Do not adjust your device! We haven't lost sight of our core values.. This is still a post about booze, but with a slightly fresh approach. It's not so much a drinks review, but more a review about drinking on a plane.
Last month Mrs LiquorJunky and I hopped on board a big shiny Aer Lingus Airbus A330, bound for the big apple. If that wasn't reason enough to raise a glass early on a Saturday morning, we found ourselves turning left at the door and being shown to two brand new posh seats up the front!
Aer Lingus offer, like a number of other airlines, a bidding system for certain passengers who book an economy class ticket on a number of routes! So Having booked return flights from Dublin to New York's JFK airport for Mrs Liquor Junky's recent birthday, I received one of the bidding emails and set about working out a figure! The online bid allows you to select an amount, per person, by adjusting a sliding scale.
Obviously the airline values their product, so offering $10 each and hoping for the best, isn't an option! On this particular flight the minimum offer was set at €330 and the maximum somewhere around €990! While I am not going to divulge how much I paid for the upgrade, as I don't want to increase my competition on future flights, I will confirm that we flew in the fancy seats for around half the price of a straight business class ticket!
The business class product includes more than just the seat, so after priority check in and fast track security, we settled into the Aer Lingus Lounge
The lounge was spacious and airy with floor to ceiling windows with a view of the apron, food was limited to cereal, pastries and butters plus some cheese. So not a great choice, especially as something hot would have been welcome for breakfast. This is the only place the business class product was slightly disappointing.
To drink, there was a good range from the help yourself bar, I stuck to coffee though, not because it was only 9am and didn't want to look like a, well, like myself any other trip, at the public airport bar, but mainly because the beer choice was limited to Heineken..... Nothing against the Dutch brew, it actually tastes pretty good. Unfortunately even looking at a bottle is enough to give me a harsh hangover.. But enough of that, before we knew it, it was time to board and time to drink.... Thanks to Aer Lingus for the pic of the posh seats below
By far the comfiest bar stool I have ever occupied. With more gadgets than a Swiss Army knife, the seat included a massage function, recline option and of course the option to lie flat! It genuinely does turn into a bed in the sky, with ample room for even the tallest of folk to sleep their way across the Atlantic! At 6'5" I was able to lie comfortably. .
On boarding we were warmly welcomed by the business cabin crew and while settling into our seats, the crew came round to offer pre flight drinks, we both choose Champagne, of course. Neither of us drink much champers, but I managed to get through two glasses, before the safety video. I wasn't drinking to get drunk, but I did want to make the most of the occasion. The bubbly was wet and refreshing, that's about the limit of my Champagne knowledge.. For those conissuers we were served some delicious Jean Pernet Tradition Brut NV
soon after take off the real fun began and the bar service commenced. With a wide choice of movies, both classics and new releases, along with tv shows and quite an impressive music collection to keep us entertained while we sipped, I began to mull over my choices. I had been eyeing up the wine list, but with lunch in the near future decided to start with a classic, A Jack and Coke at 35000 feet! Served in a proper glass over ice, the friendly crew member made conversation as he prepped our drinks. I considered ordering two, only to save him having to come back, but decided against it as didn't want to seem overly keen or overly alcoholic! No cause for alarm as he left an extra little bottle beside my canapés. If Aer Lingus ran a bar....
It is amazing at how excited you can get over a little plate of finger food. With nibbles in hand, The chair gave me a back rub while I made small talk with JD. Mrs Liquorjunky went for a glass of white, which appeared to be well received.
Although we were sat together, the layout of the seat means you can't see your companion unless you both sit forward. So with 6 hours of peace and quiet I had nothing else to do but get lost in my own little world and wait for the red wine to make an appearance. The onboard wifi is complimentary for business class travellers, so I wasted an hour trying to get a stream of the Ireland v Canada Rugby game, it didn't work out, but at no fault of the wifi, which was faster than I expected
my choice for lunch was beef so I paired that with a glass of Rioja. By the end of the flight I had paired it with the whole bottle, as the stewardess kept appearing to top it up.. Don't be fooled that I have a knowledge of wine or what way to drink it. The wine list gave me a steer in the right direction and it was a good advice, I have been trying to source a bottle of since we landed in New York. Lunch started with a salmon appetiser and ended with a cheese board, which went very well with the wine. The wine I choose was Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva from Spain
my only complaint about the whole experience was the Captains announcement that we would soon be landing. I have never wanted a flight to last longer, but seduced by great food, free booze and excellent service. Not to mention the incredible seat with all its gadgets, we were very sad when the wheels touched down at JFK.. Top Marks to Aer Lingus, their service is excellent.. We arrived in New York in good booze spirits, yet refreshed and relaxed ready to hit the bars..