I have been fortunate enough to fly in business class on various occasions. It is not, however, a confirmed event. I get in, almost by chance. Sometimes, I work hard to stack the deck in my favor, sometimes not. My husband thinks I spend far too much time thinking and talking about it. But I like turning left!
Air Canada has a great program for upgrades. Although, we are entering year 2 of “service fees”. That means a cash component on top of the other requirements. But the difference in cost, to just buying a seat up front, is considerable.
The program is like most others out there. A loyalty based system which rewards you at intervals the more you fly. Sometimes the rewards are things like lounge passes, or lounge access. Sometimes the rewards are e-upgrades. Those are the keys to the castle of business class.
That is where I found myself on a recent flight from Toronto to Munich. But the process was very strange this time. Usually when the flight closes, the “J” class empty slots are filled with people on “the list”. To be high on the list you need premium status and you need to make the electronic request at the stroke of the earliest time you are allowed to. (For me, not the highest status and for this flight, did not request as soon as I could have).
When I approached the counter, the agent said “sorry”, not tonight. After boarding, I settled into my bulk head seat to be slightly harassed by a young mother with a very tiny infant who had the rest of her family sitting 10 rows back. She was determined to have me switch with one of her family or be sure to make my flight as unpleasant as possible, (that was what she said to me – “I’m going to be bothering you the whole flight”). I was texting with my husband about her, when luck came my way. A flight attendant gave me a boarding pass for 7 rows up in my very own pod. So we were both lucky.
I’ve taken a bunch of photos and I’m going to explain what it is like to spend some time in the pods.
First is a choice of juice, water or champagne while you look over the dinner menu. On this flight, there was also a card to fill out for your breakfast choices. As luck would have it, they handed out shiny Air Canada pens to complete the task. And even though I was the last one seated in the front, I got my first choice for dinner, salmon.
The personal TV’s are quite large and need to be deployed for the safety announcements. All this while, I was snugly wrapped in my cotton comforter style blanket. Warm and cozy, ready for the journey ahead. Socks from my supply kit, already on.
Some people are sitting up front to take full advantage of sleeping. As we took off, it was 3am at our destination. However, at my origin of Vancouver, it was just dinner time. So my routine is to eat the first meal, while watching a movie. Then get some sleep. Wake about an hour and a half out and eat breakfast. Then I’m on the new time zone. I’m not super sharp, but it works.
This flight was fairly smooth. Can be rather bumpy going up over the top of the world from Vancouver. I had a nice sleep in my little cocoon. Might be my last time in these pod style seats. Mainly because Air Canada is over hauling the fleet and the new business class seats are a different style of lay flat design. And I also don’t usually decide that the service fee on my own account is worth it. Most times I log miles in the back.
But when I can treat myself to a much nicer seat, I feel a huge wave of gratitude. Not only do I have the privilege of traveling for my work, meeting people from all over the world, I can sometimes arrive feeling a little lighter.