Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Spoiled Forever

I forgot to mention a couple of things about my trip to the US (blame it on old age). I'd bought a ticket for Deluxe Class this time, since Uncle Sam was kind enough to return $700 of the US income tax I'd paid during my two months of work in 2005. I figured I'd treat myself a little bit for that long, long flight. I got more than I expected. When I arrived at the gate to check in, the young man checking passports and boarding passes gave me a chagrined look and said, "Oh, Deluxe Class is overbooked." This sent my heart into a rapid pitterpat, since I HAD to fly out on the 28th because my visa expired. Then he sorrowfully said, "I'm sorry, we have to upgrade you to Business Class." Sorry? What's to be sorry about? An upgrade is never cause for sorry.

Don't know if any of you have ever flown Business Class on a trans-Atlantic flight, but boy howdy, I recommend it. The seat was huge with tons of leg room and a nice footrest. You could actually recline in the seat, not just tilt your head back a couple of inches. Of course, it's not the full recline you get with First Class, but it worked. The pillow was of a usable size, not the postage-stamp sized ones Economy passes out. The blanket was not a rough, scratchy fabric, but was a very nice comforter, smooth cotton covering.

In Economy, you wait for the food cart to come around, and the flight attendant tells you what your two choices are. In Business Class, you're given a lovely menu with the choices listed, along with an extensive list of all the expensive alcohol you'll be allowed to choose from. In Business Class, you get an appetizer before your meal and Godiva chocolates with your coffee. The flight attendant comes by and takes your order. She returns shortly with a linen tablecloth for your little fold-out tray. When the food tray arrives, it's loaded with real crystal wine glasses, a linen napkin, and beautiful china plates. The appetizer looks as if a chef in a five-star restaurant arranged it on the plate (remember, presentation is everything), and the cutlery is also quite nice.

I had chosen the spare ribs for my main dish, and honestly the details of the meal have mostly faded now (I was just a little bit groggy from the Dramamine I'd taken, give me a break), but I recall it was all quite tasty and that there were fresh vegetables on the side. The drinks cart came by, and I went with the nice champagne that was offered, and yes, I got refills. Knowing that dehydrating alcohol is a bad choice on a long flight, I did not drink an entire bottle. Yay me.

The little free gifty was also very nice, a charming and good-sized travel pouch loaded with some smelly stuff from L'Occitane en Provence (http://www.loccitane.com/), famous here in Taiwan (and other parts of the world) for producing over-priced smelly stuff. Since I hate that stuff, I passed it along to Brandi, who was quite pleased to have it. Also included in the pouch were a lovely eye mask (which I'll be using at home), a tube of Colgate that will last for at least 10 brushings, a decent toothbrush, and a nice folding hairbrush/comb.

The breakfast service right before landing was also fabulous and far too much food. I went with the typical Taiwanese breakfast of 油條 and 荳漿 (deep-fried twisted dough sticks - think doughnut without sugar - and soy milk), which also came with an egg pancake stuffed with tuna and another fried pancake wrapped around the 油條. This was entirely too much fried food for one meal. I ate one 油條, dipped in the 荳漿 of course, and the egg pancake and the fresh fruit. That was enough, especially since I knew there would be more food with Brandi in just a couple of hours!

Sad to say, my dream of getting upgraded on the flight home did not come true. I discovered that Deluxe Class is basically Economy with seats a little bigger and more leg room. Pillow and blankey were eh, food was eh, no champagne, no Godiva chocolate. Big deal, we got glass dishes instead of plastic, but the food was still nothing more than a frozen meal covered with tinfoil, all mixed together in one dish. The croissant with breakfast was a brittle, unchewable blob of bread. I guess I could have had a lot of ordinary alcohol, since the nice Malaysian gentleman next to me was getting beer frequently, but again, I know better than to drink too much on a flight.

All in all, I'd say that choosing Deluxe for any flight over five hours long is probably worth the extra money, just for the comfort. So, that's probably what I'll select for my next trip back to the US, praying all the while for the flight to be overbooked and getting a taste of Business Class once again. I just don't think I can make myself pay the price for Business Class, which is about $800 more than Deluxe (and Deluxe is only a couple hundred more than Economy). However, I'll keep my eyes open for any specials!

By the way, if anyone wants to visit Taiwan in July, EVA currently has a special price of only $753US (pre-tax) from San Francisco to Taipei :)

1 comment:

aetherwellen said...

Business class sounds delightful! Glad you got an upgrade. :)