Do you remember your first business class flight?Back to Forum
2003, at T4 check in. The agent saw the R code on the return flight so instead of my first trip to NYC being in WTP, I got to go in Club! I think I went to a lounge and I do remember vividly the outbound but really it was all about the return!10 Aug 2016
I started serious business travel in 1989 & the company policy was economy only.
My first flight in business was with SIA from MAN to SIN which was part of a holiday with my wife & paid for with Star Alliance air miles – maybe 1995. We were both thrilled at being seated ‘up front’
My Second was with BMI from MAN to ORD using one of the 4 ‘Gold upgrade vouchers’ issued by BMI – however, I got to check in and was told I was upgraded anyway, without having to use the voucher. Incidentally, BMI used to ‘collect’ business class pax from the lounge and escort them directly to the front of the queue when boarding – a practice I think certain other airlines could benefit from.
The company I work for these days, is good enough to allow my long haul travel in Business so it’s more of an everyday occurence now but, I am still grateful each time I sit in the CW cabin.11 Aug 2016
Fondly Remembered. 2011, BA, LHR to MEX. I had booked reward flights on an BA offer, WT miles for WT+ ticket and used a Amex companion voucher to add my best friend.
Checked in on line and found our self top deck 744. Not bad for 1 person’s worth of WT miles.
I couldn’t believe you get Cheese and Port after dinner. We struggled to walk off the plane. The cabin crew loved us because we were clearly having a lovely time. Before the flight was about to land they were encouraging us to finish the few remaining open bottles of wine as they would go to waste otherwise.
I think that was the last time I was in business with a friend, much more fun with company than on your own off to some city far way.11 Aug 2016
Would have been about 1984, Manila to I think LGW but may have been AMS (alzheimers starting!)on Philippine Airlines, a 747. Myself and a colleague were upgraded from econ, as were a number of pax…what I do recall is that everyone in business was European. It was not a non stop, we had a technical stop as they called it in those days in Bahrain. The one thing that sticks in my mind is the size of the seat, compared to economy it was huge and most comfortable.11 Aug 2016
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.11 Aug 2016
February 2016! MAN-MCO on VS. Me and the other half celebrating our anniversary.
Booked Economy but had cause for complaint for 3rd time on 3rd consecutive flight. Complaint escaleted to Craig Kregger’s office. Got a great reply with promise of “space available” upgrade to Premium. I didnt hold my breath. I’ve worked in travel long enough to know how often comp upgrades happen.
Woke up on the morning of the flight, checked the Virgin app on my phone to check the status of the flight. Checked the seat numbers. Checked the seat numbers again. Checked map on Seatguru. Checked seat numbers again. Jumped out of bed, screamed a little bit. Completely missed breakfast at the hotel for excitement.
Even though we’d checked in online, check-in staff reissued boarding passes. I couldnt let myself believe it until i had the boarding pass in my hand with “UPPER CLASS” blazened down the left hand side. Quick email back to the office to gloat : )
The service was impeccable (but always is on VS). The food was excellent and, lucky for us, it was a LHR configuration of the 747 so we had upper deck seating and the “proper” bar area. We both absolutely loved it! Such a great experience.
After that, it was quickly repeated by LAS-MAN using Flying Club points as a surprise for my mum’s birthday after we’d done US Coast to Coast.
And now we’ve got Qatar to Thailand business class booked for February. I’m honestly never flying economy again!11 Aug 2016
June 1980.Northwest DC10.First week of flying to Minneapolis direct from Gatwick.What I distinctly remember? The smokers in the back row of World Business Class.11 Aug 2016
My first long haul business class was on American Airlines to JFK about 1989 – 767. Big queues at check in and someone called forward in front of us for earlier flight, stopped my partner complaining and we were sweetness and light with check in agent and asked if there was a possibility of upgrade (could do that in those days) yes Sirs if possible could we put you in business class? Erm yes please, not sitting together but still, then went to old Amex Lounge in Queens Building….not sure why not AA lounge.
After boarding asked businessman if he would be kind enough to move which he did and went to sleep for whole flight, enjoyed the warm nuts, champers, very good meal and the lovely sheepskin seats. Small video things given out and really didn’t want to get off.
During trip blagged into Bill Clinton election party and sent fax to American to thank them, just about to board flight from Boston and last hope asked if there was possibility of upgrade in light of fax, friendly agent just tapped away ripped up econ boarding passes and said have a nice flight, flight half empty, bless him.
