When we planned this trip, we knew we would be taking some very long flights. In fact, our very first flight from Los Angeles to Guangzhou, China was scheduled to be 14 and a half hours long. It is for this reason that we saved enough Delta Skymiles to book all our flights in the Business Class section of the aircraft when available. Even though it would require considerably more Skymiles, we knew things would be more comfortable for us, and now that we have completed our first flight across the ocean, we say that there is no other way to travel!
When we checked into our flight using the SkyPriority line at the airport, we were greeted by the friendly China Southern desk agent who immediately started processing our tickets and filling out our VIP pass – an invitation to wait for our flight in the Skyteam Lounge. She also informed us that when we arrive in Guangzhou we should talk to the transfer agent and she will give us our boarding pass for the next flight as well as hotel accommodations. We were confused. Hotel accommodations? What was she talking about? She explained that we were leaving LA on July 30 and don’t leave Guangzhou until August 1 (yes, we have entirely lost the day July 31, 2012 from our lives because we crossed the international date line…how that happens, we have no idea). Because we have such a long layover and since they were unable to give us a more convenient connecting flight to Auckland, we are entitled to hotel accommodations for that time. We couldn’t believe it! What great news! But this was only the beginning!
After going through security, we arrived at the Skyteam lounge. I’ve never been to one of these lounges before and it was all I hoped it would be. There was a buffet of food–small snacks, but also some sandwiches and heartier items. There were sodas, water and freshly ground coffee. There was even a bar where you could make yourself a drink with liquor and mixers! And all for free? Now I know why some people head to the airport very early! Also in the lounge was a really nice bathroom with an area to freshen up. There are even showers available for those who need them and monitors with flight departure information so you can check on your plane. We took advantage of the free wi-fi to write a blog post and watched the American men compete in gymnastics at the Olympics. It was so great this far, could it possibly get better? Yes!
Once onboard the aircraft, it was a flurry of activity. There was a very plush pillow and heavy, large blanket waiting on our seat. In the seat back pocket in front of us were lots of goodies. First, we took off our shoes and placed them in the shoe bag provided complete with plastic shoe horn, and then we put on the cozy slippers they gave us. We couldn’t take the slippers out of their plastic covering before someone was whisking away the trash. At one point we counted how long it took for them to pick up trash we laid down–it was less than 10 seconds. There must have been 6 flight attendants solely dedicated to the 24 passengers traveling in business class. It was amazing.
Also in the seatback pocket was a pair of headphones and a goody bag. I just love goody bags. Whether it be at the hotel for a wedding or on an airplane, it is the little stuff that makes me so happy. The goody bag for the flight is a really nice little reusable zipper bag which holds an eye mask for sleeping, lotion, lip balm, a comb, toothbrush & toothpaste, and earplugs. What more could we need? Apparently more!
Once we took off we were given a menu and asked to make dinner selections. We had already eaten, so we passed on dinner and ordered breakfast for later in the flight. They set up a lovely bar up in the front of the cabin with wine, alcohol, soda and juice. Phil ordered some white wine and it came with a little plate of mixed nuts. They even refilled the wine when he looked away for a brief minute. Amazing service.
At this point we were so tired, but didn’t want to close our eyes for fear we would miss something awesome. I’m so glad we stayed awake because the flight attendant came around offering personal entertainment systems–like a PSP which has games, movies, television, books–all kinds of things. This is in addition to the TV that is built into our seat, of course! We both took one and saw lots of great movies available (Phil finally got to watch Ides of March) and short informative videos about several destinations where China Southern flies.
Alas, we were exhausted. It was 12:30am LA time which means it felt more like 3:30am to us. So, we both pulled up our footrests, laid our chairs back and stretched out. Our chairs allow us to lay almost completely flat which was really great. It didn’t take long, cuddled under the warm blanket, head nestled into the pillow, to drift into a very comfortable sleep. We woke up to more snacks being placed out, a bottle of water by our side and even mouthwash in the lavatory. It’s an incredible way to travel – made a 14 hour flight fly right by- and we can’t believe that some people get to travel like this all the time.
Yeah, business class is definitely the way to go!