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••• The International Writers Magazine - 21 Years on-line - Travel Pre-Virus

The First-Class Experience
• Todd M Clayton Jr
Before this pandemic hit the world, I travelled the world First-Class and I wanted to share my experience with new travellers and other people.

Emirates First Class

I travelled first class on a handful of airlines, and Trains and even a Cruise Ship. This experience of travelling first class was the best anyone can have if they like to travel for business or on holiday.  The airlines that I enjoyed and some of the best staff was with Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and Delta, and out of those three Emirates was a great experience.

The first-class amenities on these airlines are out of this world along with great service, These amenities can range from pyjamas, cardigans to a small kit that comes in a nice case and contains a toothbrush, toothbrush, eye mask, earplugs, and an assortment of other products for the traveller and they also have a beautiful faux leather journal with a pen for writing your travel adventure in. Being in the first class are aboard the Emirates Airline, I was served a glass of champagne as a pre-flight drink and a delicious date. Once the plane took off and we had hit cruising altitude I was able to get up and check out the lounge and bar along with finding out that there were showers in the first-class restrooms. That I thought was cool, taking a shower at 38.000 feet in the air was just an interesting concept. 

Emirates First Class The seat in the Emirates First Class was also like a small hotel room they call it a suite or a cabin depending on which jet model you are flying. I had my door for privacy, and the flight attendant will come and make your bed for you when you're ready to sleep, see the chairs in first-class suites fold down 180 degrees to become flat, then the flight attendant puts a mattress topper on it followed by a sheet and blanket along with a soft pillow.

In the morning they bring you breakfast and straighten your suite up again, while you are in the shower get freshen up, one thing to note the shower has a five-minute timer. The flight crew was just super friendly and always made sure I was well taken care of during the flight. Most of the time I usually fly in Business Class, but I do splurge sometimes to fly first class, or I ask if an upgrade is possible, and sometimes they accommodate me with an upgrade to first class. Don’t get me wrong Business Class is also good, as you get some of the same amenities as you would in the First Class, just without the room like feeling and there are usually more people in the Business Class than there is in the First Class.

You’re asking what it is like before getting on the plane, and that’s a good question. Most of the airports have good luxury lounges for their first-class passengers, and the business passengers as well. If you have a Priority Pass you can have access for over 13,000 lounges at many airports. This was a great purchase for me, even when I flew business or sometimes Economy if I can’t get an upgrade, having this pass will still let me get into the lounges and use the amenities that they have. Some of these lounges consist of private cabana rooms, where you can relax in quiet and take a nap before your flight. They may also have showers to freshen up before the flight as well, these cabanas may also consist of room service for food and drinks, but most don’t so there are plenty of sitting areas with a buffet and/or menu to order from. They even consist of a bar if Alcohol is permitted.  The service at most of these lounges is just as friendly as the ones on the airlines themselves. 

Some airlines don’t have lounges of their own, so they have agreements with other airline companies to use their lounges for the passengers. Looking out the large windows on to the apron, watching planes move to load and take-off positions, which is a fascinating past-time waiting for your flight.

Some of the great service that these airlines offer to their Business and first-class passengers is care service to and from the airport, along with a buggy to the terminal from the lounge, if the lounge is far from the boarding terminal, if not they have a private walkway to the plane.

Let me discuss a little more about these great lounges, a few have spas and barbers/hairstylist. Some have a children’s area if you happen to be travelling with your children or family members. Others may have Cigar and Wine rooms to relax in and hold small conversations with friends or meet new people that are also travelling to the same destination that you are.  There is so much going on while you are shopping at the Duty-Free Stores, you may forget why you are there.

Blue Train SA Flying first-class or even Business is the best and the only way to fly, but flying isn’t the only way to travel first class around to many destinations in the world. Another way to see the sites is by train and there are two types of sleeping accommodation besides the economy class cars. The first type for your privacy is a roomette, which is a small two-person cabin with a fold-down bunk bed which one is the two chairs. Some have a toilet and a sink, but most don’t, and the bathroom and showers are usually located in another location within the car, so remember not to leave personal items in the bathroom.

Depending on the train or what you have included with your travel pass, your meals may or may not be included. So, when you head to the dining care you may ask the car conductor, they are happy to help the passengers. The second accommodations are the bedroom, which has a little bit more room, these rooms usually have a long couch style sitting area that may be turned into a bed, then there is an overhead bed as well. These rooms have counters with a sink with storage for your luggage, they also have a shower area (it is set up like a wet bath found in small Camping Trailers).

The food is usually including with this boarding pass, and when you head to the dining if you are alone, they will seat you with strangers. So, its good to be prepared for that experience of meeting new people that are sharing the same experience as you.  You do get to meet some interesting people and some that will stay friends for a long time to come. Photo: Blue Train - South Africa Blue Train Bar ZA

Trains do take a little longer than planes do, but that is part of the fun as well. Seeing all the different stops and the close-up scenery of the land you are travelling over. They may not be able to cover all the land like a plane flying over does, but they are all the same relaxing travel. Just as the first-class cabin on a plane, a steward will come and fix up your roomette of bedroom for the evening and come and fix it back up in the morning.  They will do it while you are at dinner or preparing for bed in the bathroom.  Some trains will deliver dinner and/or breakfast to your room if you request it.

Once you have done the first-class experience on the trains or planes going back to the economy is rough.  There are many advantages of travelling first class, you get to board first, go through a private security area before boarding.  Access to lounges, including food and drinks that are included within the ticket price. I think the benefits of first-class out the way the price of the first-class tickets in the long run, especially on long flights.

I love keeping a travel journal of the places I have been, are going and want to go to, I also keep a record of what airlines have a good staff, clean planes and a lounge or what lounge is accessible with what airline. There is also a section that I use for travelling on trains and cruise ships. It’s always a good idea to write what airlines were good in service, what airports were the friendliness. Making notes on what you liked about the adventure including the lounges, hotels and transportation service because when you go and make your next travel plans you will know roughly what you want to do and with what service.

Domestic flights may have a different type of first-class areas on the planes, but they are still worth the price and are enjoyable.

Queen Mary First Class Dining The cruise ship is a whole different world, but they operate just as if they were an air service and train service. Cruise ships have a great set of luxury first-class cabins. Cruise ships are like floating cities, rooms that look like hotel and apartments (just without kitchens), many different types of stores to shop at, and restaurants to eat at even buffet style ones.
Photo: Queen Mary First Class Dining Room - Cunard

They have live entertainment, theme parks such as water parks, and casinos for the adults. They have movie theatres and pool areas with many types of fun games. There is something to do almost every minute while on the ship, you may have to sleep at least a few hours. 

The bars are always hoping with entertainment and plenty of people to make new friends with. These places are always staffed with some of the friendliest of staff. I had no complaints with any of the staff I had the pleasure of meeting.

Many standard cabins are like hotel rooms, they have a bed or two, a good size bathroom, a couch a closet and a desk. The small apartment as I called it was a great experience of a lifetime on the open water.

The luxury style apartment was two floors, the second floor is where the king-size bed was and the full bathroom, with a large shower that has three showerheads. These luxury suites are between 950 to 1700 sq. ft. The living room is large and can hold a small group of people, it had a 56” screen TV. These suites also have a large balcony that looks over that back of the cruise ship, there is no way one can get bored on a cruise ship of the calibre, there is so much to do along with your actual destination. These ships are an amazing wonder for the whole family.

Blue Train

Cunard Queen Mary


© Todd M Clayton Jr  July 2020

Freelance Writer
thedragonmaster34 at

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