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Monday, April 29, 2013

Tales from Business Class

Happy Monday, my friends! How was your weekend? Ours was full of strep throat, baseball, and laundry...so there's no question the vacation is over. My body is finally back in the right time zone, so I started sorting through the hundreds of photos from our trip...I can't wait to share them with you, along with tips for each of the places we visited. Thank you for all the sweet messages while we were gone, and again in welcoming us home!! I missed you guys, and feel so behind on my long list of blogs.

Those of you who follow me on InstaGram, know we had a little 'hiccup' at the start of our trip. Here we are, finally on our way...

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Happy and excited couple, right? All looks well, no signs of trouble. So imagine our shock when 10 hours later it looked like this...

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Yep, that's me...in an ambulance, hooked up to monitors, clutching a barf-bag, in a foreign country...and missing our connecting flight. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?



I have only ever flown Coach (read our budget travel tips here)...but always dreamed of knowing what life is like on the other side of that First Class curtain...where yummy smells emanate, and you hear the clinking of real glasses and silverware. It's as if they're purposefully rubbing it in to those of us starving, and crammed like sardines, in the back of the plane.

This June marks Mr. Sugarplum and my 15th wedding anniversary, and coupled with the big birthday I just had, we decided to celebrate by depleting our airline miles, and splurging on an upgrade for our flight to Europe. You can't even imagine the level of giddiness we had with the entire experience. We tried unsuccessfully to act cool while hanging in the Private Lounges between flights (which, by the way, are stocked with free food, booze and wifi).

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I was anything but cool when they served us gourmet lunch, then dinner, followed by warm cookies and hot towels for cleaning up.

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The overnight leg of our trip was on British Airways, where we had our own private pod, stocked with quilts, full-size pillows, plenty of storage space, and amenity bags filled with socks, eye mask, ear plugs, face and hand creams, and lip balm. And that's only Business Class...no telling what was happening in First Class!

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After a three-course dinner, I settled in for my own private movie party. Of course I went with a high-caliber cinematic masterpiece. #edward

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Happy, full and sleepy...we snuggled up on our fully reclined seats, and dreamed of sparkly vampires Italy.

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It was on descent into London that things got ugly. I started feeling dizzy and nauseous, which isn't uncommon for me when landing. But instead of fading like they usually do, the feelings snowballed. I dashed to the bathroom, but Mr. Sugarplum was forced to deplane. For some asinine reason, international flights arriving at Heathrow land quite a distance from the terminal, requiring exhausted travelers to transport in a shuttle bus. Wobbling down the steps of the airplane is the last thing I remember.

Mr. SP sat anxiously at the terminal waiting for me...first one bus, then another. Finally, he spotted me, but before he could relax, he realized I was stumbling around like a marionette doll (his flattering description). He dashed to the bus, where he said I made brief eye-contact with him, then passed out cold. Fortunately, he caught me just as I landed...which as he says, was no easy feat considering I was 'surprisingly heavy.' Thanks, babe.

Apparently I came around long enough to throw-up in the bus, then pass out again. I woke up laying on the terminal floor, covered with blankets, and the pilot laying next to me taking my vitals. (Sorry about that puke-breath, Sir!) I looked up to see our entire British Airways flight crew forming a human shield, to protect what was left of my dignity. An immigration official came and took possession of our passports (since we hadn't cleared Customs), and paramedics arrived, along with representatives from Heathrow Airport and British Airways. Based on the size of Mr. SP's eyes, it was a bit of a spectacle.

Obviously, we missed our connecting flight, and they weren't quite 'comfortable' with me flying again that day...so British Airways put us up in a really nice hotel for the night, provided us with meal vouchers, had our bags pulled from the plane, and booked us on a flight the next morning. The flight crew was all off-duty, but stayed with me anyway until they were sure I was okay. We were absolutely blown away by all the kindness! The airline had no obligation to me, nor was it their responsibly that I was sick, but they went above-and-beyond for us. Thank you, British Airways!!!

