Getting to Montreal IS Half the Fun in First Class

Nov 23, 2016 Avatar Hilton Smith Hilton Smith

With the right planning, travel can still be fun, comfortable and enjoyable. A return trip to an old favorite proved that once again.

I had five days to enjoy unique and welcoming Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This was even more so with true First Class travel, a very favorable exchange rate and extremely friendly locals. Award travel works well if you plan ahead.

My early November trip was planned back in March. My reward was a “free” First Class ticket via New York/JFK and then on to Montreal. This was on the only true Transcontinental First Class service both ways.

American Airlines uses new three-class Airbus A321’s, with only about 105 passengers. The reason for the low count is the large amount of space per passenge,r with both lie-flat beds in First Class and in Business Class.

I was in First Class with 1-1 seating in 5 rows for a total of just 10 seats. It was perfect for privacy, not for chatting.

If you want to engage in conversations, the 2-2 in Business Class is much better. I was traveling on my own, so First Class was fine.

To start off, I utilized American’s Five Star Service available at select airports for a fee.

Starting at $250.00, I was met at curb-side, escorted into the exclusive Flagship LAX check-in, speeded through TSA Security (with the help of Pre Check) and then past the Admiral’s Club directly into the sparsely attended International Flagship First Class Lounge. Valerie took responsibility for me and when the flight was called, she picked me up in the lounge, escorted me to the gate and onto the plane and to my seat, 2A.

On board, the flight was very comfortable, the food good and the onboard entertainment sufficient. The service was not warm and fuzzy, but it was fine. At New York/JFK, I used the Flagship Lounge there as well. Food and drink offerings were extensive and it was easy to get a full hot meal in these lounges before or after my flights.

I have covered Montreal in an earlier article, but this time an unusually long Fall Foliage season added to the charm.

I stayed in Old Montreal at the always convenient Place d’ Armes. It is just across the square from Notre Dame Cathedral. The hotel is in a heritage building, but the interiors are modern-day comfortable.

A very buttery leather easy chair, ottoman and a fireplace in my room got some use during my stay.

Notable meals included a lunch downtown in the slightly irreverent Cafe De Ville, with great hamburgers and fixings and the casual but interesting Chez Suzette in Old Montreal, with the best French Onion Soup this side of Paris.

With some longer trips deferred, creative thinking on closer-to-home destinations can reveal charming alternatives within reach. Montreal always qualifies as an historic and layered alternative to Europe, but still with much of its charm. Let TravelStore take you there.