{02/07/2012}   First Class travel

                Yesterday, I got the train to Leeds.  It was the 11.03, the first train not disrupted by the Olympic torch and the first reasonably timed train that didn’t require changing trains in illogical places.  I had my £94 train ticket and I walked (pulling a heavy case, largely comprising work clothes, toiletries and equipment) the length of the train.  As far as I could see (15 minutes before departure) all seats either had reservation tickets or were occupied.  Plus, of most concern to me, the luggage areas were full, very full.  So I went back to First Class and got on.

                I have never travelled First Class on a train.  For £25 extra, as was the case on East Coast, I felt a need to think of lots of excuses and reasons to put the additional receipt in to work.  I feel the above reasons were enough.  But I now see why, once you dabble in First Class travel, you turn your nose up at the prospect of peasant class ever again.  I had a large single seat with a large table and plug socket, wi-fi all the way and, probably best of all, food and drinks: sandwiches, posh crisps, shortbread, fruit juice and tea.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable journey.

I have, however, travelled First Class (it might have been Business Class but I have had a few short haul Business Class upgrades that have been pretty much the same as peasant class) on a plane before, twice in fact, once from Kansai Airport, Japan, to Manila and once from Vienna to Kansai.  The Manila flight was my most memorable.

I was travelling to Manila to stay with a good friend who lived there.  It was a year after my dad had died and I was feeling a bit emotional.  I had checked in and was en route to the departure gate.  I was sitting on the loo and I heard a tannoy announcement, but as there are always announcements at airports, I didn’t pay attention until I heard “Miss Karina Roberts”.  Panic.  The message was repeated, that I was to proceed to the gate and speak to a member of staff.  I felt sick with worry; I was convinced something unthinkable had happened to my mum.  I did the necessaries on the loo and pelted to the gate where I made myself known, “Ah, Miss Roberts, I’m afraid [panic, panic] we’ve had to change your ticket.”  I didn’t hear the rest, I was unbelievably relieved.  I numbly handed over my ticket in exchange for another and was told to board straight away.

I ended up in First Class and as there were so few people in First Class I had my own flight attendant!  He was wonderful.  I enjoyed my welcome glass of champagne and was offered a vast array of savoury snacks.  All those I selected, he refreshed as I finished them.  I pretty much ate and drank my way through the flight, so much so I arrived in Manila a little woozy.  But that was fine as my friend’s driver collected me, took me to her family house and there I was laid down and given an extraordinarily boisterous yet delightful massage … after all the stresses and strains, ahem, of my journey there.  Now that is how I dream of travelling.  Would winning millions change me?  Nah … well …

I think about things in my blogs that I see are consistent themes, and one of those is moaning about “poshos”, I am well aware that I can be a total hypocrite at times and am only anti-snob until I get to experience posho luxuries!  To conclude – now, this is an obvious and easy conclusion – go First Class, it rocks!  With the added bonus that upgrades were “not available” on my journey so, said with a slight smile, “you might not be able to pay”; free upgrade, whoop!


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