The Business End

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Blogging from an iPhone just wasn’t for me.

(AKA apologies for not posting very much these last two weeks in Japan, dear Reader.)

But now I’m back, with much to report. So let’s proceed.

When I last posted, I had just finished dinner at the inimitable Chen’s Shanghai in Vancouver BC.

After that meal, I cabbed it back to the Vancouver airport and spent a bit of time collecting my thoughts in the complementary business class lounge whose entrance I had “earned” with my (free) business-class ticket.

There are many places I would rather be than an airport lounge. But once you get past security, there are not too many better options. Comfortable seats, free booze, charging stations, and a collection of complementary eats (of no interest to me after my Shanghainese feast).

After about an hour I made my way to the gate and boarded onto my first full length business class flight.**

On some level business class is simply economy class with bigger seats. But don’t discount the importance of the size of one seat on an airplane. (More on that later.)

Anyhow this was to be my home for the next 12 hours.eva business

Legroom, sweet legroom.

Although I am not generally a fan of sparkling wine, I was offered a glass of Bollinger champagne prior to take off along with a water which I gladly accepted. It was aromatic and dry. No too bad for bubbly, all in all.

Which brings me to one of the two aspects of business class that was definitely value added: the wine.

When I first started drinking wine it was kind of a replacement hobby. It was when my daughter was born, and I realized that for the next couple of years taking four to five hours off to play a round of golf on the weekend was just not in the cards.

I needed a new hobby. And one that I could practice while carrying a newborn girl around my micro apartment in Torrance California. So wine drinking seemed the obvious choice.

So I got a bunch of wine books and read up on the different wine regions and varietals and styles. And then I tried as many different types of wine as I could to develop my palate. But my choices were limited to those I could afford on my resident’s salary.

One wine which I read about but never tried was a white blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, from the Bordeaux region known as Graves. It was held up as having an extremely “minerally” quality due to the terroir’s rocky topsoil. But as even cheap versions of this appellation retailed for greater than $40 a bottle, and I wasn’t a big fan of whites back then so I never tried it.

On the plane I was very pleased to be offered a glass of 2012 château Chantegrive Cuvée Caroline. And it was absolutely delicious. Interestingly it had a very non-mineral quality to it. It’s color was golden brown almost like a cognac. And its nose and long finish were extremely buttery and in a unique way that I had never before encountered. (Think freshly turned farm butter, not oaky Chardonnay.) What a joy to try this luxurious glass mid air.

I also part took in a 2010 red Bordeaux from St Estephe, which was rich round and chocolatey, and a 2011 Spanish red wine which was just okay.  Sadly I never got around to sampling the Riesling Kabinett, or the Sherry or the Vintage Port.


Resist pitying me if you can…

The point being that if you enjoy drinking wine and trying expensive bottles that you would probably never buy for yourself, then the business class experience might just be right for you.

The food was a fancy version of plane food served on nicer China. (Think cold smoked duck on a bed of not exactly farm fresh greens) I picked at it but did not really eat. Uncharacteristically, I did very much enjoy a small container of Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream offered for dessert.

After which time I was feeling somewhat drowsy so I shifted my seat into recline mode. It was not fully flat. It was more like the lazy boy that you could easily fall asleep and while watching TV after thanksgiving dinner.

The blanket given to me was more comforter then flannel, with a crisp and clean EVA Air light green cotton comforter cover.

In no time at all I drifted off to sleep and stayed in a deep sleep for about eight or nine hours.

Now I will admit that I can now see the allure of  fully flat seats, as once I did awake kind of shifted down in my seat towards the feet. But this is mere nitpicking for I have never slept so soundly on a plane. And compared to the bone grinding origami like positions I find myself on in economy long haul flights, this was pure heaven.

I awoke refreshed and ready for breakfast which was promptly served including a bowl of congee (also quite mediocre.)

And by the time I had landed in Taipei, I was feeling quite well rested and ready to explore the city.

The trip was extremely comfortable thanks to the seat.

And I was extremely well rested thanks to the seat.

And I’d been quite entertained thanks to the delicious selection of wines that the airline had generously allowed me to try.

All in all theexperience had really lived up to its promised billing as a mini vacation before the actual vacation.

And while I still wouldn’t jeopardize future free flights for the privilege of flying business or first class, if I’ve again got the miles to burn I think it is far from a luxury trap. (Particularly for a wine lover like me.)

And so strolling through customs in Taipei getting ready to go explore the city I found myself already strategizing on how to get more miles when I returned to America so that I could replicate this experience at some future date.

So maybe it was a luxury trap?


** my wife and I had once been upgraded midflight after I provided some medical help to another passenger on the plane.

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2 Responses to “The Business End”

  1. Maverick August 30, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    Yep, once you go business class (in my case for long distance work) its tough to go back to coach. You know you travel business class too often when the stewardess says, “welcome back” when you board the plane. :)

    • Miles Dividend M.D. September 3, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

      It is nice. I am trying hard not to fall into the luxury trap.


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