Have you ever upgraded your airline flight at the last minute? I always try to. Upgrading at the last minute for a discounted rate can be a little chancey, but it is the chance worth taking. There are several ways to upgrade for a lower cost prior to a flight. They range from waiting for an email from the airline regarding upgrade bidding, or checking for deals of empty business class seats during online check-in.
Another way, which is one that I have done during International flights is to upgrade when I check-in at the airport. I have upgraded from as little as $400, and up to $1,300 extra dollars depending on the distance and airline. I have saved thousands of dollars on my upgrades over the years.
This method is a crap shoot though because it did not work for me once when I was on thirteen hour flight from Istanbul to Los Angeles. The airline had totally sold out of Business Class, and I informed the man at the counter, “Just for the record, this is how I die.” Luckily the middle seat in my row was not occupied, so the other passenger and I had more elbow room. I still wanted to lie down completely, and eat off of white china. I know, first world problems but still a problem!
When I was flying to Egypt, my first leg was a long haul flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Istanbul, Turkey. From there I would take a short flight to Athens, Greece, where I ended up hanging out for several days. Then I flew into Egypt. I know, it took awhile.
Yours truly at LAX and very happy that I upgraded at the counter. I landed a business class ticket for a thirteen hour flight for less than if I paid for it when originally booked. Now I was on my way but not without getting a drink, and relaxing inside the airport lounge first.
What to Expect
Each airline has different style seating in Business Class when flying International Flights. I have been on flights where I had my own personal pod on a seven hour flight, or my own row on shorter country to country flights. In this case we had comfortable reclining chairs that pulled down to a full bed. There was also a storage unit across each seat for easy access to items that you did not want to put in the overhead.
Several hours into the flight, our attendants asked if they could make our beds. We stood up and they pulled our beds out, and set up our linen. There was also a little side screen in case you did not want to talk to your neighbor.
The only problem that I had with this set up was that if you were the middle person, and the beds were reclined you would have to walk over your neighbors legs. Luckily I was on the left side, so I could just roll out when I needed to use the restroom.
For more added comfort we were given noise cancellation headphones to borrow, which came in handy when watching the on-flight movies. We were also given nice slippers in a slip bag, and everyone was shuffling around the airplane with these guys on their feet. I did keep mine for the remainder of the trip as they came in handy for the hotel rooms. I threw them out towards the middle of the trip when I started to step out of them.
On many airlines when you fly Business Class or comparable, you may receive a little swag bag of flight essentials. In this case Turkish Airlines handed all the ladies a fuchsia pink Versace cosmetic bag with gold trimming. It was filled with luxury Versace products, plus a few basics like a hair tie and a toothbrush.
Do not worry men, you also received a swag bag too but not in pink. I have received many little bags like this in the past, but this was the cutest so far. I still have this little Versace cosmetic bag.
Turkish Airlines Cuisine
Although what was served was still considered “airplane food”, there was a true effort on the quality. When it came to the food presentation, and the service everything was exceptional.
When we were all settling in, we were served a selection of Pre-flight welcome fruit juices. I sipped my strawberry juice with a fresh strawberry inside, turned my phone to airplane mode, and slipped into my slippers.
At the start of the flight the onboard chef made his rounds with the menu cards. This is pretty standard on any Business Class flight, although it usually is your flight attendant with the menu cards. You can choose everything from your beverage selections to your dinner, and breakfast food items.
Turkish Airlines offered a variety of dishes, and you could eat as much or as little as you wished. In addition to the food items on the menu cards, there were trolleys with little bites and desserts. I have always felt that these Business Class upgrades should be called “The Food Coma Class” or “The Gastronome Class”.
It was dinner time, but for others it was also movie or nap time. The lights were kept dim during dinner, and we ate dinner by individual candle light. On each of our food trays were placed little lights that resembled paper bag lights that you would see on a pathway. They were adorable.
The little lights were a great touch to the ambiance of their business class experience. As you can see, it did help a little when we received our meals. For those who are wondering, no you cannot take it home!
There is always a lot of food and beverages served in Business Class. It is no wonder that they also offer seats that fold out into beds. On flight you sleep, eat, sleep, eat, repeat. It is a great feeling to be in baby mode again.
— Starter Plate —
A tasty Starter Plate with little canapes and a spring roll with a side bowl of mixed nuts. All accompanied with a glass of Chardonnay.
— More Little Bites —
In addition to the Starter Plate, a tapas trolley came by with more selections of little bites. When it was your turn, you pointed and the attendants plated. I chose these delicious little gems to accompany my original starter plate.
— Bread Service —
I have served a lot of bread in my lifetime during family meals or at dinner parties. So when I was offered my dinner bread on this compartmentalized bread dish, my OCD brain exploded. Everything was separated, and there were enough items to customize your bread experience- a lot of butter, a bottle of olive oil, a bowl of season mix, and the cutest salt and pepper shakers.
— Soup Du Jour —
The Soup of the Day was a split pea of sorts. I am a fan of split pea soup, and I welcomed it for my next course. I ate it with the bread that I spread a lot of butter on, and sprinkled the seasoning mix on top.
— Main Course —
I decided to stay away from heavier meats while on this flight, and chose the fish course which was a medallion of sword fish. It was fairly good, but a little on the dry side. It was accompanied with a side of seasoned potatoes, and a mound of spinach and onion.
— Dessert Trolley —
This is where I grew that second dessert stomach that I normally brag about. A dessert trolley came by with an assortment of cheeses, crudités, and sweet treats. I decided on a bit of everything. I first chose a little cheese to slow down the digestion, and then crudités to hopefully cleanse the pallet. It was the healthiest of the items on that heavenly trolley that sauntered its way down the aisle.
For my sweet dessert choices- a piece of pistachio baklava, and a warmed brownie with vanilla sauce. My sweet tooth was pleased and so was my second dessert stomach.
But wait, there’s MORE!
Being that this was a thirteen hour flight, I got to sleep through my food coma between my meals. I am sure I could always say, “No, thank you” but I do not think that will happen anytime soon.
— Breakfast First Course —
We were breaking that imaginary fast with a very filling breakfast. The first course was a cheese and vegetable dish, a bowl of homemade muesli, black coffee, a mango smoothie, fresh fruit and a croissant. This in itself was a nice breakfast.
— Breakfast Main Course —
I promise you, this was the last dish served. It was a white cheese omelet served with mushrooms and tomatoes. It was not too bad really, and I do like omelets with vegetables.
What did you all think? Not too shabby for those dreaded two words “airplane food”,
In conclusion, I truly enjoyed my thirteen hour flight to Istanbul from Los Angeles. I left the plane feeling refreshed, my muscles did not ache, and I was clear minded. Deciding to upgrade is worth it, especially when you come off the plane feeling as good as when you got on.
The journey, not the arrival that matters…– T.S. Eliot
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