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Thoughts from my first First - lovely but far from perfect

Thoughts from my first First - lovely but far from perfect

Old Aug 26, 12, 9:14 am
  #1  
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Thoughts from my first First - lovely but far from perfect

Hi all

Like the title said, I have just flown my first First and it was only possible thanks to all the advice I've read in this forum so a big thanks for all the contributors to BAEC forum. In fact I had only flown Y before this trip so this was like going from one extreme to the other.

I'm still a little jet lagged but here's the reasons why it was far from perfect. I know I nitpick a lot (my wife tells me so) so I've just highlighted the main negatives (and also because I am typing on the iPhone which is a bit hard):

1) CCR was nice and felt intimate but the service was so slow. From asking for a booth to having a plate arrive took 45 minutes which was terrible given how empty the dining area was.

2) Because of the slow breakfast service we decided we were happy to do self-service in the Flounge. Unfortunately we were turned away by the lounge host (dragon?) which I accepted without any fuss at the time as I didn't want to argue on my holiday but looking at the lounge database here now I think she might have been wrong. The issue was that 2 of us were flying F and 2 relatives were on the same flight but in Y. CCR let us guest them in with no issue (as per the rules) but when I tried to guest them to Galleries First the lounge host said First passengers with no status cannot bring in guests. Is that right? I mean after all isn't the CCR more exclusive and should be harder to get in to?

3) We had 4EF booked (after reading all the excellent advice I thought this was perfect for a couple who still love to yap away and hold hands on flights ). However, after checkin we were told 4E was broken with no recline and the only option was 1A or 5K. This was annoying. I ended up moving between 4E and 5K depending if I was sitting up or lying down.

4) Boarding was delayed and according to the gate announcer it was due to "late incoming flight" but on the plane the captain said the delay was because the level of cleanliness on the plane was unacceptable and they ordered an extra 10(!) minutes of cleaning. He was pretty honest. But the extra 10 minutes was not spent cleaning our seats as there was still crumbs and sugar on them - I would say the plane was dirty (may need to post on how dirty was your plane thread)

5) West coast USA with roughly 50% recent history of NF. We had OF. I was disappointed but only slightly as after all this was a first First so wanted to stay positive about it but the hard product was a let down: 4E won't recline, 4F AVOD display not working despite multiple restarts, a window's frame not flush in its fitting (no safety issues but looks messy and not looked after) and the cabin generally looked tired and not maintained well.

To balance this off I'll list some positives:
- Good food, atmosphere and serving staff in CCR
- First formalities adhered to (such as being walked to seat and being first off the plane)
- Great staff looking after us in the cabin - will do a well done submission
- Comfy bed
- Was surprised how normal the other pax looked

So overall it was a lovely experience with great photo opportunities but all the negatives mean I'm not sure whether I'd book F over CW for the next redemption.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by PeeTee View Post
CCR let us guest them in with no issue (as per the rules) but when I tried to guest them to Galleries First the lounge host said First passengers with no status cannot bring in guests. Is that right? I mean after all isn't the CCR more exclusive and should be harder to get in to?
I think this is correct, unless you are GGL. It does sound silly, but CCR has long had its own rules. I think you may have been hard done by the Flounge agent there, but I think she was correct (Flounge is a oneworld lounge, where guest rights comes with status not class flown, CCR is not a oneworld lounge). EDIT: See Hiddy's quote below.

Originally Posted by PeeTee View Post
[snip]
- Was surprised how normal the other pax looked
What on earth were you expecting? Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson?

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Aug 26, 12 at 9:41 am Reason: Incorrect info
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by PeeTee View Post
2) Because of the slow breakfast service we decided we were happy to do self-service in the Flounge. Unfortunately we were turned away by the lounge host (dragon?) which I accepted without any fuss at the time as I didn't want to argue on my holiday but looking at the lounge database here now I think she might have been wrong. The issue was that 2 of us were flying F and 2 relatives were on the same flight but in Y. CCR let us guest them in with no issue (as per the rules) but when I tried to guest them to Galleries First the lounge host said First passengers with no status cannot bring in guests. Is that right? I mean after all isn't the CCR more exclusive and should be harder to get in to?
That's just a nonsense. F pax can bring in one guest regardless of status. Amazing they can mess this simple rule up.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:25 am
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I take it this was to SFO a few days ago (won't say exact day). I flew back in 1K on said plane and will shortly be publishing a trip report about my feelings.

