Over Spring Break my wife and I had the opportunity to visit a small bit of Cairo, Egypt as well as spend a wonderful week in South Africa. In order to make sure that our time spent was of the highest quality I took it upon myself to make sure we had business-class seats on our flights so we could arrive rested and make the most of our time spent. Over the next few posts I will detail some of the time we spent on these flights, in lounges, and just in general in transit from April 7 – 18.
At the time I had just received bonuses from meeting minimum spending requirements for the American Expression Business Gold card, earning us around 80,000 Membership Rewards points. Additionally, we had something like 50,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points in our account, so I transferred them all to Aeroplan, knowing that I would only need 75,000 points each for a one-way business class flight from the US to South Africa.
I was able to find the following flights which – while not direct – still gave us a good view of some business class products and allowed us a nine hour layover to explore Cairo (something we have been meaning to do for some time).
Our first two flights were on Austrian Airlines, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, and an airline I had never flown before. I had done research to know that not only was their business class fully lie-flat and a comfortable product, but their dining service is one of the best in the world. We were not disappointed.
After going through security and finding our gate, we were greeted with signs for priority boarding and found our seats on the plane. They were nicely prepared with comfortable blankets, pillows, amenity kits, and headphones. There was plenty of space in the seat for my feat under the seat in front of me and the in-flight entertainment system was fully operational. Finally, there were plenty of places to plug in and charge my electronics.
Before we pushed back from the gate we were asked what food we wanted from the menu which, while simple, was robust in its taste. The chef came around himself (in his wonderful hat and clothing) to ask us what our choices were. One of the interesting choices Austrian Airlines has made is to bring around some of the menu choices on trays for you to simply choose from instead of bringing each dish out individually. It was an interesting way of ordering our food – it reminded me of dessert service years ago at the Philadelphia restaurant Le Bec Fin. Even after a brief sleep on the lie-flat bed, the breakfast service was quite tasty (although not as elaborate).
The last two comments I will make about this flight were that the bed was quite comfortable and completely lie-flat. There was a small pad they put down and the blanket was warm enough for us to sleep. There was definitely enough space for my arms. My feet were a little packed together – but I just thought of it as sleeping in a mummy-style sleeping bag and I was fine. I got about 4-5 hours of sleep and was pleasantly woken up for breakfast (they asked in advance). I checked my IFE screen before landing to see where our next flight was departing from (a very nice service, if I do say so myself).