BUSI­NESS RE­ALLY IS PLEA­SURE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - HOW I TRAVEL - CE­LESTE MITCHELL

Ihave a con­fes­sion: I’m ter­ri­fied of be­com­ing a busi­ness-class wanker. I’ve been to the front of the (seat) class and I’m not sure if I can ever go back. As a travel writer I fly a lot and I re­alise what a priv­i­lege it is. More times than not I’m at the back of the plane but, on the rare oc­ca­sion a busi­ness-class seat is wait­ing for me, it’s like scor­ing a Christ­mas bonus.

Af­ter fly­ing home from Lon­don in Emi­rates busi­ness class at the start of last year (yay, points!) – where I gained an in­sight into the diva be­hav­iour of some priv­i­leged pas­sen­gers – I flew back two months later in econ­omy with my mum. Be­fore we’d even left the ground, re­al­ity hit like a posthol­i­day come­down.

Where were the warm tow­els? Where do I put my bits and bobs? Who the heck is this per­son sit­ting right next to me as if per­sonal space is a for­eign con­cept?

For­tu­nately, it’s part of my re­mit as a travel writer to delve into the HIGH-FLYER Keep­ing your feet on the ground can be chal­leng­ing af­ter the bonus of fly­ing busi­ness class. trenches of seat classes and ser­vice com­par­isons, and I re­cently ac­cepted the chal­lenge of fly­ing busi­ness on Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ A350-900 from Bris­bane to Stock­holm. (Don’t hate the player, hate the game.)

The flight was six legs in to­tal so there was plenty of time to soak it up but what scared me was how quickly I be­came ac­cus­tomed to life at the pointy end. That’s the dan­ger of busi­ness class. Once you know what it’s like, you can’t “un-know”.

Among the perks of the jour­ney were free Wi-Fi for busi­ness-class pas­sen­gers and the op­por­tu­nity to eat “off the menu” by pre-or­der­ing from Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ Book the Cook ser­vice – a spe­cial menu cre­ated by an in­ter­na­tional culi­nary panel of celebrity and Miche­lin-starred chefs. Lobster ther­mi­dor, any­one?

But it didn’t take long to start to feel the nig­gle of first world prob­lems.

First the FOMO that came with eat­ing my braised short rib – pre­ordered since the dish was de­signed by In­ter­na­tional Culi­nary Panel chef Al­fred Por­tale – but kind of want­ing Matt Mo­ran’s seared beef fil­let in red wine sauce off the in-flight menu.

Learn­ing? More than two meal op­tions is dan­ger­ous for in­de­ci­sive trav­ellers.

Then the com­pli­men­tary Wi-Fi. One re­fresh of In­sta­gram was all it took to eat up 30MB data, which left me check­ing and recheck­ing in case it would mag­i­cally top up again.

Learn­ing? Not hav­ing data is bet­ter than get­ting a taste then los­ing it.

Seated in 19K on the sec­ond leg of my jour­ney from Sin­ga­pore to Stock­holm (via Moscow), I was amazed at the ex­tra leg room the bulk­head af­forded and in­cor­rectly as­sumed I was on a dif­fer­ent air­craft. Re­al­ity hit on the re­turn leg when I re­alised the row in front of me had the lux­u­ri­ous full-width leg room and I was back to one of the seats with a “foot cubby” that means you have to lie on an an­gle. What can I say, when you’ve been to the top and are knocked back a notch, per­spec­tive can be warped.

Learn­ing? Even in busi­ness class, seat se­lec­tion mat­ters. (How­ever, the width is glo­ri­ous no mat­ter where you sit – Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ Air­bus A350 busi­ness-class seat mea­sures 28 inches wide, or about 71cm, one of the widest on the mar­ket.)

I know what you’re think­ing; You give a girl a set of slip­pers and next minute she’s de­mand­ing Dom Perignon. But in re­al­ity there is no bad in busi­ness class. Only the dan­ger of los­ing touch with re­al­ity.

THE WRITER TRAV­ELLED AS A GUEST OF SIN­GA­PORE AIR­LINES

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