For some, flying is a regular travel occurrence as natural as hopping on the subway or driving to work in the morning. For others, it's rare, and one where any moment can make or break the air travel experience. For me, it's somewhere in between, and it's mostly for press trips to cover art and design events. I don't have to pack a lot, I've never flown first class, and I usually have no time to waste in between getting off the plane and getting straight to work.
For an eight-day trip to Frieze London (made possible by VisitBritain) and FIAC art fairs in Paris, I got to experience British Airways' new 777-300ER plane roundtrip from New York to London and back. Having never flown the airline before, I was delighted to be seated in World Traveller Plus, which is in between first class and economy. Yes, you have to avoid overly envying the luxurious bed pods of business class on the way to your seat, but it's great once you realize that you have ample space on thinly-designed seats (absent of sticky leather too, might I add) or room to actually recline. The seats are made with a dry, comfortable fabric that actually feels good for your posture, unlike the bulky chairs that make you have to get up and stretch routinely on a flight.
Positives of the 777-300ER flight experience also include footrests, plugs and USB ports to charge your devices, and storage space both below both your seat and the seat in front of you (yes, it's possible with the way they've designed the chairs). I'm not a huge in-flight entertainment person, but I can see how this is easily one of the biggest perks of the journey, besides the seat design. Beyond being able to watch movies (I watched The Bling Ring and The Great Gatsby), TV, and the news (with the ability to save your favorites for later viewing) and play games (including multi-player with other people on the plane), you can plug in your iPhone, digital cameras, Nintendos, or portable DVD players to browse pictures, play music, or watch movies or TV shows that you already have. You can also chat with other people on the plane, which I tried for the sake of my review, and it's actually pretty cool and very convenient.
In terms of the meals, I had delicious vegetable pasta on the way there and a chicken sandwich on the way back. Both were tasty and bookended by free wine, regular offerings of orange juice, water, and hot towels, and friendly service. The only drawback I experienced was the lack of Internet, which is usually pretty slow and expensive on other airlines, but is always nice to have, especially for an online editor or businessperson. I imagine it's costly to do and is perhaps what makes the price and experience on BA more affordable and high quality.
Sometimes you want to feel overly pampered or save money by flying economy, but most times, at least for me, you just want to have an awesome experience that makes traveling as seamless and cool as your normal, day-to-day modes of travel. For a seven-hour journey, being in World Traveller Plus on British Airways felt like sitting in my clean living room watching a movie, having a meal, or listening to music. Having to get off the plane and go straight to the art fair, and vice versa for the return, was made comfortable from start (online check-in and boarding pass) to finish (landing at my destination after smooth flights). All of this is not to say that the 777-300ER experience was ordinary; it was anything but that. It was truly travel that made flying feel normal and easy amidst the chaos of having to be mobile and making sure you're not forgetting anything or losing your mind.