Leaving on a Jet Plane

*If you are following along, yesterday’s post took us all the way to the end of the trip. We’re back to chronological order and … leaving (the US for Argentina) on a jet plane.

Soon after I booked my international flight, the boyfriend had encouraged me to upgrade myself to Business Class. I agreed and got myself on the list but the upgrade was not confirmed until the day before my flight.

The boyfriend’s reasoning was that if I were to have a panic attack, it would be so much nicer to have one in Business Class, than in Coach. I have to agree. So I hope you have a laugh with me as you see the irony of starting a budget travel adventure in Business Class.

Upon arriving at JFK, I made my way to the Business Class check-in. It was so pleasant! The gate agent actually invited me behind the counter to view the seat map and pick another seat since the one I had chosen on the phone not more than 24 hours prior was no longer available.

Nervous, because I did not have access to Seat Guru, I trusted the gate agent, and chose my seat based on her recommendation of the bulk head seat.

Once confirmed, I was directed to the Business Class lounge. I was even told that I could use the Business Class lounge upon arriving in Buenos Aires to shower (in hindsight…lies!).

Nothing says Business Class lounge like comfy chairs, great views and free drinks before a flight. Nothing says backpacker like yoga pants, a 60 liter rucksack on the back and small daypack on the front.

I was seated near four business people headed to Rio. I realized I was sitting there in the international departures lounge because I was heading to Buenos Aires! It was really real!

About three-quarters into my glass of wine, my flight was boarding. It was painless as I left the lounge and headed right for priorty boarding. I didn’t even see the seats in Coach as I took my seat in the front of the plane. Per the gate agent’s suggestion, I was in the bulkhead seat and since Business Class was half empty, I didn’t even have a seat mate.

Pre-departure I was greeted by my friendly flight attendant with a glass of sparkling wine. Soon after take-off I was handed a pair of Bose headphones and a menu, (a menu!), with my choice of drinks, dinner and dessert.

I took the first two hours of the flight to discover what was available to me in Business Class. I had down comforters, an assortment (yes, more than one!) of pillows, television, movies and music.

And buttons!

There was an entire panel of buttons to use to control my seat. The buttons kept me occupied for some time as I played around to determine just the right amount of recline for dinner, entertainment and (of course) sleeping.

Since no one was next to me, I took both toiletry bags…socks, eye masks, tisses, wipes, pens, extra toothbrushes and toothpaste…which came in handy since I quickly realized I forgot my toothbrush. At some point my flight attendant stopped by to check on me and my television situation. It was fine. He told me there were problems in Coach as most of the tv’s were not working. How pissed those people must have been…

But let’s not neglect dinner.

After my table was set with a tablecloth and proper silverware, I chose to start with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. My main course was halibut and lemon risotto followed by another glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a cheese plate for dessert. I could have even had ice cream. I hadn’t been in the front of the plane on an international flight in years, and that’s because my job had paid for it.

According to the in-flight route map, I tried to fall asleep somewhere over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. I woke up somewhere on the border of Northern Bolivia. And then went back to sleep and woke up just an hour outside of Buenos Aires.

No more than five minutes after opening my eyes, my flight attendant gave me a breakfast menu. I chose the bowl of cereal, which was accompanied by a yogurt and croissant but Huevos Rancheros and other hot foods were on the menu.

I also took a look out the window and saw this.

All for 25,000 miles and $350. Well worth the investment. I’m not sure how I will ever be able to go back to Coach.

All those miles I have on various airlines…forget using them for free flights, let’s talk upgrades!

And that panic attack, well, with all the comforts of Business Class, it never happened.

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