I recovered by the next day, and the rest of our trip was amazing. And thankfully, our flight home in Coach was blissfully uneventful. We still don't know why it all happened, but I guess I just have no business being in Business Class...it was just too richie-rich for me. Obviously, this girl needs to stick with Coach, where I belong! (I kid, I'll always jump at the chance for an upgrade!)

What's the craziest thing that's ever happened to you while traveling? What random acts of kindness have you received?

54 comments:

  1. Oh no - what a horrible way to start a trip!! At least it can only go up from there. Can't wait to hear about the rest of it!

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  2. Oh.my.heavens! That is just awful! I do love me some British Airways though, so I'm not surprised they took wonderful care of you. But geez...how eventful!

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  3. What in the world?! This sounds exactly like something that would happen to me! You finally get to "live rich", and this is what happens. Poor thing. On the bright side, it sure was a good giggle for me this morning. :)

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  4. Dang girl, you sure do know how to create some drama! Great blogging material. Just kidding. I'm really glad you recovered quickly and it didn't ruin your trip.

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  5. How frightening! Glad you're okay now.
    You and your husband are so cute together.

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  6. Wow... you sure had a memorable start to your trip. I'm glad you recovered quickly and was able to enjoy the rest of your vacation.

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  7. Good grief! That is crazy. Glad the airline took care of you and the rest of your trip was good. Definitely a good little laugh this dreary monday morning!

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  8. Wow, sorry to hear about the drama, but glad you were taken care of. I love British Airways, and it seems your story just reinforced that love - the crew sounds fabulous.

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  9. How awful! At least British Airways were amazing and now you have a interesting story to share. I actually had something kind of, sort of similar happen to me, however, when I passed out I was in the plane....mid-air. Yup, I had to throw up, break out into a cold sweat, and pass out again in a plane soaring over the Rockies with no where to land. In coach. I was actually in an aisle seat so my body flopped out and when I came to, the first thing I saw was a flight attendants cart heading straight for me. Once we landed (6 hours later), a kind airport worker pushed me in a wheel chair....up a ramp....and I'm no Kate Moss. I felt so bad for him but he was determined to push me. Every passer by looked at me in horror as I was rolled by....I don't know what I looked like but I imagine it was something close to a mix of Quasimodo and Bella Swan but not when she is being saved by her sparkling beau....more like when she was about to die after giving birth. So glad you are okay and back to tell the tale. Looking forward to hear more about your gelato filled dream come true!

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  10. Cassie! That is horrible!!! Thank heavens it was quick and you rallied! Can't wait to see the rest of the trip!

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  11. Oh man, that's no way to arrive in Heathrow. The way they descend into Heathrow may have something to do with it (it's the only landing I've ever actually had to employ the airsickness bag). Hoping the flight home was less eventful!
    Sarah

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  13. Yep, that's exactly why I'm staying my butt in the US. I can imagine the exact same scenario if I flew that far. Glad you recovered quickly enough to enjoy the rest of your trip!

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  14. So glad it didn't ruin the entire trip! I have to take meds when I fly, or I get sick. I remember one flight back from Hawaii where the plane was ALL OVER THE PLACE, for more than 2 hours even the flight attendants had to remain seated, the meds weren't helping at all. I remember the little girl in the row next to us slept through whole thing. I so wanted to be her!! I did pass out during dinner on a company trip in Puerto Rico...felt like such a dork!!

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  15. Wow, what a start! That is so lovely to hear how kind everyone was to you...so often, it's the other story. British Airlines would have me for life after that!

