Our new flights have us leaving about 20 hours later than originally planned. We have to be at the airport at very early o'clock, travel on Alaskan Airlines to Ontario, California where we switch to AA for Dallas. Once in Dallas we catch the same flight to Buenos Aires, 24 hours later.
The big difference is that I'll be flying business class. The nice lady on the phone apparently pulled some strings. Sadly Sean won't be. There's no justice for Sean. It won't be the first time.
On the way to Dallas the schedule is tight, we stress that our checked luggage (carrying our critical cold weather gear) will not survive the two plane switches and one airline switch. There's no way to know until we get to Buenos Aires. We shuffle around Dallas concerned and thinking, "we're not even close to halfway yet".
I'm as asshole so when they make the early call for Business Class I board. I'm comfortable settled in my palatial chair long before Sean comes on. When he passes I'm both smug and guilty.
There's no way around it: Business class on an international flight is awesome. I settle in I with my choice of orange juice or champagne and a menu to start my thinking about dinner and breakfast. My neighbor and I do not speak but he manages to introduce me to my new favorite wine: Argentine Malbec. His method for requesting more? Tapping a single finger on his glass. Me? I'm all "please" and "thank you" all over the place, securing my already obvious newbie status.
Dinner? Great. More wine? Mmm, yes please.
Dinner had multiple courses:
- warm nuts or tomatoes and fresh mozarella
- smoked salmon and roasted prawns on arugula
- a choice of several entrees (I had the halibut)
- a choice of desert: fruit and cheese, hot fudge sundae, fruit and lemon sorbet (I got the Sorbet for myself and took the fruit and cheese back to cramped Sean)
There was after dinner coffee and port if you wanted it. And of course more wine.
It was an excellent meal. I don't know how they do that on a plane.
After dinner most people settled in to watch their DVD players, provided to each passenger with a portfolio of many DVDs. I'm pretty sure many of the people on the plane were in the same situation as me: in Business class as newbies. All the newbies were surprised by how great everything was while the old hands just acted like it was an everyday thing.
I eventually drift off to a pleasant sleep with my giant comfy blanket.
In the morning, after a polite moment to get my bearings, I am supplied with breakfast.
Then we hit the weather. The descent into Buenos Aires is harrowing. The roughness goes on for far too long for some. Later reports from Sean tell of vomiting back with the common people. We experienced business class travellers are too fat and self satisfied for such things. We sit smugly while one of the stewards looks very concerned.
We arrive in Buenos Aires on the morning of December 17th, 2006.