As I’ve mentioned several times now, I traveled to Germany this past week, and ended up flying Delta BusinessElite. As I’m about half way through writing the trip report, one thing has occurred to me, and I feel like it’s worth addressing now: I’ve become jaded.
It’s not my fault, though, so hear me out. First of all, I’m an absolute airplane geek. I’ve loved flying and airplanes for as long as I can remember. I’ll never get tired of the beauty of flight. Years ago Condor (a German low cost carrier) used to fly from Tampa to Frankfurt nonstop, and I remember how excited I would get about flying with them, to the point that I didn’t get a minute of sleep the night before — and that was in coach, usually in a middle seat.
My family was never wealthy enough to afford to pay for premium cabins out of pocket, not that it’s a good use of money anyway. But I slowly got smarter about the miles world, even at a young age. I remember when we finally used our miles for a business class transatlantic trip. I was absolutely over the moon. I couldn’t sleep the night before, and I sure as heck couldn’t sleep for a minute when I finally got on the plane. I was worried I would miss something, as if certain aspects of the service were hidden from those that chose to sleep between meals.
As many of you probably know, miles and points have become a full time obsession of mine. I dedicate most of my life to travel and miles, be it blogging, writing about travel, consulting about travel, reading about travel, or traveling. And thanks to the effort I’ve put into it, I’ve been able to experience some truly top notch airlines and visit some amazing places I could have never otherwise been able to afford. Heck, this ticket to Frankfurt in business class ended up costing me $290 out of pocket, and that includes the taxes and the cost of acquiring the miles. Not bad for business class, right?
I think it’s only natural that the more airlines I fly in first class, the less impressive business class becomes. I mean, after experiencing airlines like ANA, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Singapore, Swiss, Thai, etc., in first class, the bar has been set way too high.
So here’s my point — for the most part, nowadays I consider business class travel to be a form of transportation, and typically little more. If I have a flat bed in business class, fantastic, I’ll sleep most of the way. I’m not all that concerned about the service, because my expectations are quite low. On US airlines in business class, I expect the food to not be a whole lot better than it was in coach 10 years ago, I don’t expect much personal service, and I don’t expect to be addressed by name. Give me a reasonably comfortable seat and something that’s edible, and I’m pleased. But in business class, for the most part, the journey isn’t part of the “experience.”
So as you read my reviews, please understand it’s only natural that I’ve become jaded. I try to be as objective about everything as possible, pointing out the minor positives (like a flight attendant saying “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome”) and the minor negatives (like a meal not being well presented). I’ve experienced the incredible suites on Cathay Pacific, the precision with which the flight attendants on Singapore Airlines serve, being asked how I want my steak cooked on Asiana, the Thai Airways Spa in Bangkok, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and being whizzed through the terminal in Istanbul after and before flying Turkish Airlines.
My advice to readers? If you’ve only flown coach until now, seriously, keep doing it for as long as you can! If you haven’t tried international first class, don’t! You’ll regret it, because you can never go back.