(Note from Jan: my friend Andre is traveling and sends out these updates about his experience. He gave me permission to post these because they are just good reading. I have not edited them just copied the content verbatim.)
Champagne and Socks
Flying business class on a non-American airline can be summed up in a couple of ways: socks, champagne and a Barcalounger that can be adjusted 16 different ways, excluding the massage feature that was kind of creepy. The seats are a lot more roomy, with 12 seats taking up as much space as 32 seats in economy would. They’re sort of half egg shaped with a remote control on one of the arm rests that control a private Video on Demand screen as well as the space shuttle chair. The chair can go into almost full recline, theoretically allowing sleep if it were not for the crying baby nearby.
I confess to having trouble with the remote for the first part of the flight, having no six year old nearby to explain it to me, but once I got the hang of it, I used it like a pro. As soon as we were seated, the champagne came out in plastic cups and didn’t seem to stop for the entire nine hour flight. After two, the novelty completely went away, and I stayed with tomato juice. About two-thirds of the way through, I discovered the thank-you-for-paying-way-too-much-for-this-flight package. Towards the back of the armrest was a little travel package that contained a good toothbrush, a toothpaste tube that was small enough to hold only one serving and socks! I suppose the socks are for when you sleep in your fully reclined chair, but I’m saving them for the novelty.
I’m in the airport lounge now. An additional perk is that there are specific lounges depending on how much you’ve overpaid. There’s the Senator Lounge, which has amenities I can only dream of, but the Lufthansa Business Lounge has a mini buffet, fancy coffee machine, snacks galore, but most important: showers! Not only that, but due to my ignorance, I jumped ahead of a bunch of Indian business men that the attendant didn’t think that much of. She gave me a knowing look and scooted me in when no one was looking. This was one of the hidden perks of looking and sounding German. There’s still a healthy dislike of foreigners that kept me from smelling bad for long.
I arrive in Mumbai (Bombay) at 1 am and am hoping that there will be a driver waiting for me at the airport. I’ve been told that arrangements have been made, but I also heard that Mumbai is a strong competitor for the worst airport in the world. I will keep you posted.
On the flight to Mumbai
In economy class, the young children get a little toy of some kind to play with to help keep them passive. In Business Class, they get an entire lunchbox of various activities that would keep adults, as well as children, busy for hours.
It’s an older plane, so instead of being space shuttle high tech, it’s merely luxurious. Curious how quickly we adapt and make it the norm. Much of the Business class falls into two categories: Indian nationals and balding nerdy white guys in their 30’s and 40’s. I finally fit in!