Was very loyal to AA for years after and enjoyed LHR/LAX/JFK/RDU.
Still impressed with Turkish long haul and short in Business, EVA to. But its never the same as first time is it?12 Aug 2016
Very similar to SGJNI1961 had booked WTP to NYC and returning on Concorde July 2004. Checked in at T4 or rather tried to use the machine but wouldn’t let me, went to desk to be asked “did you know you have been upgraded sir?” First experience of Club World. Didn’t use the lounge though, can’t remember why, had a feeling I wasn’t entitled!12 Aug 2016
My first long haul business class flight was meant to be Pan Am from LHR to JFK in 1991. At check in I was asked if I would like to fly with TWA and eagerly said yes as it would be the chance to try a different airline with Pam Am to follow on the way back.
Recall it was huge reclining armchairs in 6 seats across cabin on a 742. I was 21 at the time and enjoying a few budweisers before lunch when the passenger next to me asked why I was drinking beer instead of the champagne.
That soon changed and I remember reading the description of the wines in the menu and being able to taste the peach notes, elderflower overtones etc – the power of suggestion!
Little recollection of the Pan Am Flight back.13 Aug 2016
My first business class flight was April 1988, JED-LON on BA (can’t remember whether it was a DC-10 or an L-1011 Tristar or whether it was to LHR or LGW). It was a step down for me from First (which I had become used to, courtesy my father, since 1975), so I was not only underwhelmed but ended up missing breakfast.
There were no lounges for non-VIPs at JED north terminal in those days (yes the same terminal is still in use but they have a lounge now) so didn’t get to use one. I distinctly remember boarding was very orderly. F, J and Y had red, brown and green coloured boarding cards and ‘passengers with red and brown coloured cards’ (it used to be politically incorrect to flaunt status in those days) were called for boarding after all the Y passengers were boarded row-wise. We were sent to the plane on a separate bus. I remember feeling the difference from First straight away when F were invited to board using L-1 and we were sent to the second staircase. If I remember correctly it was 5 across and cradle seats with foot rests which were reasonably comfortable. First had already graduated to fully flat seats but the demi-cabins or turn-down service had not been introduced yet.
An amenity kit was provided, it was a round canvas affair (can’t recall the contents I’m afraid). It was a late night departure so the usual lights out after take off routine was adopted with the cabin crew disappearing behind the curtain. I was used to the individual attention of First so distinctly remember missing breakfast prior to landing because I got up late, went to the loo while they were in the middle of a hurried breakfast service (they hadn’t woken me or other sleepers up for it), waited for them to ask me after my return, which they never did! The rest of the flight is a blurred memory, been unsuccessfully trying to recall the IFE, cleanliness of the plane etc.
Looking back, my general impression of the flight confirms my view of today that Club in those days was more akin to PE of today.13 Aug 2016
1981, a single BA ticket Tanzania – London [stopover] – New York in First [hardly any business class in those days]. Tanzania – London, a VC10 with only 2 other passengers in the cabin, cradle seats with lots of legroom and very good food and booze. A real treat and I concluded “this is the life for me”. London – New York, upgraded from F to Concorde for 168 quid, absolutely positively worth it and a great experience.13 Aug 2016
I cannot remember exact date but my first business class trip was around 95, LHR to Milan Linate on Alitalia. The funny thing was I did not even know my boss had booked business class until boarding when they downgraded me to economy! it was another 7 years before I got to fly business again and that was LHR to SNG on BA, which at the time I was blown away how nice it was…oh how naive I was back then!14 Aug 2016
I recall my first flight in a premium cabin was in 1977 when, with no economy seats available I had to book the return section from Koln in First (no business class in those days).
What I can recall is the small cosy lounge where I started on the G&T’s, the comfy seat in the cabin more akin to an armchair (why can’t we have them back on on European flights?), more G&T’s, a decent dinner washed down with some decent wines (I used to drink in those days) and a few cognacs after.
We arrived at LHR, on stand, stairs arrived, me very inebriated, and as I was about to leave I turned, and to this day I don’t know why I said this, I said “I’ve flown all over the world in First and this was my best flight ever, thank you” and with that I missed the stair and down I rolled spraining my ankle and ended up being taken away in an ambulance!14 Aug 2016