Have you ever been tempted to upgrade your flight from Economy to Business Class? On my recent flight from Bali to London via Kuala Lumpur on Malaysian Airlines, I did just that!
How did I end up on Business Class?
I’ve flown Premium Economy with Virgin Australia twice, but apart from that all of my flights have been Economy. And I’ve had quite a number of flights over the past 10 years!
Recently, I spent 2 weeks in Indonesia before coming over to the UK for 2 months to catch up with friends. A few days before my flight from Bali to London via Kuala Lumpur, I got an email from Malaysia Airlines offering for me to bid on upgrades. I tried to resist! Really I did! I’m travelling on a tight budget, trying to make my savings last as long as possible.
BUT… If I just put on the lowest bid they allow, then I’ll probably not win anyway. And if I do win this auction, then surely it’s a lot cheaper than a normal Business Class ticket, so I’m really SAVING money right. RIGHT?!?!
A few days later I received an email from them… My bid had won – I’d been upgraded to Business Class and the additional funds had been taken from my credit card.
Uh oh. I’d blown my budget!
OMG YAY! I’m flying Business Class on a long haul flight!
Argh, what have I done? What a waste of money.
Woohoo flatbed seat for the 14 hour overnight flight from KL to London.
Such a mix of feelings here. But, hey, it’s done now… Just sit back and enjoy it.
The Business Class Lounge
I spent the morning walking around the Indonesian island I’d been staying on, relaxing in a bar down the street from my hotel, and writing a blog post. Before long it was time for the long trip to Bali Denpasar Airport from Nusa Ceningan, the small island I was staying on.
Motorbike, tuk tuk, walk, boat, walk, argument about whether I’d prepaid or not, minivan… Airport!
First time in a Business Class Lounge! Sadly Bali Airport doesn’t have the most fancy lounge in the world, but it has everything you need – comfy lounge to sit on, free WiFi, free food (sandwiches and cakes) and free beer. But… Most importantly after the long, hot, sweaty trip to the airport – A SHOWER!
The lounge in Kuala Lumpur airport is meant to be amazing, but sadly I couldn’t use it due to my very short stop over – I just had enough time to go straight to the gate to get my second flight. :'( It’s such a hard life!
Business Class – Short Haul
So, the first flight was Bali to Kuala Lumpur and it was definitely better than Economy… But nothing to write home about. Virgin Australia Premium Economy that I flew Sydney – Fiji was heaps better than this.
It was more comfortable, better leg room, leg rest, much better food and they were quite forthcoming with the drinks. But overall a was a bit underwhelmed.
Business Class – Long Haul
And this is where the magic began!
HUGE seats, so many cushions, blankets etc. I didn’t know what to do with them all!
BUTTONS! So many buttons! Like a little kid, I started pushing each one to see what they did. Recline seat, extend foot rest, convert to flat bed, turn on reading light, control the (very large) TV… And more!
The seats were arranged in 2-2-2 configuration, and although I was tempted to book a window seat I decided to book one of the centre seats. I didn’t want to have to awkwardly climb over somebody who was asleep in a flatbed – both the centre seats have their own aisle access. It was a night flight anyway, so nothing to see out the window.
So much food and drink!
Shortly after takeoff, they give you satay chicken skewers, and a long menu to choose from. You then order a starter, main and dessert (on top of the satay you’ve already got!). And, you can continue to order off the menu whenever you like throughout the flight. OMG I was so full – I’ve never eaten so much on a flight before… And it was all amazing food too!
Drinks – normally on flights I’m constantly trying to get another drink. Ringing the service bell always seems to frustrate the flight attendants, like you’re putting them out or something! But in Business Class it was totally different – every time I’d finished a drink, they noticed and offered another. Plus I got some juice with my meal, plus a coffee… At one point I had 4 cups at once! Lucky there is more table space than Economy 😉
After eating waaaaay too much, and watching a film or two, it was time to try to get some sleep. I don’t normally sleep well on flights (I don’t usually sleep well at the best of times!), but here is where Business Class really pays off – A FLAT BED! With the push of a button, the seat slowly reclines… further, further… The footrest comes up and extends. Aaah, laying down flat and stretched out.
I got a good few hours sleep – probably not the deepest sleep ever, but WAY better than I’ve ever been on a flight before. When I woke up, most people were still sleeping in their other seats/beds but I knew sleep was over for me. I sat my bed up to a seat again and turned on the TV. Within minutes a flight attendant was at my side offering a drink or snack!
After breakfast (more amazing food!), we landed and I walked off the plane feeling full of food, and fairly well rested. How could I ever go back to Economy?
Things to keep in mind
- Is it actually cheaper?
My reaction to start with was exactly what the airlines want you to think when you receive this offer in your inbox – “OMG, it must be HEAPS cheaper than normal. What a bargain!” However, a few days later I got curious and looked up how much that flight would have been… I was a bit depressed to find that it was pretty much the same as what I paid! And, as I said – I made the minimum bid.
These deals can be a bargain, but you can also actually end up spending much more than you would have by booking Business Class to start with. Do your research before you lock yourself in. But, at the end of the day, if you can afford what you paid, enjoy the experience and feel you got your money’s worth – then it was worth it. 🙂
- You don’t actually SAVE money
This goes for all sales in life… Yes, that flight/jacket/shoes/pizza may be a lot cheaper than normal, and if you were going to buy it anyway you’re now lucky enough that you’re saving lots of money. BUT, if you had no intention of buying it until you saw this discount… Well, you’re not saving money – you’re spending a lot of money that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
- No Frequent Flyer Points
This was in the fine print, and I missed it until I tried to get Malaysia Air to add my Enrich (their frequent flyer program) points to my account. The upgrade does not qualify for points! This really annoyed me – I paid to be in that cabin just like everyone else. Perhaps change the amount of points based on what you paid – but, if you want people to get involved with this then you should have this qualify for points!
- It can be addictive!
Once you go Business Class, you struggle to go back to the real world. A week after this flight, I flew RyanAir from London to Belfast… I wanted to cry!
Malaysia Airline’s Official Business Class YouTube Video