I’ve asked my two-year-old son Augustine to offer his thoughts on our recent 787-8 flight from Zurich to San Francisco on United Airlines in Polaris Business Class.
Last time Daddy asked me write up a trip report was after my very first flight from Los Angeles to London, also on a United Dreamliner. I was only six-months old then and slept through most of the flight. I know Mama and Daddy wish I would have slept through this flight as I did on that one, but that was not to be…
We’ve already heard Daddy’s opinion of me on this flight…now it’s my turn. First, to all those who think I only belong in economy class, I say go charter a private jet if you don’t want to share the cabin with me. I paid the same fare you did! (well, Daddy did) Second, I’m only two-years-old after all. Daddy says I’ll grow out of this “stage” quickly enough and soon be a perfect gentleman when I fly. People need to have a little understanding that despite valiant efforts to keep me quiet, I’m just a little kid. And it’s not like we could walk home or even take a boat.
I had just spent several weeks with my Oma and Opa in Germany and was looking forward to getting back to my own room, my own toys, my own books, and my own backyard. But this wasn’t just a drive across town, it was an intercontinental airplane trip. Mama would have preferred SWISS, but Daddy booked United so that we could upgrade to business class. I like the extra space in business class.
After having a lunch in the nice SWISS lounge prior to boarding (though Daddy is getting cheap…last time we splurged for SWISS First Class but today Daddy said that I no longer needed an enclosed space…boy did I prove him wrong!)
Boarding was announced and we made our way down the jetbridge. A lady stopped to check our passports and took so long that Daddy was not able to get the pictures of the cabin he wanted without people. Personally, I would have spent more time in the lounge and boarded last.
United Airlines 45
Zurich (ZRH) – San Francisco (SFO)
Saturday, May 4
Duration: 11hr, 55min
Seat: 3L (“Polaris” Business Class)
As I walked onto the plane, a friendly lady said hello and pointed me through the galley and to my left. I counted 1, 2, 3, 4…36 seats in business class, which is divided into a front and rear cabin with three rows of six seats each in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Finding my own seat (Mama technically had the window seat, but I took it), I climbed on it and starting exploring.
There was plenty of legroom for my little legs, though I’d imagine some older people might find the space for your feet a little constraining when sleeping.
A flight attendant offered me a beverage of choice, but when I tried to order a cocktail daddy said I had to stick to water.
Waiting at my seat was an amenity kit. Daddy said that United has a brand new parter for its amenity kit, some woman named Sunday Riley. The contents included a face moisturizer, lip balm, hand creme, cleansing facial cloth, and the usual junk like a writing pen, dental kit, earplugs, eyeshade, and socks.
A wonderful flight attendant named Jon (who daddy wrote about here) came around the cabin with a friendly smile and welcomed us onboard. He knelt down and gave me an extra special welcome, including United wings.
Daddy thought the picture below was best, but some guy photobombed it. And that guy looks so familiar, but I cannot put my finger on it..
I guess I should say here that Jon was great the entire flight. Even when I acted up a bit later in the flight, he was all smiles and helped to keep me calm.
Jon also handed out menus. Although I had eaten a big lunch in the SWISS lounge (and breakfast before that), I’m always hungry and eagerly looked over the menu, wistfully awaiting the culinary adventure that awaited me.
As we prepared to takeoff, we encountered a slight delay (due to traffic), but were soon ready for takeoff. It was nap time for me and I fell asleep sitting up reading.
But the takeoff jolted me awake and so my nap of 15 minutes would have to tide me over…
Once we climbed above the clouds, Jon offered me a hot towel. Daddy said it was for face and hands, but I used it to clean my seat.
Next came mixed nuts. I like eating nuts because Mama and Daddy like eating nuts. Mama prefers almonds but I like the cashews. More water for me as well.
As I wanted for lunch, I read the Hemispheres magazine, played with my toy airplane, and looked out the window:
An appetizer tray arrived with some nasty little thing Mama called pâté, which I was not even allowed to put in my mouth. I did eat the salad without dressing and had a pretzel roll. The salad had mangos on it, which I love!
I’m not sure what all the fuss was about, but Daddy got excited when he saw my glass. Something about a flower. What’s so great about this tulip?
He said it reminded him of the “good old days”. But he added that United never had Laurent Perrier Champagne back in the day…
Daddy ordered chicken and Mama ordered fish. They said they would share with me, though I would have preferred my own plate. Then again, I’m not sure I was eating for any other reason than to pass the time by this point. Daddy liked his chicken a lot. Mama said her fish was fine, though she would have preferred it without the sauce.
My request for ice cream was vetoed. I was given a single cracker and piece of cheese instead. Daddy, however, had ice cream. He also had a couple macarons. Hypocrite!
Now it was time for bed…or so my parents thought. Daddy took me into the lavatory where I entertained myself for a few minutes. There, I noticed that the Sunday Riley amenities were also present as well as a clothes cleaner for people like me who are prone to spill.
We returned to the seat and Daddy prepared the bed. He also read me a story and we sang a song (softly) and then he wished me goodnight.
I laid there for a few minutes, but I just wasn’t tired and soon started whining. For crying out loud, it was 3:00 PM German time. Why should I sleep in the middle of the afternoon?
Sensing that I would not sleep, Daddy put on The Lion King for me. I tried to watch it, but it was boring…I wanted to watch the airplane documentary like I did on my SWISS flight to Germany. Thus, I squirmed again.
So Daddy and I made some laps around the economy class cabin. There was a really nice flight attendant in the back of the plane named Mitch who made a nice ballon for me using one of his gloves. He told Daddy to enjoy this time now because I’d soon be a rebellious teenager!
This went on for….several hours.
Finally, with only about 2.5 hours left before San Francisco, I finally fell asleep.
Daddy was so relieved, he ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. He was impressed that rather than hide in the galley, the FAs (like Nicholas, the purser) proactively offered snacks to passengers. There was also a snack cart set up outside the galley with apples and sweet/salty snacks plus a sign advertising the soup (both tomato and vegetarian chili) plus grilled cheese sandwiches available.
It wasn’t 45 minutes later when the lights were turned up and the pre-arrival meal service started. I slept right through it…
Mama and daddy had one of each, a Hamburger Wellington and macaroni & cheese pie. Both were served with a tomato and mozzarella salad and chocolate.
Meanwhile, I kept sleeping.
As we neared San Francisco, Mama raised my seat up with about 15 minutes left in flight. I remained asleep, even as the plane landed and we taxied to the gate. They had to shake me awake.
Well, I can’t say it was my best flight. These afternoon flights are difficult, after all. But I sure appreciated Jon and Mitch…and Mama and Daddy for putting up with me. I love airports and airplanes (Mama blames Daddy for that)…I’m just not so good at flights yet. But don’t worry, I’ll get there. I won’t be terrorizing your premium cabins for much longer.