A light breakfast to finish the flight and I was ready for London.
After landing and making my way through the maze that is Heathrow airport, I was able to hop into an express line at customs and was through to baggage within minutes. Thank you again business class boarding pass! Overall I had a wonderful flight over and now I am ruined for life when it comes to international travel! Ruined I tell you!