I am actually kind of uncomfortable because I am entirely too comfortable. I am sitting in a big purple seat with plush pink pillows that reclines all the way down into a bed, and because I realized about twenty minutes ago that my seat has a massage option, I have been getting a nice, firm backrub for about nineteen minutes. I am sipping a glass of bubbly champagne and I have a hot towel wrapped around my neck. My legs are propped up on the cushioned foot rest in front of me, and I have just been given a white linen tablecloth upon which will be placed my hot Korean lunch in a few minutes.
For those of you who know me (or know anything about the way I travel, have traveled, did travel, dream of traveling, etc.), this is not the normal me. The normal me is crunched into a ball in coach with the rest of the travelers, stomaching something like a granola bar or a bag of peanuts, my head cocked to one side in an often-futile attempt to get some sleep. While this certainly doesn’t sound like an enticing traveling experience, I’ve traveled this way for so long that I never even considered upgrading to business or first class. So how did this happen? As a wonderful surprise from Thai Airways, we were presented with upgraded tickets to the Royal Silk business class when we arrived at the terminal because we are traveling to write and promote their airline and country. The Royal Silk business class, provided on the brand new 777-300ER aircraft, is a fantastic combination of comfort and service. And this, of course, seems to be just the very essence of the Thai way 🙂
Sitting here sipping a glass of champagne in Thai Airway’s Royal Silk class has been an absolute joy. For one, the service has been absolutely amazing—the attendants have brought warm towels every few minutes, are wonderfully attentive, and are always smiling. Our first meal of the flight came with an appetizer of two boiled shrimp atop leafy greens, warm bread, and ended with coffee and a little chocolate pastry. My Korean lunch—chicken and rice in a red sauce—smells delicious wafting out of the kitchen behind me. This entire flight feels like an experience itself, rather than simply a means to an end. I know all of this must sound nuts to those of you who travel business- or first-class on a regular basis, but for me, being waited on like this is simultaneously awkward, unusual, and wonderful.
One part awkward, one part unusual, and one part wonderful….this is the way travel is supposed to be at its best, I think. Never too luxurious, never too painful, and definitely never too ordinary. I guess this is a fitting beginning, then, to my first journey to Thailand.
I don’t want to get used to this simply because I know I might not be able to buy a Royal Silk Class ticket for a long time (at least until after graduate school), but for now, I’m slightly ok with feeling a little out of my element 🙂 Cheers!