Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Flying High on day one!!

January 15, 2010

My 2010 adventure to Nepal and India got off to an auspicious start (as they say in India) when the Etihad Airlines agent upgraded me to business class for the overnight flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi for “being so nice and patient” during the check-in process. I was ECSTATIC but the experience went FAR beyond my expectations.

The business class section was set up like a lounge which created private little areas for singles and couples. The seats -- which were actually MASSAGE chairs that could be converted from upright to lounge chairs to beds -- were tucked into cozy spaces complete with a fairly big personal television set.

The stewardess led “Miss Carol” to my seat and offered me a drink. When I told her I’d like a glass of red wine, she said the wine would come a bit later and that they were serving champagne and cocktails at the time. Champagne sounded good to me!

Ahhhhh... Miss Carol had a lovely 13-hour flight. We each got a leather travel kit with “everything you’ll need for your journey” (toothbrush and paste, eye mask and earplugs, socks, and various sprays and soaps and creams). Fluffy pillows and a warm blanket kept me comfy while I watched two movies -- 500 Days of Summer and The Time Travelers Wife -- and slept a full 8 hours.

But the food was the highlight. Our “snack” was pan-seared marinated salmon accompanied with the promised red wine (Chateau Laroze St Emilion Grand cru Classe 2004 Cabernet from Bordeaux). A loaf of hot bread came with the ratatouille tarte tatin and my main course was baked Lake Michigan brown trout with baby corn, bok choy, jasmine rice and oyster jus. Of course it was all served with an organic five-leaf salad and was capped off with a quattro of dessrts -- lemon meringue pie, passion fruit coconut creme brulee, marinated red berry jelly and seasonal fruit lollipop. The wine was kept flowing throughout the meal; I was a VERY happy traveler!

After a comfortable night’s sleep, I enjoyed a breakfast of poached eggs, turkey bacon, spinach, toasted muffin and hollandaise sauce and a couple cups of cappuccino. I could REALLY get used to business class... best flight of my life!

I’m now in Abu Dhabi (capital of the Arab Emeritus). I have a 14-hour layover. The airport hotel is full but they have a comfortable lounge complete with buffet, bar, internet, showers, and TV for $50 for 8 hours. It’s night here, but day for me and since I’m well rested after my flight, I don’t think it’ll be a bad wait at all.

The airport is GORGEOUS -- sparkling glass and marble.... have never seen a US airport that even comes close to this airport’s glam!

Signing out for now!

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