Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flying around the World in Business Class... for free! :)

A quick review of Premium Cabins (what else would a Premium Backpacker fly?) :) on Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and Royal Jordanian, with some comments on Intra Europe Business Class...

Over the last year I’ve been fortunate enough to sample a wide range of long haul business class products within the OneWorld alliance.

I have tried AA 762, 777 and 763 products. The 762 does mostly transcon flights. It is a 3 class plane with some 10 seats in First, 30 in business and in coach. I usually fly transcon in the Business Cabin, AA gives me complementary upgrades from coach so it's nice to have a nice leather seat and booze for the price of an economy ticket. Internationally they are criticized for not being 180 flat beds. Overall the seats are comfortable with a smallish screen, AA in my opinion is like MacNCheese, and it’s a comfort food/airline. 
Desert Time SFO-JFK AA First Class
Dinner on my way to Rio DFW-GRU-GIG AA Business Class
Heading up to Miami, AA 763 Business Class

They serve warm nuts with their drinks, the FAs might be flying since the 1960s but when you get a good crew they are great and they have some decent ice cream for dessert, having recently replaced the premade ice sludge with Ben N Jerry’s. On the 75L, 763 and first class on the 762 and 777, they serve made to order Ice Cream sundaes. Yeah, it seems like a small thing, something worth less than 5 dollars, but the homely 
(look up in air word) feel is great.

I also had a chance to try Royal Jordanian on their airbus 310, what can I say, a total disappointment, the cabin was full with RJ employees,  according to a Capitan sitting next to me, a windshield had cracked and they were sent to Hong Kong to repair it, talk about bad things to say... So anyway we takeoff and dinner is served, a forgettable meal with a poor booze selection,  after that individual PEDs Personal Entertainment Devices were handed out, similar to those on transcon AA flights. Not something you would expect on a 10 hour flight, oh well the real surprise came when it was time for breakfast. Everything was served at once and if that wasn't bad enough, they didn't come around serving tea, coffee until they were picking up the service. I'm so glad I only used miles and didn’t pay out of pocket for this inferior service!

Old RJ Seats, unimpressive service, not good on a 9 hour flight

After that horrible flight, I was glad to be in Jordan, although that will be another story!

LAN is by far my second favorite business class and comes close to Cathay at times. From the friendly Latin staff, to the decent champagne and filling meals, Cathay went above and beyond my expectations. Breakfast is made to order off a menu with over 40 options including over 5 bread options. But the kicker is the over 15 inch monitor in each seat with a pretty decent IFE. They have a real nice lounge in Santiago and overall the best product I've seen so far to Deep South America from the NYC area.
Copyright : http://www.panoramio.com/photo/22274575

Malev and Finnair intra-Europe, just like British basically call regular economy seats with perhaps the middle seat blocked "business class" for all the jokes I make about American Domestic First, at least it's a bigger seat and with a clear distinction.  I sent my mom last year on a super trip with flights in British 747 First class (how's that for a birthday gift!) And also Finnair business, she wasn't really impressed with the Finnair product.
Intra-Europe Breakfast, economy seat with Booze..

British Airways recently introduced its new NGBC product with lay flat seats. What can I say, I really didn't feel them as anything really special, my opinion might have been "slightly" influenced by the full bottle of champagne that I had on my connecting flight from Helsinki and the Galleries First lounge at Terminal 5. The cabin crew on BA was ok and besides regular champagne they offer a few drinks, which spice up the regular champagne experience. Of course, I wouldn't be caught dead drinking that on the ground, but considering what you can get in the air. Food was decent with several options including the pre-landing snacks.
The British Airways Business Class Seat... Copyright Google Images

No, this is not a club, just the Champagne Bar at the British Airways lounge in London...

Now the top of the top so far has been Cathay Pacific, what can I say; some people hate the new business class seats, calling them coffin seats. I personally feel that they are great seats; they use a so called herringbone design, so that every seat is both a window and aisle seats. Each seat has a nice large screen and turns into a nice flat bed. Cathay Flight attendants usually go beyond the call of duty, making sure that everything is OK. Funny story and slightly embarrassing one, I went to the bathroom and then pressed what I thought was the flush button, oops... It was the FA call button, within seconds they knock on the door, and I'm slightly apologetic saying oops, pressed the wrong one ha-ha
Nice Huge Screens!

Coffin Seats on Cathay

Also they are nice and young FAs... If I ever have a chance to join the mile high club with a FA, they would be my first choice followed by a LAN-Tina ;)!


  1. how is it that you fly business class for free? are you a frequent flyer junkie doing mileage runs and churning credit cards?

  2. did you get a good look at the bulkhead in the middle section on the aa business class? more leg room or do the cabin layouts just make it look that way?