I’m back in Vancouver now and about to head back to school today, just having finished my trip to New York and Hong Kong. On this trip, I I was tremendously lucky to try Asiana and All Nippon First Class. I’ve also flown United, Thai, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa First Class previously.
During the trip, I wrote about my experiences in real time about Asiana First Class Suites, Thai First Class Ground Services, and ANA Check-In and Rebooking, so I thought I’d write a final “real-time” post before I start my actual trip report.
I’ve certainly haven’t flown as much first class as many of the great bloggers, but I thought given that I’ve flown 27,000 Butt-In-Seat (BIS) miles over the past 19 days, that’s still a lot.
I actually feel these first class trip reports are difficult to write, because a lot of the flights are fairly similar in hard product. Certainly, some airlines have slightly better products than others, but at the end of the day you’re at the highest level of service, you’re generally have 6-16 seats in your cabin and a decent FA to passenger ratio, edible food, and turndown service with a mattress and duvet. Generally. I think bloggers who are able to take so many of these first class flights and actually remember all the details to nitpick about is actually really impressive.
Now that I’m actually in the position to write a trip report, I find it hard to critique the flights other than spewing back stuff like CX likes to take a hands off approach and only comes between meal services when you ring the call bell and other nitpicking things like that, which I already know from reading lots of trip reports. Sure, there are details about it, but nearly all of my international first class flights have been “first class” compared to my business class experiences.
I want to note is that actually a lot of the overall experience depends on the service level on the crew. I generally had decent crews for most of my flights, but surprisingly enough I think the best flight and crew on this trip was on United First Class from Sinagpore to Tokyo Narita. The crew really was well above the typical United crew (from my limited experience). I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but I would have gladly taken the TPAC flight with United with the same crew over both my Asiana and All Nippon F TPAC flights. I’ll cover full details in the trip report which I hope to write soon, but the crew was just one of the best I’ve had with just their really high attention to detail and just really friendly and personable.
One final point is that I think that you should be travelling for the destination as well as the product. I think circuitous routings to try/re-try new products, but definitely at points during the trip I was pretty drained and exhausted and I just wanted to be in a real bed rather than in a lounge or in a first class product. Maybe it’s just me, but I think international first class is just a nice way to travel. In nearly all cases I’ve found the food and sleep which are the one of the primary parts of first class flying to be better on the ground. One thing that just really stands out with first class flying are exceptional ground services and onboard services. And free things.
But I wouldn’t fly just to the sake of “flying” first class products. I think it’s important (in my opinion) that you be visiting a destination that you want to go to rather than just flying for the sake of flying (which is probably why for the most part I don’t do mileage runs).
So what should you take away?
International First Class is tremendously comfortable, no matter what airline you’re flying. Of course, you’ll have better odds getting a better flight flying an Asian or European airline rather than a North American one, but not always as in my case. Just be happy that you have miles, know how to use them or at least people that think they do (me! and BoardingArea), and have time to actually travel for the most part!