British Airways business class from London City to JFK, New York
Airline food has a dodgy reputation. For sure, altitude and cabin pressure ruin the best taste buds. But is this an excuse for a tray carrying a main of scalding hot and hard-to-identify ingredients, some form of sponge dessert created in the 1950s, watery juice and a jaw-breaking bread roll? This is an area where BA's new business-class only flight to New York from London City airport tries to be different.
The cabin interior helps create the mood. It's a match for most private jets and is as stylish as many restaurants, with shiny white curves and clever lighting. The food also helps. A traditional British menu is overseen by Lawrence Keogh, head chef at Roast. The delicate asparagus salad served with a glass of champagne on the leg to Ireland got things off to a subtle start (a touchdown at Shannon is to refuel, but allows you to clear customs, saving time in New York).
Among the mains, corn-fed chicken with Somerset cider sauce seemed to win most praise. But for me, the highlight was an Eton mess so good I had to try another to make sure. With wine chosen by Jancis Robinson to match the food, all that remained was the tough choice of watching films or flattening out the bed and sleeping it off. Somehow, I forgot that the flight is equipped with OnAir, a technology that allows email and mobile phones to work, thus making "going back to the office" a feasible third option.