January 01, 2018

The Joy of Flying Business Class

Long gone is the Golden Age of air travel. With shrinking seats on aircraft, longer lineups for security screening, and increasing reports of unruly passengers (and sometimes airline employees) the experience is no longer so pleasant. In an attempt to relive the good old days of flying in comfort and style, I added ‘a transatlantic flight in Business Class’ to my travel bucket list. Last summer I joined the jet setters en route to France, thanks to Air Canada’s loyalty program, Aeroplan.

The Aeroplan booking agent made it easy for me to convert 55,000 miles to a one-way ticket from Montreal to Nice via Zurich in Swiss Business Class. (Swiss is one of Air Canada’s 27 Star Alliance partner airlines.) And the flights only cost me $76 in additional fees.

Boarding at Trudeau International Airport, Montreal

My journey got off to a promising start with advanced boarding for my flight to Zurich at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport. I’m sure my eyes were gleaming when I found my single bulkhead seat and realized how much space I would have, soaring above the clouds, for the next eight hours.

My Seat in Swiss Business Class

Awaiting takeoff in the Business Class cabin, all was peace and serenity.  As I watched the comings and goings on the rain-slicked tarmac below I was offered a glass of French Champagne, along with a dinner menu and wine list. There was nobody jostling down the aisle or cramming their bags into an overhead bin above my head. I could barely hear the baby crying further back in the plane.

Rainy Day in Montreal

French Champagne

Tucked into a ledge was a Swiss Comfort Kit, a souvenir of my first flight in Business Class. Included in the zip-top wallet were a toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, eye mask, ear plugs, a pen and a pair of socks. (The latter will become my ‘travel reading socks’.)

Swiss Comfort Kit

After we’d been airborne for a while, dinner was served. The chicken and stir-fried vegetables were tasty, and the salad was the first I've had on an aircraft that didn't look anemic. Overall the food lacked the full flavour I’d expect from a good restaurant meal but I recently watched a documentary that cited a study suggesting high altitudes during flight adversely affect our taste buds. (And no meal could benefit from languishing in a warming oven.) Still, the meal as a whole was a notch above the usual fare in Economy. Plus my food was served on china, on a linen tablecloth, with real cutlery and attentive service. There were no complaints from me.

Seasonal Salad, Seared Chicken Breast with Red Win Jus,
Mashed Potatoes and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Unable to consume any more food or wine, I was ready to test out my lay-flat bed. I was really excited about the prospect of arriving in Europe rested and refreshed. Unfortunately, there was a great deal of activity in the cabin which kept me awake. Oh, well. At least I spent the night horizontal.


When the sun began to peek over the horizon, I readied myself for the breakfast I’d ordered earlier: orange juice, coffee, fresh fruit and pastries.


Breakfast Menu

My Breakfast

My connecting flight to Nice, also in Business Class, departed Zurich under low-lying clouds so there was no sign of the Alps. The flight attendant addressed me by name while serving me a second breakfast and, before I knew it, the aircraft was descending over the sparkling waters of the sunny Côte d’Azur.

Zurich Airport

Another Breakfast

The Sunny Côte d'Azur

Of course, getting to Nice was only half of my journey.

The Approach to Nice Airport

Next:  Flying Business Class: The Upgrade


  1. I have also decided that on any more flights overseas or across the states, I will fly business class. I did it years ago from detroit to Vancouver and it was great. I am getting too old to deal with even the premier seats in the main cabin.

    1. Ah, yes, travel was so much easier in my twenties!


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