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  16. Oh wow! That was not a good start, but I'm glad it all worked out. My freakiest experience was also at Heathrow. We were catching connecting flight to Lisbon, and I looked at my ticket and it said departing flight was at 12:03 but the Flight board said 12:06. I assumed they were delayed by three minutes. I had about 6 hour layover so I took a nap on the benches, woke up just before we had to board lane, and when i handed over my seat ticket to attendant I was told I was in wrong terminal. I had to run through Heathrow airport to catch my flight. Turns out they had to flights leaving Heathrow to Lisbon by same airline three minutes apart at opposite sides of airport. I made the flight, but there were many angry passengers on the plane, apparently they had been paging me for awhile but I was napping on a bench. I can't even blame anyone else... it was all my doing. Let's justt say I nearly puked while I ran!

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  17. I'm sorry about the start of your trip, but it does make an interesting story;) I've only been sick on a plane once and thank God the barf bag was readily available because there was no warning of the heinousness that took place. It was very uneventful. I don't think the guy next to me even blinked.

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  18. Holy smokes. I had no idea it was that bad. You poor thing. So happy Mr. S. was there to catch you {so romantic!}. Dang girl, way to make a splash on your entry into Europe. So happy it was handled so well and that the trip was amazing. Those private pods looks dreamy. wow.

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  19. oh wow, that's scary! kudos to the airline staff. glad you're ok and that it didn't wreck the rest of the trip. (last time i flew first class i ended up in the ER with a migraine.)

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  20. and i meant to add.... wow, quinoa! never thought i'd see that in plane food.

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  21. Oh no. So sorry to hear about your Scarlett O'Hara moment during the trip. Thank goodness those Brits took good care of you! Did you ever figure out what happened? I love the business class treatment on International flights. I've done it twice now and have a lovely collection of plane swag bags for my future coach experiences! ;) I can't wait to see your pictures!!!

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  22. Oh no!!! Glad you were able to get better and the rest of the trip went well though! Can't wait to read more about it!

    We just got back from Australia and were dying to try out the pod seats. Although they barely let us look in that direction when we stepped on the plane. I dream of the day of real cutlery. How nice of the flight crew to stay with you?! Our Qantas crew was beyond nice and generous as well. It was easy to tell when we were back in the states on the domestic flights. Apparently they don't freely give out wine on the American Airline flights...ha.

    Craziest story....husband lost his wedding ring while snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Ooops...

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  23. That is too bad, but I'm glad they were so nice to you...wow! So you were just air sick? (I don't mean "just" air sick!) I'm glad you were so well taken care of!

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  24. Oh noo!! :( Glad they were so amazing to help you guys out! We've had quite a few crazy things happen while traveling...I don't even know where to begin. But most recently, we were randomly upgraded to business class for free on Emirates and we loved it! (post here: http://www.floatingalongblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/emirates-business-class.html) Hope you have a better experience next time!

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  25. So sorry to hear that!! My husband and I traveled to Europe in September and on our trip home we were upgraded to business class on British Airways - it was awesome... except for the fact that I was terribly sick - blowing my nose raw and couldn't catch a wink with a foggy head. What was worse is that my ears didn't "pop" on the descent.. they didn't pop for about 4 days since I was sick. It was the best AND worst flight of my life. Hahah

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  26. Oh noes! That's terrible. I am so glad that it was a short-lived illness. As I was reading your post, I had my fingers crossed that things wouldn't spiral out of control even more. As for my horror story, I got really sick (throwing up and more) on a cruise to the Caribbean. The infirmary told me it was likely caused by fecal matter...and not mine. GROSS! I was quarantined to my windowless basement cabin for days and missed all of Mexico. It was terrible; there were only like four TV stations to watch, and one of them was the 24 hour cruise channel. When I got off the ship and scanned my card, it started beeping and alerting the attendant that I was on quarantine. They had to clear me to re-enter the country and I was holding up the line. I still didn't feel right when I returned home and ended up taking some time off work. I did lose five pounds though :) No cruises for me.

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  27. YOU are hilarious! I am so sorry that that happened...what a way to start a trip! I hope it just got better from there on out. :)

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  28. Oh man! How scary!! But awesome that the airline pulled through for you guys! And that it was only a minor bump in your otherwise fabulous trip!!

