Traveling, Civilized.

8 years ago by

One of the advantages of traveling often and often for professional reasons is that if you do it right, you’ll often get to travel in business class.

And when you do, let me tell you, you’re ruined.

Why? Because you realize that business class is how traveling should be*:

For example, for my trip to Bali, I flew Cathay Pacific, business class.

We’re talking super comfortable seats that went all the way back to make a bed, a big screen with tons of movies, the meal was one plate after another, another light meal if you ever got hungry during the flight, a big blanket, a little kit with all the necessities (Agnès B!) to keep yourself human (tooth brush, lotions made with essential oils that smell great, ear plugs, etc…).

And that’s only during the flight.

Because between the two flights (there are usually at least two stops to get to Bali), you could go to the lounge and in the lounge, you’ll be ruined all over again.

It’s like you get to this little harmonious world of comfort in the middle of the dungeon of despair that is the airport**.

You can connect to the internet, plug your computer in, work in peace on a comfortable couch… Grab a drink at the bar, read one of the millions of magazines, have yourself a meal, or even take a shower in a super clean shower, towel & lotions provided if you need them. That’s what I did on my layover in Hong Kong and it revived me. All of it, compliments of the house, of course.

And here’s why you’re ruined:
After all that, you have to go back to normal life.

So of course here, I’m talking about Cathay’s business class, not all of them are that great.

But let me tell you, I’m going to continue to dive into my frequent flyer miles.


* Believe me… I’ve done the whole “charter” thing. Have a layover in Stockholm to get to South Africa, or having to take five flights, yep, FIVE, I’m not kidding, to get from Paris to Damas, I’ve done it because all that…

** In the magical world of cheap flights IT’S POSSIBLE! (and I’m not even going to go into the whole plane thing, which is a luxury to start with… It’s not to be forgotten that I also had the time in my life when I’d go from Prague to Paris IN A BUS)(You know, let’s just be out with it… I’ve even gone from Marseille to Prague HITCH HIKING. Yep.)(I’m still sorry about that one, Maman.)That said, all those trips form up some of the best memories of my life.
But I’m happy I didn’t have to hitch hike my way to Bali.

*** For those of you who have already ended up sitting in a dusty corner of the airport (with people rolling their suitcases over you or people not seeing you so they spill their coffee on your head when they trip on your bag)(feels real? Cause it really happened to me!!! ) just to have your computer plugged in, you know what I’m talking about.


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  • So nice to hv your daily posts back!!! I’ve never flew biz class!!! And of course would love to, but with this terrible recession i’d rather fly economy rather than not at all!!! So i totally get the hitch hiking part!!!! Which i’d never ever do now in my trirties coz i hv no time!!!

  • Business class is great, but let me tell you that Air France business class is not what it used to be… way too expensive for the service! But maybe I shouldn’t complain, I’m not the one paying, my company does :)

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  • we all dream of the business and first class…! :)


  • Flying Cathay Pacific from SFO to Hong Kong in business class (upstairs on a 747!) is the only time I haven’t wanted to get off the plane once we landed. But then I went to their lounge in the Hong Kong airport and thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I had gotten a little lost, and by the time I found the lounge, the experts who’d been in my section of the plane were already coming out from their showers! But you’re right — every time I fly business (rare…) I feel like I’m part of a secret club and I shouldn’t ever have to fly coach again!

  • J’ai fait mon dernier retour Paris-LA en business sur l’A380 qui est ENORME et ça change le voyage de manière incroyable pour 11H de vol on ne les voit pas passer tellement on est bien installé.

    La business de Cathay a l’air incroyable!!!

  • OMG! you are sooo right!!! I flew from Europe to NYC once, (and I have done that many many times) in first class and it really ruined me too!!! and the flight is not that long compared to Bali but still! At least I was human when I stepped out of that plane! I always feel like I must be invisible to other people, somehow they always manage to, like you say, step over me, knock me over, spill my ( yes my!!) coffee on me, spread themselves onto my seat, the list is long and I just wish I knew what to do you know? Is it because I am nice all the time, or why are people just soooooo inconsiderate?

  • Les conditions idéales pour voyager surtout pour les longs courriers; Est-ce qu’un jour je voyagerai en business? Pfff je peux toujours rêver …
    C’est pourquoi à mon niveau, le choix de la compagnie aérienne est cruciale quand on est abonnée aux classes éco comme moi et certaines compagnies se défendent plutôt bien! Deplus voyager en periodes creuses (ma spécialité car billet moins cher!) permet de voyager dans un avion qui n’est pas bondé (pas de cris de bébés, pas de voisins incommodants etc …) dans ces cas là la classe écon peut être vraiment agréable.

    Bises Garance.

