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Taking care of business (class)

Tuesday 21 May 2013
All aboard!
I've been on countless flights where, in the middle of the night, over the middle of the ocean, I've been close to tears. Not because I'm scared of flying, but because I have wanted, more than anything, to be able to lay down. I can't sleep in a stupid upright chair, even with the tiny incline that does nothing but annoy the person behind you.

Which is why, among other reasons, I've always dreamt of flying in business class.

My first ever flight was to  New York, when I was 16. I was travelling with my mum, and my friend Lins. As it was my first time, I wasn't really sure what to expect. So when we got on the plane, I was amazed at how much space we all had.

"This is incredible! Look!"

"Yeah, this is business class. Keep walking."

"Oh. Well hey, this isn't so bad! Still plenty of room."

"This is premium economy. Keep walking."

"Oh. This is us."


Now, I wasn't complaining. That flight was great. My friend got 5 portions of chocolate orange cheesecake (once my mum gave her hers, everyone around us donated theirs). And I got to New York. But the sight of those business class seats has haunted me for years.

Which is why I was giddy with delight to be flying business class with Etihad last week, on a trip to the Seychelles. And it was everything I dreamt it would be.

It began in the lounge at Dublin airport. No shitty Starbucks and a hard chair for me, no sir. I was straight in,did some work in the business centre, and then sit back on the plush seats with a magazine. I even had a pre-dinner dinner (one of my favourite meals) of rare medallions of beef. Somehow, I drew the strength to resist champagne until the last minute, knowing I would want a glass or two on the plane, and not wanting to end up with a mile high hangover.

When I boarded the plane, I tried hard to keep my cool. I'm afraid I lost it when they gave me a hot flannel. Man, I love flannels. Especially when served with a side of champagne, with the promise of more to come after take off.  But the best thing abut the business class seats is that they're self contained, so no one can see that you're watching Les Miserables for the third time, or taking endless pictures on your phone. 

Soon after take off, my feet were up, the second (or maybe third) glass of champagne was on the go, and I was watching Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe be all ridey from underneath my fleecy blanket. I may have also thrown the seat massager on for a little while.

It's a little wrong how happy this made me.

Then it was time for dinner number 2. It felt a little weird tucking into it while Anne Hathaway was whining on  about consumption or something, but I went with it. 

"Cheer up love", I said. "It might never happen."
After my ice cream (ice cream!) I put the French revolution on hold, and reclined into my BED. It was the business. My seat hooshed forward to meet my foot rest, and I could lie out completely flat. It was so impossibly comfortable that I could have shed another tear. From then on, it was smooth sailing to Abu Dhabi, where the next plane was waiting to take us on to the Seychelles.

At one point in the night, I awoke and looked at my watch. Upon realising I only had another hour's sleep before we landed, I sighed, wishing that the flight was just a few hours longer, so I could get a proper night's rest. I can safely say that has never, ever happened on any other plane.

My only worry is that this has completely ruined me for any further flights. When we disembarked, all I could think was "How the fuck am I ever going to fly Ryanair again?"

Etihad fly from Dublin to Abu Dhabi and onwards 10 times a week.

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