12 September 2018
This trip (Journey to the Arctic) was to celebrate my mother Gill’s 80th birthday and she very generously shouted us both flying business class. This was my first experience travelling business class and it may have ruined travel as I know it for me.
In business class they address you by name. They provide almost any drink you could wish and an amazing culinary service. You have space and privacy, comfortable headset, and large screen tv. But for me the single biggest benefit of flying business class is being able lie down flat and have a proper night’s sleep. The joy of waking up after 8 hours’ sleep and feeling amazingly refreshed and then realising that you are actually on a plane is unbelievable.
Flying business class, the benefits start form the time you get to the airport and go into the non-existent queue at check-in. We could have had the benefit of extra luggage but we had already gone through the rigours of getting our checked in bags below 15kg and carry-on bags below 5kg so our offerings were comparatively sparse. Then we were invited to go in the expresss lane as we went through passport control and screening – an unusually quick process.
We had had a fairly early start to ensure we had enough time to get to the airport during morning rush hour so brunch in the airport lounge was sounding very appealing. This aspect is not as novel for me being a Koru Club member through work but having somewhere nice where you can sit and have a leisurely breakfast with all amenities easily available is certainly always appreciated.
For the first time ever I got to go through the first class and business class line at the gate lounge and turn left when I got to the plane. In this instance we went a very different route and ended up at the ‘front door’ going through first class to get to our seats: 22D and 22F.
Champagne (the proper stuff) in a real glass before we had even taken off! Once in the air the pampering really started with a multi course meal that lasted at least a couple of hours – with whatever drinks you desired. I watched a couple of movies and then the unaccustomed (and probably somewhat unadvised) lunchtime drinking caught up with me. An afternoon nap (or whatever time it actually was) was definitely in order.
A very helpful stewardess showed me how to transform my seat into a bed with a pillow and quilt at the simple pull of a lever. Snuggled down, I did actually managed to have a nap for a while until being woken for our evening ‘snack’ of several more courses and drinks if you wished – I had a Tropical Fizz mocktail.
Before long we were landing in Singapore and a longer wait than I had realised. We have 5 hours to fill in and both of us are lacking the energy to do anything much. We half-heartedly set off walking (very slowly) and think that perhaps going to the Butterfly Garden would be nice. It would be nice except that it is now nearly dark and most self-respecting butterflies are sleeping – as we wish we were. So it is very hot in the gardens and with nothing much to look at.
We are flying Air New Zealand but on a Singapore Airlines operated flight so we are able to go to the Singapore Airlines lounge which is lovely but we really didn’t appreciate it. We are feeling so tired that we are hardly able to think (our body clocks telling us that we are supposed to be in bed) and the time really dragged.
Eventually we board our next flight to Copenhagen with only a little bit of excitement along the way: we had to go through screening again before we entered the gate lounge. I had a light merino layer under my shirt and for some reason they decided that I needed to take my second layer off. In my tired and grumpy state they got an indignant ‘but it’s my shirt!’ response – which they ignored. The chap behind me then said loudly “I feel so much safer now that you’ve been made to take that off” – and giggles all round.
On the plane, the lovely stewardesses were somewhat surprised that we only wanted water rather than bubbles on take off. Then they were even more surprised when I opted for a couple of rambutans and a slice of cheese instead of the full evening meal that was on offer. I set up my bed, put on the do not disturb sign, and with the aid of a sleeping tablet was rapidly asleep.
I got a full 8 hours blissful sleep and woke feeling greatly refreshed and somewhat amazed to find that I was in a plane. The stewardess made special efforts to ensure that I was have breakfast and not starving. No chance of starving with a fruit platter and croissants, muesli and yoghurt, and then a choice of hot dishes – I had waffles with marscapone and more fruit, followed by tea and coffee.
Please join me over the next several posts as I take you on our Journey to the Arctic (and more).
Arctic Express: Northern Lights
Day 1: Copenhagen to Reykjavik
Day 2: Reykjavik to Constable Point, Greenland
Day 3: Scoresby Sund: Frederiksdal & Flyvefjord
Day 4: Scoresby Sund: Nordvestfjord & Ingmikortilaq
Day 5: Scoresby Sund: Eskimobugt & Immikkeerikajik
Day 6: Scoresby Sund: Danmark Island & Vikingsbugt
Day 7: Scoresby Sund: Cap Hope & Ittoqqortoormiit
Day 8: Scoresby Sund: Steward Island & Constable Point
Day 9: Constable Point back to Reykjavik
Day 1: Reykjavik: Blue Lagoon
Day 2: Golden Circle
Day 3: South Coast
Day 4: Jokulsarlon
Day 5: Eastern Fjords & Moorudalur Valley
Day 6: Moorudalur Valley & Lake Myvatn
Day 7: Akureyri & Trollaskagi Peninsular
Day 8: Grabrok Volcano & Snaefellsnes Peninsular
Day 9: Snaefellsness to Reykjavik
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
Note: After people telling me they had booked an Intrepid Tour on my recommendation, I now have affiliate links with the Intrepid Travel group of companies and may receive a commission if you book a tour online within a couple of months after clicking through to these sites. So if you are enjoying my tips and stories and finding them useful in choosing your own travel, please click on these links and help me to bring you more .