  • OUPS …*la classe éco ;)

  • Nini piccola July, 18 2013, 12:49 / Reply

    So true… Once you’ve been upgraded you are ruined. And of course I’m talking about a long overseas flight as domestic doesn’t count! Sitting “behind” the curtain rather than in front of the curtain is l’enfer…

  • I agree! Last year I flew to China (from Miami) business class out, then first class back on United. It was one of the best experiences of my life! I have no idea how people in coach survived the 15-hour pull from Chicago to Beijing… I would not have made it :-)

  • Je suis impressionnée d’apprendre que toi aussi tu as beaucoup voyagé en auto-stop ! Je n’aurais pas cru, dommage que ce soit un moyen de transport perçu comme marginal et dangereux. J’ai vécu les plus belles expériences de ma vie grâce à lui. Tu aurais quelques anecdotes à partager ?? :-)

    Couleur Spleen.

  • It’s true. I hitchhiked from Barcelona to Nice one summer when I was young. I still remember everything about it. Super intense. Beautiful memories.

  • Benedicte July, 18 2013, 1:59 / Reply

    Ah ah, la course à la recharge aux escales, tellement çà ! Ma pire loose : un Paris – Cape Town avec 3 escales, dont une avec re-décollage vite fait parce que, quand ils ont descendu la passerelle à Kinshasha, il y avait des types armés qui nous attendaient sur le tarmak (un coup d’état apparemmment)…

  • Nice!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:


  • I know exactly what you mean.
    On those occasion that business class is just required I am (again) reminded that there should be no other way to travel – that should be the standard. I think people would be a whole lot nicer if everyone flew business :)

    xxx from Curacao

  • Lucky you. Seriously, I just flew from Miami to Berlin in economy. I can still barely move my neck haha.
    By the way, what were you doing in Prague? Just asking, not because I am a weirdo stalker, but because I live there and you’re my favourite blogger and you were there. Uhmmm..that doesn’t sound too stalkerish, right?



  • Business class that is on my list of things I like to do. Traveling comfortably is not totally bad :)


  • Ripley dans l'espace personne ne m'entend crier July, 18 2013, 6:15 / Reply

    Je voudrais prendre l’avion mais je ne peux pas je suis claustro à fond à fond.
    Mais regarder tes sublimes photos me remplit de bonheur. C’est tellement l’extase que je m’imagine un orteil sur le rebord de l’avion porte grande ouverte ! Fly Forrest Fly !

  • I would think it is all part of earning it, isn’t it?
    That is why we go through all our phases, I would guess that once we reach certain age, we should be able to “afford” some comfort.

  • Blaise July, 18 2013, 9:30 / Reply

    Oh, to travel business class, le sigh.

  • Voyager en business (surtout sur les compagnies asiatiques et du Middle East qui ont des avions recents) c’est comme aller au spa: un moment super privilegie ou tout le monde est aux petits soins avec toi… La prochaine fois que tu vas en Asie essaie Singapour Airlines. Les fauteuils en business sont les plus larges de toutes les companies aeriennes et leur service est celui d’un palace… C’est tres tres dur de retourner en “cattle class” apres ca (ou meme dans une business avec de vieux fauteuils) !

    Sinon l’autre gros avantages des cartes grand voyageurs en plus de l’acces aux lounges ce sont les queues qui disparaissent a l’enregistrement, aux douanes, a la montee dans l’avion… Bref voyager (re)devient un vrai plaisir…

  • Pour rigoler un peu sur le sujet la serie Come Fly With Me par les gars de Little Britain est un must (decouverte justement sur un vol). Petit extrait: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baid-Ua7gGg

  • You get the personal care pouch if you fly economy with Cathay as well. I still scream with laughter thinking about my mom, sitting beside me, opening the pouch, pulling out a slim, smooth, rounded, rather phallic plastic tube and giving me A LOOK. “What is THIS?”

    Nope, not a vibrator–just a collapsible toothbrush. ;)

  • Bridie July, 19 2013, 5:44 / Reply

    My husband flies A LOT for his work, and half the time gets upgraded to first class! The bugger even says on Emirates you have a shower in first class….while in the air! How crazy is that. I have flown business class a couple of times and I just about cry when I have to go economy now!

  • Never had enough money to go business or first (I’m 21, mind you), traveling by plane has always been a horrendous experience for me. The smell, the fat guy next to you, the waiting and sitting on your suitcase, the awful food, the back pain, the coffee (arguhum, water with a hint of caffeine )… But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

  • Roberta July, 19 2013, 7:10 / Reply

    … “middle of the dungeon of despair that is the airport”. I laughed SO hard! This is very, very true.

