Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First time travelling business class

 The first thing I want to post about my trip to Canada is the flight itself. Among all the photos that I uploaded   on Facebook while on the trip, the one that garnered the most "likes" was the one of me enjoying Haagen-Dazs ice-cream at the KLIA Golden Lounge. I suppose the photo did make many of my friends wonder why I was travelling business class. If you have read my previous posts about my trips, you would know I won't splurge on travelling business class.For my holidays, I have always kept my spending within the description of affordable and yet enjoyable. So this was the first (and probably the only) time I traveled by business class. And did the fare burn a hole in my pocket? Well, no. You'll be surprised that I got the tickets at normal fare.

Everyone knows that in order to get cheap tickets, we have to book early. When I first checked the fares of China Eastern Airlines well in advance, the return trip from KL to Vancouver was less than 4K. When I wanted to book early this year, the fare already went up to around 4.5K. Afraid that it will increase even more, I decided to go ahead and book. I wanted to book through their website (you have to go to the Hongkong website) because the fares at Expedia were slightly more expensive. When I tried to enter details for the second passenger, there was a pop-up message that indicated that there was only one ticket left. I tried calling local travel agents to book but was told there were no more seats for China Eastern and it would cost me more than 6K if I book Cathay Pacific! The last resort was to book through Expedia. I was delighted to find out that the booking could go through even though I entered 2 tickets. After finalizing the payment and printing the itinerary I was even more delighted to see that one of the sectors (the KL to Shanghai flight) was upgraded to business class.

I checked and checked to make sure the fare was not upgraded as well. So I gathered that the fare quoted was for economy class and when I booked 2 tickets there weren't enough seats so one of the sectors was upgraded without increase in fare. So all in, the fare was around 4.8K including the MAS ticket from Penang to KL. 
This being our first trip on business class, we didn't know that passengers get to enjoy buffet at the Golden Lounge. So when we arrived at KLIA, we went to look for food and we had our dinner first because it was still too early to check in. Only after checking in, did we find out that business class ticket holders have access to the Lounge. We shouldn't have taken our dinner but it was only a light dinner. But the half filled stomachs didn't deter us from eating more, especially the Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

On board the plane I didn't take any photos because it was already 3am and I just wanted to sleep. The service in the business class area was indeed different. The food served was also different. Table cloth, cloth napkins, porcelain plates and cups, metal cutlery etc compared to the typical cramped airplane meals on trays we were so used to taking.

Even though the business class seats were only for the KL to Shanghai sector, we were surprised to see that our Shanghai to Vancouver boarding passes had "PRIORITY BOARDING" printed on them. So at the Shanghai Airport boarding gate, we were given the privilege of boarding earlier together with business class passengers even though our seats were in the economy class area. 

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