Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

O BUSINESS CLASS

by Suzanne Fluhr on September 19, 2010 · 12 comments


At the risk of sounding terribly bourgeois (and maybe like a Baby Boomer), I must say that the opportunity to make our trip to Japan flying business class made the “getting there” and “getting back” actually a pleasant memory. “Pleasant” is not a word usually associated with air travel these days—especially when the flights (between Toronto and Tokyo) are thirteen hours long.

Thanks to a real live travel agent, we discovered that we could fly “executive class” to Japan on Air Canada for about half the price than on other airlines. Air Canada (being Canadian and therefore as least “classist” as possible) does not officially have a “first class” section. Executive class has the mini-suites that are reserved for only first class passengers on other airlines. Everyone on the plane gets their own personal entertainment system and “free” food, but you can actually make a flat bed out of the Executive Class seats. Alas, even the possibility of horizontality did not induce me into slumber on an airplane, but I was able to become very mellow. My relaxed state was probably at least partially due to the fact that every time a flight attendant passed my seat, my glass of chardonnay was refilled. Even though I did not completely make it to the Land of Nod, I did try out the many possible configurations of my seat; read a novel on my e-reader; did crossword puzzles; watched an Argentine film (El Secreto de Sus Ojos); and dimmed my lighting and listened to Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” album on an Air Canada music station. (Blast from the past at 35,000 feet).

As evidenced by the photos, the food was actually appealing. First of all, the Air Canada menu described my chardonnay from the Wente River Ranch in Livermore, California as “exuding fresh melon and pear fruit, with a hint of vanilla derived from new oak barrels. Gregarious, round and full on the palate.” Hey, I was just gonna say that myself.

On our return trip, for an appetizer, I went with the “smoked salmon trout tartare topped with sour cream and salmon roe”. The menu didn’t even mention that it came with fresh herbs, a peeled grape tomato and a precious little vegetable “wreath” of grilled zuchini wrapped in eggplant. Exquisite.

For my main course, I passed on the “sauteed breast of chicken accented by Maple Cardamom Sauce” (hey, it’s Air Canada). I also demurred on the “steamed mero fish accented by Japanese truffle broth with pumpkin au gratin, sauteed eringi mushrooms and cauliflower” since the only ingredient I was 100% sure about was the cauliflower – not my favorite vegetable. After my exposure to real Japanese food, I am now permanently suspicious that someone might try to feed me fish guts and for all I know, “mero” is Québécois for fish guts. I also skipped the squid appetizer that came with the Japanese meal on the menu. I have a very rigid rule–“No squid on airplanes!” Instead I enjoyed my rosemary crusted lamp chops served with a pear puree.

I skipped the post entree cheese course (camembert, yellow rock cheddar and emmental) served with gorgeous red grapes and saved what was left of my appetite for the “warm signature chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream”.

After such a flight, even standing on line for an hour to clear US immigration and customs in Toronto (they let US ICE do its thing in Canada) could not extinguish the warm glow.

[This post is now part of a Foodie Tuesday blog roundup on Inside Journeys.]

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gretchen White April 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm

So how do you find a real honest to god competent-with-the-minute-to-minute-airline- changes travel agent?! After reading Nicholas Kralev’s Decoding Air Travel I just decided there are none.

Also, how do know if paying for first class on a particular plane is worth it? I flew Continental first class from SFO to Atlanta last November compliments of a friend who had tons of miles. It was barely superior to coach and I would have been terribly upset if I had used my own hard-won miles on it.

PS I’m a friend of Maddy’s, who told all of us this morning to go to your website.

Gretchen

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer April 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Hi Gretchen- I’m glad to see that Maddy’s friends do as she instructs 😉

The travel agent who found us our Air Canada business class tickets was my brother-in-law’s travel agent. He was traveling a lot for business. She wasn’t making much commission off of us ($35 a plane ticket, I think), but she wanted to keep my brother-in-law happy I’m sure. (This is not to say she wouldn’t have done a good job without the connection, but it doesn’t hurt and I think getting a recommendation from a frequent business flyer can’t hurt. She also saved us once when we had to change plane tickets during a trip to Spain because of a family emergency.) BTW, the travel agent was located in Chicago and we live in Philadelphia, but in this day and age, you don’t have to be co-located with your travel agent to get things accomplished. But, just to illustrate that it’s still hit and miss, we needed tickets to fly to Hawaii (economy) and I e-mailed this agent. She was on vacation, but one of her co-workers arranged tickets for us. They were the worst!!! Right up against a bathroom bulkhead and they didn’t recline–and it’s a fairly long way from Phoenix to Hawaii! It made enough of an impression that I blogged about it. Here’s the link: http://www.boomeresque.com/?p=17

I agree with you that first class is not worth the expense for flights shorter than 5 or 6 hours. For over 10 hours, I’m going to try to find a way to finance a business class ticket. However, I think it’s really important to check out the aircraft being used on your flight (that’s usually included on the airline’s flight listings on their website.) Then, look up the plane on http://www.seatguru.com You will find information out about the seat configurations on your type of airplane, which are the best seats, etc.

Happy trails!
Suzanne

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Vanessa (@Turnipseeds) August 12, 2013 at 8:37 am

Love it! Go team Chardonnay!! (Too bad that they aren’t serving exclusively Canadian wines on Air Canada. Norman Hardie in Prince Edward County, ON, makes one heck of a good chardonnay). I’m amazed at how good the food sounds and that dessert looks amazing.

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Marcia August 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sounding bourgeois at all. If you’re traveling that far, you deserve to allow yourself a little comfort. You’ve earned it! (Love flying business or first class to get the extra pampering, nice China, flatware and white napkins – so civilized!)

I’m surprised AC didn’t serve a Canadian Chardonnay since they have pretty good ones but the rest of your meal looks and sounds good.

Thanks for linking up this week, Suzanne!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 8, 2014 at 9:50 pm

When we fly business class it’s because I found a “reasonable” business class fare and it’s a work trip for my husband so we’re only paying for one ticket. I’ve never managed to parlay points or FF miles into an upgrade, but our son did and flew first class from Beijing to Chicago.

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Mike August 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I always get the biggest kick out of the travel posts about their flights, getting upgrades, the food, movies, service, etc. This was great, Suzanne! re: fish guts LOL 🙂

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Jackie Smith August 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

We used frequent flier miles last year and flew KLM from Vancouver BC to Amsterdam – it was an incredible experience to see how the other ‘third’ lives. The food was simply amazing. You’ve brought back good memories.

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Doreen Pendgracs July 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Hi Suzanne: Yes, flying biz class, first class or any upgrade sure does make longhaul flights a dream, doesn’t it? I love it when you actually get a menu with choices for entrees and wine. For me, I think my 2 best flights have been upgrades on Etihad to the UAE and on Iberia to Spain. Both had impeccable food, wine, service,and comfort.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 4, 2014 at 12:24 am

In October, we have a 17 and a half hour flight from JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa in economy. I try not to think about it.

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