Every time I board a long-haul flight with a ticket for a premium cabin seat my expectations are high. When it is a flight in Continental‘s BusinessFirst cabin those expectations might be (probably irrationally) even higher. I’ve had a number of great BF experiences and when I used my last system-wide upgrade to confirm into my favorite seat on that plane – 8E – I had pretty high expectations. I suppose it is no surprise that they were not met given that setup. Still, it was a bit disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong – the seat was still just as awesome as I expected. The foot-well in the bulkhead rows is notably larger than that of the other rows and that makes a big difference for a taller passenger. And the overall seat + IFE experience was top-notch, giving me time to watch a few movies interspersed amongst some naps to pass the time.
|The difference in the foot-well space in the bulkhead and other rows in the new BusinessFirst seats is noticeable for taller passengers.|
Dinner was a typical multi-course affair. The appetizer and salad were fine, though not particularly special. I was somewhat impressed that the flight attendant took care of one of the nearby passengers and his request for more of the garlic bread even before the service got into full swing but that level of service didn’t extend very far.
For the main courses there was no misSteak™ on the menu. This made my choice a bit harder. I decided against the pork chop and went with the salmon instead. I got what I deserved: a somewhat overcooked piece of salmon.
The cheese course was, as always, pretty if not particularly flavorful.
And apparently I consumed my ice cream sundae so fast that I forgot to take a photo of it. So that’s a good sign, I suppose.
Still, there were a few misses in the service that made the overall experience less than stellar. The drink service was slow on the refills, somewhat surprisingly for a flight with 30% of the cabin empty, and there were a number of requests made that weren’t filled. None significant enough at the time to be an issue but overall the pattern was such that it was apparent the crew wasn’t really in to actually providing service on this particular flight.
Breakfast time – served well after noon in the arrival time zone – was the real service miss that defined the flight for me. Given the choice between cereal and eggs I actually asked what the cereal was. Apparently this was an insult to the flight attendant taking my order; things went downhill from there. I ultimately did choose the Corn Flakes as my breakfast as when they were thrown down on my tray table I realized that apparently asking what the cereal option would be was a bad idea.
I also was somewhat excited for a cinnamon roll as part of my breakfast. When they didn’t show up in the basket I jokingly noted that they must not have been loaded on the flight. About 5 minutes later a plate with two of them, minus the frosting, was tossed on my tray table. Not good to skip confirming whether I wanted them or not. Pretty awful the way they were presented.
Overall the flight was fine. It really probably doesn’t deserve real complaints. Still, there were enough little things gone wrong that it bugged me. The service was definitely not up to the standards that I generally expect from a Continental BusinessFirst crew; definitely worse than my prior experience flying Hong Kong to Newark two months prior.
- Dining under the train tracks: Tokyo’s Yakitori Alley
- Checking in: My pod at the Hotel Nihonbashi Villa
- The life of a tuna at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market
- Did I really just downgrade myself on a long haul flight?!?
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