As part of my weekend visit to Blogfest in the fair city of London, I took it upon myself to book my trains for the journey early to get the best possible prices. On booking my return ticket I was offered an upgrade to first class for a bargainous amount. Knowing this would be a long journey, I decided to treat myself.
First Class was not a luxury I’d ever treated myself to before, so I was very excited. I imagined an Orient Express level of glamour and opulence, and my very favourite thing – freebies.
On my outward journey I presented myself eagerly at that hallowed of all places – the First Class Lounge at the station. Upon my slightly smug arrival, I was informed that as I’d had the audacity to book in advance I would have to pay a further £5 to enter the lounge. Being the good Northern girl I am I refused, and flounced off in a huff. My train was then cancelled, fortunately I had been my usual pathologically early self and was able to board an earlier train. This was lucky, as one member of staff cheerfully told me that if I’d had to wait for the next one I was not guaranteed a seat at all, let alone the First Class one I’d already paid for. Hmm.
Not letting a couple of set backs deter me, I boarded the train onto the disappointingly average looking First Class coach, and was immediately offered a hot drink. Ruffled feathers became instantly smoothed, and after playing around with my rather comfortable adjustable chair, I settled into my journey. The free wi-fi was an unexpected bonus, but I soon realised the signal strength was as intense as a rather tepid shower feels, and abandoning any hope of using the internet for any prolonged time I did what I usually do when not in First Class and read.
The meal I received (free of charge, of course) was something I’d been looking forward to, but ended up being distinctly sub standard, and certainly not as nice as the train picnics I’d provided for myself In the past.
Nevertheless the free gin and tonics were perfectly delicious and refreshing.
I went to use the toilet, which I discovered was out of order, prompting me to walk to the next carriage, where a rather large queue was forming. Luckily I have always been able it ‘hold on’ at will, earning me the nickname of ‘iron bladder’ by my family, which I now feel sounds like a Game of Thrones character.
The return journey is actually worse – if that can be believed. My seat didn’t adjust at all, meaning that right now I am sat up remarkably straight which I’m sure is wonderful for my posture but is not the most comfortable for a long journey. I am sat beside another out of order ‘convenience’ which is not the most pleasant smelling. The plug which I was hoping to use to charge my phone is not working – which the guard cheerfully told me was something he’d noticed on the previous journey. About an hour ago eh offered to see if there was a spare seat anywhere else for me – alas he has not returned.
Is First Class worth the premier price tag? Unfortunately, no. Other than the comfortable chair (providing yours is working), and cuppas on demand, East Coast have not provided me with the level of lushness I was hoping for.
First Class is a First Class waste of your money.