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Mid 1980s – 1986 or 1987, returning from a press trip testing Pirelli motorcycle tyres at Misano.
Alitalia back to LHR, and they’d overbooked economy, so two of us hacks got bumped up. All I remember now was the realisation that they served free champagne, and so we necked a lot of it.
First long-haul was from Buenos Aires back to LHR with Argentinian Airlines, early 2000s: asked what it would cost to pay the extra, and got upgraded anyway. Seats were recliners, I recall, and no real IFE, but the food was truly excellent and ditto the service. Very attentive steward who – I think – fancied me. He gave me a bottle of decent white wine to carry off the plane.
I remember buying an upgrade from Sao Paulo back to LHR on BA after an exhausting trip to Latin America. $500 it was, and it was worth every penny, especially for the flat beds. That sot of sealed it, and I decided I really wasn’t going to fly economy long-haul ever again.