Heathrow – Houston – Tampa – Sarasota

It has been awhile since I crossed The Atlantic with Continental Airlines (last Thanksgiving) and it’s all the more interesting since I crossed with British Airways only 6 days ago. If there was a traveller’s equivalent of Alcoholics Anonymous I’m afraid I would be unable to make it past ‘Step One’.

Last weekend’s trip to NYC was on a whim – or more truthfully, a need to have a fix of the world’s ultimate city after a 3 month absence. This weekend’s trip is to witness, participate, contribute, admire the marriage of an incredibly special person – in fact the very first American I worked with back in October 1998. This will indeed be an exceptional few days.

Life is what you make of it – cliched but true. Our friendships and the effort we make to nurture them and learn from them defines us. I don’t think there is a luckier person in the world than me – I have some exceptional friends, and I am excited at spending some time with them in Sarasota.

BusinessFirst on Continental is an interesting experience. Continental is a two-class airline globally. In terms of Transatlantic it’s Coach and Business First. BusinessFirst is a Business/Club and First Class hybrid which works very well. In particular the meal service (unless you opt for a speedy executive variant) apes a white table cloth restaurant. Highly personalised, a lot of attention to detail and with very high food quality. It’s languid but that only serves to enhance the experience – basically a flight with a meal turns into a meal with a flight attached. That eats the miles.

It should also be noted that in both International BusinessFirst and Transcontinental First they deliver a bespoke icecream sundae like no other. Repeat. LIKE NO OTHER !

As for the entertainment system I reckon it’s one of the best in the sky. The video on demand is smooth and efficient but that only goes halfway to explain why it succeeds. The curation of material is incredible. On this flight 324 movies with a perfect balance of high and low brow. I am keen to find out who makes the selections. For example they run complete trilogies (Batman, Lord of The Rings etc). If then run a remake they also run the classic so we have Italian Job 1969 and 2003. Nothing makes a 9 hour flight appear supersonic than 29 hours of movies you feel you must see !

So where does that leave me ?

Tucking into an ice cream sundae drenched in caramel watching North By Northwest. Eat you heart out Roger O Thornhill.


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