x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

All business in this class

"Hrrmph. What's so great about flying business class?" said Calvin, my eight-year-old son.

'Hrrmph. What's so great about flying business class?" said Calvin, my eight-year-old son. He buckled up and carefully examined the stub of his Singapore Airlines business- class boarding pass.

"This is an Airbus A330. It has two engines and can carry more than 300 people," Calvin informed the chief steward when he came by with hot towels and snacks. "When I grow up, I'm going to own an A380. I've still got to work out the seating configuration. How many seats should business class have, you think?"

After take-off, Calvin spent a few minutes in rapt concentration trying out the futuristic console set in our armrests (each has several buttons that allow you to contort your seat in many wonderful ways). Then a stewardess came by with an activity pack ("That's for babies") and a bright blue raincoat: "I'm going to put it on right now because it's rainy in Singapore and I need to be prepared."

So with hem flapping, my plastic-clad son crackled his way to the washroom. "They've got some nice perfume in there," he said when he came back, smelling ghastly.

"What did you do, empty the entire bottle on yourself?" I gasped.

Ignoring me, he got back into his seat, reclined it fully, surfed through the menus offered by the in-flight KrisWorld entertainment system and began to watch Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa from a completely supine position. Then he touched a button and a stunning woman materialised.

"Can I help you?" asked the stewardess.

"You are so pretty,"said Calvin, flashing his dimple.

"Thank you. You have such a charming boy, ma'am," said the stewardess. "What can I do for you?"

"I'd like some orange juice, please, with a bendy straw," said Calvin. When the juice arrived, he placed the tumbler on his chest and, still flat on his back, drank without spilling a drop. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the chief steward watching in fascination. Later, about half-way into the seven-hour flight, I bumped into the steward on my way back from the washroom.

"Your son," he told me with undisguised admiration, "just tried to buy a model aeroplane from Duty Free, and worked out the currency conversion. Did you know he's really good at mental math?"

Calvin sauntered up at this point, waving an in-flight magazine. Behind him was the pretty stewardess with said plane.

"No, thank you," I said, gave Calvin a murderous look, and hustled him back to our seats.

As he finally settled down for a nap, I fussed over him with a blanket and pillows. He looked up at me sleepily. "Mum?"

"Yes, Calvin?"

"I'm so happy you brought me on this trip. I can't wait to see Singapore. And you know what? I quite like flying business class. I'm having a great time."

"Really? How strange," I said. "I'd never have guessed."



Business class airfare on Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeair.com) from Abu Dhabi to Singapore costs from Dh10,345 return, including taxes.