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  29. I had something similar happening when I flew from NY to MTL unknowingly with a tooth abscess.

    Sadly there was no human shield for me. Instead I was left in a wheelchair, in a main hallway, with a clear bag.

    Everyone deserted me except the nice customs guy who walked me through customs and got me to the shuttle area.

    They grounded me as well. They said I was a heart risk. I told them I thought it was a migraine. I was able to get myself to a hotel and my husband drove the 2 hours from our home to pick me up.

    Crazy! Glad you felt better and that they took good care of you.


    :)

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  30. Omg, I had no idea it was that crazy bad when I saw your IG that day! I just thought you had chugged too many Guinnesses in London :( So sorry your trip started that way! But your account of the experience made me chuckle, you're so good at that. ;)

    Also, how does your hair look that good whilst laying on a gurney?

    P.S. I'm so impressed by British Airways' kindness--super awesome of them!! Those Brits are classy.

    P.P.S. Hope Sloany Girl's feeling better, xoxo

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  31. Oh no! I followed you on IG but somehow missed the ambulance pic. How scary! But I agree that you looked rather lovely in the ambulance :). Glad you were well taken care of and enjoyed your trip.

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  32. OMG. Cassie. I am so glad you are okay. That's scary when that happens in a foreign country. Glad you had a nice flight crew and sweet husband to look after you!

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  33. So scary - what a horrible start to your trip! But, judging by your Instagram feed, things improved drastically from there :) Looks like you had an amazing trip and I'm eager to hear more!

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  34. Holy cow, what a crazy way to start off your trip!! It's like all those fancy details in business class were just too good to be true (cause seriously they looked awesome). I'm so sorry that happened to you but am glad you were ok. High fives to British Airways!!

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  35. Cassie I had no idea about this! Goodness that sounded horrific. I'm glad the airline was nice to you though. I've seemed to lose all faith in nice people on airlines! Can't wait to hear more about your trip and glad you recovered!

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  36. That's scary! I'm so glad you're okay! It seems like the rest of your trip went well, though--can't wait to see the highlights! Have a wonderful evening!

    ~Abby =)

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  37. Glad you were eventually ok Cassie! I agree, I like British airways, we took a connecting flight from London to Chicago 2 years ago, and the service and plane was great. As for unexpected flight adventures - being a physician, I seem to be always in a flight with a sick passenger, that's always exciting, luckily none of them were terribly sick that we had to land the plane for, but I got a couple of nice wines in exchange for my service. :-)Can't wait to see what you guys did!

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  38. How freaking scary! I think I missed this on insta somehow. I mean, wtf. Too much alcohol perhaps? Caffeine? So crazy. I can't believe they took such good care of you, usually airlines are pretty bad like that. I also loved the part about the human shield, seemed really sweet and protective.

    Glad it subsided and you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip. xoxoxo lovebug.

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  39. Glad you're okay. And that's so awesome of the airline to take such good care of you guys. This will be quite the story to tell people for years to come. Good thing your husband took pics of you in the ambulance for proof. ;)

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  40. I am so glad you are all right and got to enjoy your trip. I have to say that British Airways is my favorite Airline. I was once bringing back some Newfoundland puppies and they went out of their way to make sure the babies were safe, letting us board last before they loaded them, and then moving us to the head of the line in customs so the pups didn't have to stay at baggage any longer than necessary. I have flown them a couple of times, and find them to be the best, from the pilots to the rest of the staff both on the ground and in the air. Isn't Italy amazing!?!?

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  41. What a story!!! So glad you made it ok and the rest of the trip was dreamy. Sounds like you were in great hands, thankfully!

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  42. Oh my! We're headed to Europe in just a few weeks, going to Germany, Austria, and Prague. Coach all the way for us, but hopefully we'll have a more successful flight there! Looking forward to all your "more scenic" travel photos. :)

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  43. Wow, now that's a good travel story! So glad it wasn't anything more serious and it passed quickly! I'm in awe of the treatment you received from BA! That would never happen on American!

