A little over three years ago, for the first time, we decided to pay an annual fee for a credit card, one that would give us frequent flier miles on American Airlines. It is surprising how fast the points add up when you charge everything from fast food to plumbing bills on the card. We used miles to get from Buenos Aires to Miami last year and our flights (except for those to the islands--we are earning points on those flights) on this trip were purchased with points. There is a real maze one must navigate with various point levels and classes of service to consider. For instance: I soon discovered that we could fly from Green Bay to Quito for the same number of miles it would cost from Miami to Quito. Forget driving to Miami and flying from there, we'll start the trip from Green Bay. Well, you've already heard how that went!
So when all was said and done, we had a mix of economy flights and business/first class legs. Green Bay to Quito was business/first class (they were the same thing on the 757s from ORD-MIA-OUI), but not out of GRB on the small Embraer. Quito to Lima will be economy, Lima to Santiago business, and Santiago to Green Bay (unfortunately) back to economy.
As a pilot, I had the best seat on the airplane. As passengers, RuthAnn and I have always been in the back with rest of the economy class proletariat. I've had my share of long flights with my knees jammed against the seat in front of me and having to move quickly when the person in that sest decided to recline.
First class flying......what can I say? I always knew it was nicer at the front of the plane, but had never experienced it. Wider seats, tons of legroom, trays stowed in the wide armrests instead of attached to the seat in front of you, attentive service, bottomless drink glasses for everything from water to champagne, and the food! Hot, tasty, and served on china with real silverware and cloth napkins!
On the ORD-MIA leg we were served a piping hot cheese omelet with delicious home fries, roll and fruit plate; the other choice was cold cereal. Flying from MIA-OUI we started eating as soon as we reached cruising altitude. The appetizer was a small china cup full of warm mixed nuts (accompanied, of course, with your beverage of choice). The starter was a nice green salad with vinaigrette dressing. The entree choices were chicken or fish and we both opted for the fish; a nice piece of halibut au gratin, sautéed veggies, and very tasty orzo. For dessert I went for the ice cream with hot fudge and nuts; RA, the cheese, cracker, and grape plate. Real food does exist on airplanes, you just have to sit up front!!