Friday, July 31, 2009

First Class Travel

When I booked my latest flight to America a few days ago, I used up some of my airmiles to lower the price and this was the first time in 20 years that I did that.

I was a late starter with airmiles and I've never accumulated enough for a free flight as I switch airlines just about every time to get the best price. I've flown with US Airways, American, Continental, Delta, Virgin, Air Lingus and even BMI and if Jet2 ever add flights from Leeds to Florida, I'll probably go with them ! Definitely not Ryanair though. I have my standards.

But on their booking web site, Virgin had a box to tick if you wanted to use 2,000 airmiles to lower the price, so I decided to take that option as I'm sure I'll never accumulate the 50,000 needed for a free flight.

I did once get a free flight to America. I was part of the great British Hoover fiasco in the mid 90's when Hoover offered free tickets to the US for anyone spending over £100 on any of their products. As flights cost a lot more than that, the offer was happily taken up by many thousands and almost bankrupted Hoover. Although the company tried to worm out of paying up, I got my tickets and was off. Bless you, Hoover.

I've only ever been bumped up to 1st class once and that was back in 2003 when I flew to Philadelphia with US Airways and as usual I asked if there was any chance of an upgrade and amazingly, it worked.

These are all unedited photos from back then and first up is me all on my own as there were so few people in this Envoy class section that the seat beside me and those behind and in front were empty too.

The trouble was, I'm an Economy class kinda guy and when it comes to plane food, I prefer plain food ! I didn't fancy any of the Envoy food on offer but picked at as much of it as I could. I did like the dessert though. Look, proper plates and a napkin even if the cutlery was still plastic.

A few others had been upgraded as well and without being nasty, I think you can tell these ladies across from me weren't typical Envoy class passengers either. Maiow !!

Check out that leg room !!

As we approached the East coast of the US, I took this photo out the window.


And finally as we came in to land at Pittsburgh, this was the view of their football stadium......I assume. Maybe it's a WalMart.

Sometimes the views coming in to land can be amazing but these days I prefer an aisle seat to a window seat as I need to get up a lot and walk about. I've picked an aisle seat again this time so probably won't see much at landing time but then it's only Orlando.

The space shuttle has just landed safe and sound about 45 miles from Orlando at the Kennedy Space Centre and an hour ago they were in orbit. As it'll take me over 9 hours just to fly there from England, I can't wait to swap from Virgin Atlantic to Virgin Galactic.

When that happens, I'll definitely be asking for an upgrade AND I'll be taking a window seat.


Daphne said...

I've never been offered an upgrade - - this could be either because I've hardly ever flown anywhere (seven return flights in my life so far but I'm planning on increasing this). Or it could be because they take one look at me and consider offering me a downgrade to an outside seat.

Anonymous said...

Gonna have to try that upgrade trick on my next travel experience:)

Jennyta said...

Yoiur eagerness to be off again to foreign parts shines through this post, Ian. (I hate plastic cutlery!)

rhymeswithplague said...

One year when I had done a lot of business travel -- 1984, I think it was -- the wife and I had a week's vacation (with airfare, hotel, and rented car paid) in Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia, thanks to Delta's frequent-flyer miles. It's the only time I ever cashed miles in, and the trip was one of our favorites.

jay said...

I was pretty sure we'd been bumped once to Premium Economy with Virgin, but OH says not. He would know. He handles all the tickets and stuff. But we choose to travel that way anyway, since neither of us are stick thin and he's had a DVT. It's a different world, that's for sure.

I'm with you on the food, though. I like to know what I'm eating, and if I wanted flowers on my food, I'd ask for 'em!

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