First Class

March 7th, 2011 · 3 Comments

I don’t know where to begin with our Hawaiian vacation, so I guess I’ll just start from the beginning, with our flights. Dallas and I have flown a lot for both work and pleasure, plus we have credit and debit cards that give us miles, so for our wedding flight we were able to get one first class ticket to Hawaii just using miles. The other ticket we purchased and upgraded with miles. I was so excited. Dallas has flown first class on long flights before, but this was a first for me. I’d gone first class one or two times, but for very short flights on very small planes where first class is more like first row and does not really have many benefits. Not the case this time!

Our first flight was early in the morning from ORD in Chicago to DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth). Our seats were nice, a bit wider than usual and a bit more leg room. They reclined a little more than the regular seats, but over all it wasn’t a huge change. We also got a blanket and thin throw, which seemed luxurious, knowing that they charge extra for them now in coach. Remember in the olden days when everyone got a blanket and pillow? Anyway. … Here’s where the first class upgrade really came through, this was our breakfast:

Bagel with cream cheese, fresh berries, yogurt, mimosa, milk, banana, and cereal. Dallas was teasing me because I couldn’t hear very well with the airplane hum and sitting by the window and when the stewardess asked if I wanted a bagel or biscuit I was just like “yes!” and when she then asked if I wanted jelly, cream cheese or butter, I was like “yes!”. Dallas didn’t realize that I couldn’t hear and he took this to be my “I’m in First Class. Bring it, bring it all on!” attitude!

In DFW we tried to push our luck and get into the Admiral’s Club. I guess first class doesn’t get you access there.. denied! So we went to Chili’s and had a drink or two.

DFW has some pretty cool, non-traditional seating. I saw these seats with leg and foot rests. I also saw rocking chairs.

Our flight from DFW to HNL (Honolulu) was long – 8 hours and 45 minutes long – and was on a big plane. These first class seats were really fancy. Lots of space. I could stretch my feet straight out and not touch anything. And there was a lot of separation between seats. I couldn’t see the people in front of me or behind me. Check out these fancy seat controls:

These seats reclined back, all the way back.

Very quickly after sitting down, the stewardess made sure she had our names correct (and called us by name throughout the flight) and asked if we wanted a glass of champagne, mimosa or orange juice. Duh!

We were then given a menu for the flight. On flights to Hawaii, American Airlines has paired up with Sam Choy, a renowned Hawaiian chef, restauranteur, author and TV host.

Including the drinks we could choose from. I had a few glasses of the Sauvignon Blanc.

While the plane was taking off I could smell something that reminded me of the streets of New York, and not in a bad way. Roasting nuts. The first thing we were served was a bowl of warm nuts mixed with dried pineapple. So tasty!

Next up, fresh seasonal greens with asparagus and daikon and served with Asian sesame dressing.

This salad was very good as well. For the main course, Dallas and I both chose the Hale’iwa Grilled Steak. This was a beef fillet marinated in Hale’iwa barbecue sauce and seasoned with a shitake mushroom cream sauce and kapakahi (mixed) mashed potatoes.

This tasted about as good as you’d expect a steak dinner at 30,000 feet to taste. Kind of overcooked and drowning in sauce.. but that cream sauce on the side was delicious. And even the potatoes mixed with corn and things were pretty good. Not to mention the warm King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, which are always great.

Before the flight Dallas told me he thought that we’d have a sundae bar for dessert. This did not compute for me. How would they set up a sundae table on the plane? How would people walk up and make their sundaes? Well, duh. They just put everything on the cart and walk it around and make it for you!

My sundae was vanilla ice cream, half hot fudge and half coffee topping, whipped cream, and chopped walnuts. I also added Kaluha. And had Kaluha coffee on the side.

Dallas had a strawberry sundae, which pairs well with Bud Light, if you were wondering. Neither of us finished dessert. So stuffed from all the food! And I was getting so tired! Time for a nap.

I was actually all bundled up like this all along. Pm this flight we got big pillows with nice fluffy comforters. Dallas asked me, “What do you think this is? Breakfast in bed?” Yup! Anyway, nappy time. Or, since I’d had about 6 drinks by then, maybe you’d consider it pass out time. Whatever! Dallas keeps teasing me that on that long flight I was able to go from sober to drunk to passed out to awake with a hangover to sober to drunk again all on one flight! Maybe true…

Later on we got a fruit and cheese plate but I was still so stuffed, I didn’t eat that much of it.

On our interisland flights, the planes were so small and the flights are so fast that it isn’t worth paying for first class. It’s basically the same as coach.

On the way back home, though. More first class!

From HNL to LAX (Los Angeles), our plane was not as big as the DFW to HNL flight, but they were still pretty spacious. Same routine as last time. Stewardesses got to know our names, gave us a new menu of food. The drinks were the same as the last flight.

Since we were coming out of Hawaii, the menu was still a partnership with Sam Choy.

I had a mimosa to start off the flight. And then a bloody mary, but we’d been on such a long vacation and drinking a lot, after that I just stuck to Diet Coke.

Our meal started with warmed nuts again.

Then we had a salad. This time seasonal greens with Roma tomatoes and some seaweed, topped with a miso cilantro dressing.

For our main course Dallas and I both selected the Wasabi Salmon, grilled salmon topped with creamy wasabi served over shitake butter orzo pasta and accompanied by grilled asparagus.

Again, the main course was pretty underwhelming. My sauce wasn’t even on the salmon, more like on the side, on the orzo. I think there was one mushroom slice in my shitake orzo. And my asparagus was mush. Dallas’s asparagus was so overcooked it was withered down into spaghetti-thin spears. Luckily we had eaten at Kona Brewing in the Honolulu airport so we didn’t have to depend on this meal!

For dessert we had the sundae again. This time I had hot fudge, whipped cream, and pistachios for toppings.

This flight was shorter so we didn’t get a fruit and cheese plate at the end, which was fine by me. We did get mints before getting off the plane, though, which was a nice touch.

At LAX we hung out at On The Border for a while. Our next flight was from LAX to ORD. The first class seats were a bit smaller, but the plane was newer and a bit more updated. This flight was overnight (we arrived in Chicago at 5 a.m.), so we didn’t get a full meal. Guess what we did get?

Warm nuts! I’m getting the picture that warm nuts are an automatic for people flying first class on American.

We also got a freshly baked cookie. I’m not sure how that works on an airplane, but it was pretty good.

Then it was nighty night til we got to Chicago.

So, how did I like first class? I loved it! So much better than coach. Especially when you’re not paying for it! I know the next flight I’m on will be back in coach but I keep telling Dallas that after seeing the light, I can’t go back! haha. 4-course meals? Stewardesses that know your name and at least pretend to give a crap? Free drinks? Are you kidding? No more coach, no more coach, no more coach!

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Ray

    Sigh…when I flew every week for work, the warm nuts in 1st were something to look forward to!

  • Nan

    I never flew 1st class yet… Josh always did ‘cuz he flew so much for work. In fact when we moved out to Seattle I flew coach with the kids and Josh was up in 1st class but walked back to visit with us now and then. :)

  • Thomas

    I agree that first class is so much better than coach on long flights. I too will be flying to Hawaii in first upgraded via points.

    I guess you couldn’t get into the lounge because you ticket was not full fare? Disappointing.

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