This was my first tip to fly first class when traveling internationally.
Of course, everyone can’t fly first class but if you can even just do it once, do it! We saved up for this trip (and we had plenty of time to save as it was rescheduled several times due to covid). This would be my first time to fly first class and it was such a blast to travel this way!
Here are some things I learned when flying first class. These may only be applicable when flying with American Airlines as that is who we flew with on this trip, but your airline might be the same.
- Admirals Club… We learned that if you have a Business or First Class ticket and are flying internationally, you are welcome to enter the Admirals Club. You can also pay a yearly membership fee, purchase a day pass or qualify in other ways for the club, but his is how we were able to take advantage of it. This was so much more relaxed and nicer than having to wait out in the seats by the gate. They had free drinks, both alcohol and non-alcohol. Lots of food items with a good variety depending on the time of day you are visiting. In the early daytime hours there were breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, fresh fruit, specialty coffees, mimosa’s and more. In the afternoon and evening hours you could order cocktails, enjoy freshly made soups, cheeses, crackers, fresh fruits, cookies and much more. There were tables for dining or overstuffed comfy chairs for lounging and all equipped with electronic charging capabilities. There were plenty of screens with up to date information about flight times and gate numbers, in case of changes and we even had our own separate restrooms in the club. So, if you can take advantage of these special areas of the airport, do so! (On another note.. my husband is retired military and we have also found club rooms specifically for both current and retired military, so be sure to check that out as well). Flying first class means that we could literally walk out of the Admirals Club, to our designated boarding gate, and we were first in line to board the aircraft. I mean… how nice is that?!
- Our Seats… oh my gosh… they were soooo nice!! We each had our own little space for the whole flight! Each seat was surrounded by partial walls for privacy. The seats reclined in any way you might want from sitting upright to completely lying flat. Each individual space had remote controls for the flat screen tv’s, music, lighting and service. The screens were a great size for movie viewing. Each area also had plenty of space and compartments for your personal items, books, drinks or whatever you wanted to pull out of your carry on for easier access during your flight. The individual seats also had noise cancelling headphones that were of the highest quality, that eliminated any outside noise while also providing you with quality sound for your music, gaming or movie of choice. We were also provided with a leather case full of basic necessities such as socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, body lotion, eye mask, comb and chap stick.
- Meals... one tip. Order online on their website ahead of time. I believe you need to place your food order at least 24 hours before your flight. Otherwise, you will get what you get for your meal. So, if you don’t order ahead of time, you aren’t always going to get your preferred meal of choice. (One more tip. My husband marked “lactose intolerant” on his menu when choosing his meal of short ribs w/potatoes. Instead of the short rib meal he received a meal of mostly couscous, with no meat. Evidently their idea of no dairy also means “vegetarian”. Needless to say, my meat loving husband was not too happy when they informed him they had no other meal options for him. Let’s just say, he got a lot of extra snacks from our airline attendant that evening. Ha! Ha !)
- Traveling During Covid Times … It has been quite the experience to travel, especially internationally, and during this time of post covid, but not really post covid. Why “not really” post covid? Well, several weeks before we were to leave our home, a new form of the virus called the Delta variant attacked those who were not previously vaccinated (and in very few cases those who were). Because of this returned spike in covid-19 cases, more restrictions were put into place for traveling and we had to work really hard to make sure we had all of the required European documentation that we needed to accomplish this trip. Masks were required at all times and at all public indoor spaces. Masks in the airport, masks on the airplane and masks to enter any other public space. Restaurants and museums required masks and proof of vaccination cards to even get in. Airports and airlines required specific paperwork depending on who you were flying with and where you were going. Public spaces in Europe required specific “QR Codes” that we had to apply for and receive before we could enter specific venues. This is a new world of traveling and it wasn’t always easy, but it could have been so much worse. We felt thankful that we could finally travel and it appeared that many people were as happy to see us as we were to be there.
- Transfer From The Airport To Our Destination... We had decided early on that it would be best to go ahead and secure our transportation from the airport in Paris to our hotel. We knew we could hail a taxi after landing, but with all of the new rules and regulations in place and because we were going to a foreign country, we decided to arrange our transfer ahead of time. Wow… were we glad that we did. As soon as we got off the plane and picked up our luggage, we walked out of the baggage area and there was our driver Eric with a sign in his hand saying “Welcome Greg and Gina Gardner”. It was such a relief not to have to deal with finding a transfer after that long flight. Eric immediately grabbed all of our luggage and walked us just a short way to his Mercedes. He had an electronic charging station, bottles of water and snacks waiting for us in car. He was professional and respectful and we then knew we were in for a first class trip all the way.
If you would like the contact information for any of the companies we used in this blog, please don’t hesitate to message/contact me and I am happy to provide them to you.
STAY TUNED FOR CHAPTER 2 –
PARIS, EIFFEL TOWER, AND CHRIS