Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Travel in style

One of the very very few advantages of spending half your time on airplanes is that, after a while, the airline gives you a VIP card. I have more Air France miles under my belt than I wish to remember but it has earned me this Platinum card.The card opens all doors and slips me discreetly past all sort of check in lines, most security lines and all boarding lines. It gives you access to comfortable lounges on all airports stocked with fresh fruit, beverages, sandwiches etc comfortable seats, free internet but most importantly, quietness and stillness.But by far the best thing is that most of the time I get upgraded from the cattle department I belong to into the most comfortable dream land normally reserved for the captains of industry, Business class!
For example. On my most recent roundtrip Europe - China I payed the laughable amount of SEK 4905 (448€/605$) return for the 12 hour flight Paris - Shanghai (including the Stockholm - Paris flight) but enjoyed the trappings of a SEK 50.000 (4500€/6050$) ticket!

I can't describe the sweet feeling of getting your boarding pass at check in with your seat number upgraded from horrible 23A (or god forbid 57F or something) to heavenly 8L. The big difference is the seat that folds down to an absolute flat bed where I sleep comfortably. And the difference in comfort is incredible. However hardly worth the premium fare they charge the fortune 100 companies and governments who actually pay for this sort of thing. Whatever, your seat is in a sort of pod which gives you a feeling of privacy.The seat is wide and comfy and you get a real pillow and a blanket instead of the sand paper like sorry excuse of a blanket back in coach. Instead of arriving like a wreck after a 12 hour torture session, I wish for the pilot to take a detour so that I can finish my movie on the perfect big screen in my secluded pod and have another sip of champagne.
Instead of the stale prison food in the little containers on a tray back in cattle you get most delicious cuisine served on crisp white linen. Together with the wide selection of high end wines and champagne you happily slip into sleep and wake up only for the next meal.
A great thing is that your pod is equipped with an electrical socket so that you can plug in your computer and work. Also there is a wide selection of movies, all the latest releases that you can view any time on your private high resolution, rather big screen with high fidelity Sennheiser earphones. Speaking of phones each seat has a phone that you can use for calls anywhere (at 10$ per minute).

There is a sumptuous bar in the "lounge" up front where you can have a drink and chat with the movers and shakers. The bathrooms are roomy and cleaned by the stewardess after each use.
Once of the plane you can have a quick shower in the lounge before your bag arrives as the very first on the belt thanks to the priority tag. If you even bother to check anything in. In business they allow you to carry whatever you manage to haul onboard be yourself!

After the flight I can walk straight of the plane fresh for any meeting or session in the factory while coming of cattle I see stars, feel groggy and can not perform at all. A three day stretch of jet lag is cut short to one.

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