While some people get to take frequent first class flights for their work, flying anything other than economy remains an expensive luxury for most of us. Perhaps you’ll get lucky with a free upgrade. In the meantime, read on as Rachel Hand describes what really happens in first class.
At check-in my husband and I mentioned that we had just got married, but had been told that we could pay for an upgrade if we wanted one, at nearly double our original airfare! We politely refused. Then, as we queued to board our second flight after transiting, we were suddenly handed our new boarding passes. I boarded the plane in complete excitement. After years of flying long-haul between Southeast Asia and the UK, I had finally got lucky and scored a free upgrade.
We sat down in our ultra-wide, soft seats with larger-than-normal television screens facing us and plenty of space to stretch out. Before we could fully come to terms with our luxurious surroundings we were immediately served glasses of champagne, in real champagne flutes, and given a selection of free newspapers. This was nothing like my usual flying experiences in economy class.
As we settled down to watch some of the massive selection of in-flight movies, with flight attendants ready to serve us efficiently and politely whenever we wanted something, for once I wished I was on a longer flight. With only seven hours to enjoy these luxurious flying standards, I wanted to make the most of this opportunity.
Restaurant Service in the Air
Usually, sitting behind in economy, the flight attendant offers the choice of “chicken or fish?” as the staple plane food is served up on plastic trays, with plastic cutlery and miniature-sized drinks. First class is a whole different dining experience. With a lengthy menu to choose from, our food and drinks were of a much higher quality and served on real plates, in real glasses, and with real cutlery. It was like eating at a top-end restaurant.
No one likes an airplane toilet, but even the bathroom was more pleasant than in economy class. A selection of toiletries, all of better quality than in economy, and no long queues to go to the loo, were unexpected benefits.
Stretch, and Stretch Further
If you have entered a plane, walking through the first and business class areas to get to economy, you know how wide those seats look. Well, they feel wide too, and soft, and relaxing. Had I been able to get over the excitement of all those first class perks, I would have sunk into a deep sleep with my chair fully reclined. It’s almost as good as being in bed, and the service is so much better!
Have you flown first class? How was your experience?