They echo yours.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:27 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I think this is correct, unless you are GGL. It does sound silly, but CCR has long had its own rules. I think you may have been hard done by the Flounge agent there, but I think she was correct (Flounge is a oneworld lounge, where guest rights comes with status not class flown, CCR is not a oneworld lounge).
Nope - guest rights come with class if you are flying F with all lounges.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:33 am
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My reading of the rules seems to suggest they made a mistake not allowing you into the F lounge.

oneworld lounge access for First Class or Business Class travellers

Indulge yourself before departure in a wider range of airport lounges when you fly First Class or Business Class with a oneworld member airline.

Customers flying First or Business Class have access to the equivalent class of lounge regardless of their frequent flyer status. First Class passengers may have access to a Business Class or frequent flyer lounge if a First Class lounge is not available.
First Class passengers may be accompanied by one guest travelling on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline.
Customers flying in Economy class on a domestic or intra-European segment to connect to or from a oneworld longhaul First or Business Class flight can also use the lounge applicable to the class in which they are travelling on the longhaul segment.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
What on earth were you expecting? Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson?
I follow the celeb spotting thread a lot Thought I saw John Malkovich at First check in but wasn't 100% sure
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
My reading of the rules seems to suggest they made a mistake not allowing you into the F lounge.
That quote is completely clear cut, so I sit corrected!
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by andset1191 View Post
I take it this was to SFO a few days ago (won't say exact day). I flew back in 1K on said plane and will shortly be publishing a trip report about my feelings.

They echo yours.
Hi 1K. Think it was same flight too. Amazing how many FTers there are flying at any one time. SFO is so cold!
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:42 am
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What is perfect to others might not be perfect to you. We all have our different expectations. Some want peace and quiet and consider it perfect while others want the circus greeting to be perfect...


Of course SF is cold, don't you know the saying " the coldest winter is the summer in SF"? Or something along those lines.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:44 am
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Thanks for the lounge clarification guys. But it is ridiculous that these ladies don't know the rules even though they can be summed up on half a page of A4 in large font. It wasn't the end of the world as lunch was faster than breakfast in the CCR but I get embarassed easily and being turned away from Flounge made me feel stupid
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:45 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
That quote is completely clear cut, so I sit corrected!
If so....it does leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouth and is quite unforgivable.

PeeTee...I think your account is a realistic one and on the whole I'm glad to hear it was an enjoyable experience. I must say I had the same thought as you about my fellow passengers when I first travelled in F. They were just an average looking bunch.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:49 am
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You maybe the sort of person who nitpicks, but if you're flying F I think you have every right to do so. Even if it's the excellent tips here that got you into F (and the advice here is damned good) it's still a lot of miles you are paying. For those who aren't in the FT know it's a lot of wonga. And that entitles you to have high expectations.

I can see how the broken seat would be a disappointment but to be fair stuff breaks - that's life. And NF/OF is just luck of the draw. I am sure all F would be NF if it were operationally and financially possible. But the service I the CCR should be consistently good, workman like and efficient as someone calls it in another thread. And the plane should be clean (whatever the class), and the captain shouldn't be forced to delay a flight for extra cleaning. I let others debate the lounge entry rules.

Of course T8191 will be along in a minute to tell us all how glad he is that he doesn't waste his money on F
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Old Aug 26, 12, 10:13 am
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I once sat adjacent to one Usain Bolt and I had to ask my wife what he did. I had no idea he was famous.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 10:20 am
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Glad to hear you were able to experience First class travel PeeTee and that it generally was a very good time. We all have quite an expectation that first time and it is indeed hard to live up to that in reality...sounds like your trip was good if not exactly perfect.

Personally, the CCR is a hit or miss 100 % item...When I am lucky enough to fly F I go in and within 2 minutes know whether I should stay or simply carry on to the Flounge, where things are consistent and very nice indeed.

If the CCR is having a good day...it is very good and deserves the name...if it is an off day...well, best to just cut one's losses and move on.

Great to hear the food and crew were good on your flight though! That is the most important thing besides the hard product IMO on a l/h flight...
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