I have been thinking of flying to see my father, trying to figure out the logistics. As he is quite old, I made it a habit to regularly check the prices, the promotions, and my frequent flyer miles. A week ago I opened my inbox and got a surprise message from my usual airline. They informed me that I could click on a link and get their promo offer. I dutifully clicked and thus got an offer to choose any domestic destination, to book my bonus return ticket; when I clicked further I discovered that I was offered a trip in business class. Rather than vacillate and try to decide when I consulted my husband and booked a flight for next day. Two days there, then back by a night flight. This totally unplanned journey proved to be the best type for me. I had no time for the habitual worries and sufferings; having packed my gifts I went to the airport early next morning. After security check I was directed to the business lounge. Aha! It was my first time, now I had the chance to explore how the other half lived! I went in, looked around, asked an attendant a few questions. Then I settled down in a comfortable large armchair with a bottle of water and a plate of snacks including tiny tasty cakes. There was also a good selection of newspapers and magazines, so rather than click and browse I looked through and read the paper news. In due time we were called in for boarding which was conducted via the general public sleeve. I sat in my row 1 and was immediately offered some soft drinks. There was also a bar menu and a meals menu. Wow! Since I do not drink anything strong I chose Italian sparkling wine; fresh vegetables salad, warm bread, a tiny blob of butter, dressings in tiny containers, meat or fish, dessert, tea, coffee completed the offer. It was quite a good choice, and they brought us real cutlery, not disposable plastic stuff. Each passenger also got a small bag with slippers, ear-plugs, eye-covers, tooth brush and tiny tooth paste. There were little pillows and blankets on every seat too. It turned out that my neighbor upgraded her seat at check-in using her bonus miles, so we had something in common. She also looked at me attentively and I saw that she recognized my face. She inquired if it was OK to ask me some questions about education and told me about her mid-school child; we chatted pleasantly about children in general and educational problems in particular. The flight was very comfortable; the hostess was very attentive and polite. I asked for a review form and filled it in, for which I received profound thanks.

My father was very happy to see me and very grateful for all the gifts I brought him. In recent years as I very well know he gets tired easily, so after a couple hours I called my friend that I was ready to meet with her. He lay down to take his afternoon nap and I went to spend some time with my friend, to talk about our children and life in general. Then I went on to see some other people.

Next day I flew back. Now I knew that after security I was to proceed to the business lounge. Well, at a large airport one finds a large lounge. The choice of snacks and drinks was much bigger, the arm-chairs more numerous and varied; there was the same choice of newspapers and magazines, so I took several magazines and read the fresh newspapers. When I visited the toilet I saw that they had travel size Listerine bottles, so I took one with me. A fellow traveler asked me, “Those bottles say “Green Tea”, can one drink it?” I assured her one could not. Obviously some lucky people never had to use Listerine before. I was the last one to enter the plane. Rather to my discomfort I saw that my neighbor was a large man who was sitting there barefoot. He looked quite anxious, while the woman sitting across the aisle from him looked very upset. The mystery was solved at once, to my relief: it turned out that they also upgraded their tickets at check-in, and got separate seats. When they inquired if someone was willing to change seats with them so that they could spend the flight together they were refused. I was their last chance, and I gladly agreed. The woman jumped into the seat next to her husband, they clasped hands, then she kicked off her shoes too. I settled down next to a very tired-looking man who asked for a cognac. Once he got his Courvoisier he downed it, wrapped himself into the blanket and went to sleep, instructing the stewardess not to wake him up. My neighbors across the aisle and I got our Italian sparkling prosecco, toasted each other, and then they turned to each other while I busied myself with my magazines and cross-word puzzles. Since I left my traveler kit with a relative, I packed the new one into my bag to give to my husband. After a very nice meal I drifted off into slumber. Four hours passed very nicely. I filled in another review before landing.

Yes, it is quite a nice and comfortable way of traveling. This kind of impromptu trip definitely bears thinking about. I will accumulate new miles and watch out for those promotions. Every magazine had an on-going contest advertised, so at home I went online, checked them all, chose a couple and submitted an entry to each one. Who knows, I may win another trip! Sharing the experience with my nearest and dearest is also a nice bonus.


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