I was privileged enough today to fly LHR – JFK in First Class. A detailed trip report can be found here, but I wanted to explore the idea that something perceived as the preserve of the rich and famous is actually something that is a vehicle to dissolve the class barriers. Let me explain…
On board BA0173 from LHR to JFK there are 14 seats in the First class cabin and, today, they are all full. The following is my impression of my fellow travellers:
1A/K are old, British and enjoying their trip. They are probably spending their money on luxury travel as they don’t need to slum it in the back thanks to wise investments prior to retirement.
2A is an American woman who has travelled in BA First on numerous occasions and knows what to expect. She is good banter, and knows how to charm the crew.
2K is me – a teacher on Summer holidays flying in First as part of a ‘cheap’ ex-EU fare on the way to Las Vegas (as you well know, from reading this blog and following the trip on Twitter with #MrAdoesVegas). I have flown First before using Avios, but this is my third (and first paid for with cash) sector.
3A is a businessman; he has been reading work files for the first part of the flight and is now enjoying his lunch when the rest of the cabin is relaxing.
3K is having his first First (although is probably a frequent flyer) as he told the Senior Cabin Crew Member. He has his bed made up as soon as possible.
4A/K, 5A/K seem to be business types but are too far away for me to get to know.
4E/F are most likely on an Avios Redemption, perhaps a 2for1 and enjoying their first First. They were wearing their First PJs at T-25mins and dined together.
5E/F are travelling with an infant, probably between 12 and 24 months.
As you can see from my assumptions*, it is a very diverse cabin, from all walks of life and travelling for many different reasons. We have all probably paid a range of fares, from Avios plus taxes to several thousands of pounds and our net worth most likely vary immensely.
But is doesn’t matter one iota on board which is where British Airways shows its true egalitarian colours.
We were all greeted personally by Greg, the Senior Cabin Crew Member. He was delightful, with his iPad, chatting to everyone individually on the taxiway.
We have each had personal service: Lady American has been a fan of the white wines, and has had the fleet of wines with her meal; Mr&Mrs2for1 dined together, with him chivalrously moving to the companion seat for lunch; MrsRetirement didn’t want to trouble Carol, but got a pillow and duvet for a post-lunch siesta.
Sitting here, in my spacious pod, looking out over a sea of clouds in an aircraft that has travelled (probably!) millions of miles, it doesn’t matter who I am, how much I have in the bank or how I paid for my ticket. What matters is that I am travelling in First, and I will be treated as such.
And for that, I am truly grateful.
*I know that my assumptions are 100% judgemental and I don’t mean to cause offence; they are just my best guess as to my fellow travellers.