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  44. Seriously, Cassie, that is so scary! I'm glad you were alright. I can't imagine how terrified your husband must have been watching you like that. Y'all deserved a trip to Venice after that incident!!! But what a way to travel...maybe one day I'll get to check out that business class section too. It looks fantastic!!

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  45. I'm so sorry to hear about your hiccup! We flew to London a few years ago on British Airways and I basically fell in love with the airline then - such amazing service. But now that I've heard your story, I like them even more.

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  46. Gah, what a way to start a trip! So glad to know you are OK, I was worried when you gave us a preview of the story on Instagram, but felt better once I saw your first gelato pic. :) It will definitely be something to remember and talk about someday. So glad everyone took such good care of you! <3

    xo,
    Jen

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  47. OK, be forewarned, this is gross! My boyfriend and I were on a redeye flight home from London. We each took a little prescription sleeping pill and drank a tiny bottle of wine at the beginning of the flight to sleep. We also did this on the way there and it worked amazingly well for our non stop flight. Well I wen tto sleep and woke up 4 hours into the flight, sick as a dog. I ran to the tiny bathroom and was having horrible diarrhea on the porta toilet while throwing up in the bathroom. You have no idea how gross it was! I tried my best to clean it up while still felling horribly sick. When I left that bathroom there was a huge line waiting to get in. I pitied the next person in there. When we finally arrived back home I was barely able to make it to our car. I don't know why it happened but it was one of the worst experiences of my life! Great trip to London though!

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  48. Oh wow!! What a crazy experience!

    A few years ago on our way back from Portugal I got stopped at customs because they said my passport was stolen. What the what?!?! We were brought back in a holding room and everything. I wasn't treated like a criminal, but they sure were questioning me. That was clearly my passport! We were actually heading to Spain in 2 wks as well and they told me I'd need a new passport before I could do so. The confiscated my passport. Well, that cost A LOT of money to get it so fast. Then when I was at custom's in Spain they questioned me there too! But once my husband started explaining everything in Spanish they just let me right on through. I guess there is a secret code for native speakers ;)

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  49. I'm so glad you're okay. What a way to start the trip. Though the travel accommodations up in business class look pretty wonderful!
    Hoping that was the only time you felt sick on the trip

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  50. Cassie,
    You are so funny and still so cute! I am having a stressful day at work and when that happens, I go to your site for my mental breaks during the day. Knowing you and John and having seen you get married almost 15 yrs ago I really appreiciate this story. I love your site, and have shared with coworkers and friends and they all love it too!Keep the great stuff coming, it keeps me going on days when I need a good laugh or some new ideas or just some good memories. So happy to see your darling family, your kids are so sweet and cute. Would love to see you if you sometime when you are in Nashville!

    Debbie Craig(AB Studios) Winsted- only signing anonymous b/c don't have time right now to set up an account.

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    1. Debbie, Debbie, Debbie!!! So great to hear from you! Thanks for the sweet note, and for reading and sharing my blog! Miss the whole AB crew!
      xoxoxox

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  51. OH my goodness girl! That is horrible! And yes, British Airways is the bomb -- we flew home in business class from an overseas trip once and it was ahhhhmazing. So glad you were feeling better fast!

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  52. What the what?!?! I was freaked out that you were going to say you passed out while going down the stairs from the plane! Thank God you got to your husband before it got real ugly. That is ca-razy! So glad to hear you're ok!

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  53. Sorry you got sick. When we flew from the US to Italy in coach we were fed two full meals and unlimited snacks and drinks.

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Your comments are like crack, or popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. And unfortunately, because of insane amounts of spam, I've had to disable Anonymous comments for awhile. I just didn't need any more information on penis enlargements! But you can always email me! xoxo, cass

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