I flew out of Auckland in the best Qantas could offer, business class on a 747, no first class on the plane. But the seats were new, state-of-the-art, and reclined into full, flat beds.
My neighbor in the adjoining seat, Phil, is a motor yacht captain, who was flying to Ft. Lauderdale to take the boat’s owner into the Caribbean. His wife is, as he called it, “chief stewardess” on the boat, so they travel together, but she was already there. He commands a crew of six.
He told me that the luxury yacht, Le Masquerade, which you can see in other photos here, the huge white one berthed outside the Park Hyatt, was nearly 200 feet long and cost about $60 million.
The flight was exquisite, I slept for six of the eleven hours, and pulled my usual hocus pocus at LAX: I try to travel with just my briefcase and a carry-on, and I flew to Australia and then New Zealand with no problem. But in New Zealand there are a lot of cranky and bureaucratic people with Qantas, and they told me on the first flight, to Auckland, that the bag was too big, and on the second, to LAX, that it was too heavy. (It was neither on the way out.)
So, I allowed them to check it through to Boston, but when I pick it up in LAX to clear customs, I simply keep it, and American Airlines, much less cranky, has no problem accommodating it in first class on the way to Boston. That prevents it from being lost and saves me 45 minutes when I land at 11 pm in Boston.
More kudos for American: At LAX, the terrific club has private shower rooms. There is a luggage platform, vanity, hair dryer, bathroom, and shower. I was able to shave, shower, and change my clothes (not possible if I hadn’t reclaimed my bag) and felt great. The flight attendants and I were talking jewelry while waiting for the plane to board (they loved my ring) and they commented that I didn’t look like I had flown in from halfway around the world.
“They have excellent facilities at your club,” I pointed out.
“We wouldn’t know, we don’t have access to excellent facilities,” they smiled.
It’s been a fabulous trip. I’m taking the next two weeks “off,” except for phone calls and some writing. I’m contemplating the fact that the upcoming Million Dollar Consulting® College in April, and the 627 and 0-300 Workshops in May just could be the final such offerings of those programs. Then I’m on to other things.
My driver picks me up in the stretch limo in Boston (I’m posting this from the limo), and I hope to be home sometime just after midnight. I haven’t a clue what time it really is for me, but I know the dogs will be happy to see me.
© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.