  • Andrea July, 19 2013, 8:10 / Reply

    Sauf sur Air France où si vous avez le malheur de voyager avec un Pet In cabin (traduction pour les néophytes: votre petit chien en cabine) vous vous faites traiter comme de la merde peu importe le prix que vous avez payé. Il faudra me traîner par les cheveux pour me faire remonter dans du Air France. Le truc pour les filles qui veulent plus d’espace sans payer autant qu’en business c’est de s’acheter 2 sièges éco (nettement moins cher qu’un business)si vous êtes 2 et prennez 3 sièges vous pouvez même allonger vos jambes (c’est mon truc sur les longs courriers). De toutes façons je ne mange rien à bord Business ou pas…

  • Merci pour le plan! ;)

  • Completely agree with you Garance, totally ruins you. I have being blessed/lucky I don’t know to have flown first class twice and once in a private plane– It was an experience to never be forgotten, and I am not “Crème Brûlée” aka a “Richy Rich girl” but I am friendly and friendly gets you the world & more sometimes which is probably how I got so lucky. But going back on regular economy class is just so depressing after having such nice experiences but now I am definitely being more smart about adding my frequent flyer miles because first/business class is sooo soo worth it.

  • Garance, would you ever do a city guide for Prague?

  • Ehh oui c’est le super drame on s’y habitue trop bien a ce confort ! Tu arrives avec presque pas de poches sous les yeux, en ayant honte de dire qu’on même plutôt bien mangé et… dormi !
    Mais c’est de plus en plus difficile d’être surclassé en tant que voyageur fréquent. Il faut sacrément en faire des voyages. Ou alors via boulot, et c’est plutôt cool. Mais c’est normal en même temps, bosser avec un gros jetlag dans le pif c’est vraiment ultra fatiguant.

    Ah tiens il parait que les repas Lenôtre arrivent à bord des avions Air France .. ca nous évitera de jeuner la prochaine fois !

  • Talk about class segregation. Def need to explore this biz class secret club.

  • Nicole July, 19 2013, 5:44 / Reply

    I’m feelin’ ya, the loung in Hong Kong is AMAZING!

  • Aurélise July, 20 2013, 7:41 / Reply

    OOHHH Garance !!! Pourrais-tu nous parler de tes voyages “hors sentiers battus” ? Ca m’intéresse vraiment ce genre d’expériences :)

    Bonne journée !


  • Oh, business class. I got it once from London to Phoenix on BA cause a friend was a pilot. Real meals! Free wine! Comfy seats, leg room and the co-pilot came back and apologised cause we wernt in 1st class! Sadly another time we took the same trip without upgrade and had snotty service and no leg room, ugh.

  • Lizzie July, 20 2013, 9:16 / Reply

    For me, that whole realization of how the other half lives came in the form of a ticket in Premier in Air France at age 18 — it has not gotten better than that. But I can dream! I know how I will spend my $$$$ when I win the lotto.

    PS: G, I have enjoyed your Bali trip from packing your bag to your flight there to all you saw and did while there. Thanks for sharing.

  • Carole b July, 21 2013, 8:36 / Reply

    Oh quelle chance….. 22h pour aller au Vietnam!!!!! Bordeaux Paris Shanghai Saigon …. Et bonjour le temps d’attente en transit.. Snif, mais bon j’ai déjà la chance de pouvoir voyager et peut être qu’un jour la business class m’ouvrira son fauteuil!!

  • Loved this post, Garance! I just got back from Italy this week (flying economy, of course), and let me tell you…by the time I reached JFK, I was pulling my hair out! The stewards on my flight were so helpful (and patient with my broken Italian! Non parlo italiano blah blah), I was even sitting next to a lovely family, and I had my choice of movies and music, but once you see those beautiful and spacious seats in the business section when you are boarding the plane, you literally have to give yourself a pep talk (don’t worry! you’ll be asleep most of the time anyway (lies) and besides, you are lucky to be flying. you are a poor grad student remember??) Anyway, I hate to complain (misery loves company, right?), but it is true that flying economy can be rough. I just spent two lovely weeks in bella Italia, and I would fly in the cargo section with the luggage (might have a little more leg room) to spend two more there!

  • I’ve always thought that when you have money, one of the best way to spend it is for comfort. Your flight sounds almost great as the stay in Bali!

  • I loved this post! I flew business class once on a 16hr trip to Australia and I have to say it was probably one of the highlights of that trip. Flying business class is such a luxury and if you can accumulate enough points (or $$) it is so worth it!
    So glad you shared your experience!

  • fatou2002 July, 22 2013, 6:14 / Reply

    Je suis totallement d’accord avec toi, mais j’avoue que ma recente experience classe affaire n’a pas vraiment fait mon affaire ;-)

    I have recently got a new job that pays well and have decided to treat myself to business class to Lisbon from Addis Ababa. On the way there “la trousse” was in a plastic box that you could not take with you. Food was not amazing, but listen to this: I fell asleep and dreamt that I was flying business class” and that they were serving platters of sushi and smoked salmon non stop.
    On the way back, the staff were super nice, but the idiot sitting next to me spilled his red wine on me (and my new comptoir de cottonnieres jeans) and simply said “oops”.
    So, now I am saving for first class (I hear ETIHAD is the best, you even get silk pijamas and la prairie facial cream).

  • Loved this post and made me remember our trip to Bali in Cathay Business class last year too. We didn’t want it to end! Business class is so worth it on long haul flights as it is the difference between savoring the journey and surviving to arrive, even the products vary greatly. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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