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#926065 by cjrp
12 Sep 2016, 13:30
Ground Staff
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My first time in Upper Class… terrible, awful, dire. All words which describe my future financial situation, now that I’ve sampled the delights of Upper Class :D

I was booking a trip to Detroit for a cousin’s wedding, intending to travel Economy on the outbound and PE on the return, but saw that the price for UC on the return wasn’t *that* much more than PE, and snapped it right up. I’d been stockpiling miles, intending to use them for a Thanksgiving trip with my partner, but the cash fare was too good to pass up!

I was a little disappointed that I’d only be using a Delta SkyClub in Detroit and not one of the infamous Clubhouses, but I found the lounge perfectly comfortable. There was a selection of food, plenty of comfortable seats, and fast-ish wifi. All in all, it wasn’t a bad place to spend a few hours. Plus, this way I still get to experience the LHR Clubhouse for the first time on a future trip.

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A boarding announcement was made about 50 minutes before departure, and I headed down to the gate which was conveniently located next to the SkyClub entrance. As I arrived at the gate UC passengers were being invited to board, but it was a little tricky to see who was actually queueing and who was just milling around waiting for their cabin to be called. After negotiating the crowd, I headed down the jetbridge and noticed that it forked into UC and PE/E, with the UC side boarding at the very front. I have to admit to being a *little* disappointed that I wouldn’t get to experience the infamous left turn, but that feeling instantly disappeared as I was welcomed onboard with a smile and made my way to seat 3K.

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From my extensive (obssessive?) forum browsing I knew that the A330 was not universally loved, but having only previously flown in E/PE the cabin looked amazing. True, it does feel a little cramped with the two central rows, but not oppressively so. Waiting on the seat were the usual menus and a smart Herschel amenity kit. I have to say that although the bag is nice, the contents are a *little* disappointing and feel about the same quality you used to get in Economy. Still, I didn’t have time to dwell on this as the attendant working my side of the cabin came round to introduce herself and take food and drink orders. As I’d already made myself at home by opening out the arm rest and drink tray, she assumed I’d flown with them before and didn’t offer to explain the seat as she had with other passengers. I chose to take this as a compliment, and definitely *not* an indication that I’ve probably read a few too many trip reports :D.

After a much shorter taxi than I’m accustomed to (the joys of usually flying out of Newark/JFK), we were on our way. Once in the air and with the crew released, my drink order arrived (Glen Deveron 12, mediocre) and dinner service began. I went with the corn chowder to start, which was lovely, although a little tricky to eat without slopping everywhere as we were going through some slightly bumpy air. Despite reading some very mixed reviews about various beef dishes, I decided to be brave and try the Argentinian style beef fillet. It was lovely, served medium-ish and perfectly edible.

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This was followed by a pecan pie and the cheese course. The pie was fine, although obviously couldn’t compare to the “real deal” I sampled when visiting family for Thanksgiving.

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By now we’d been in the air for about two hours and I figured I’d attempt to get some sleep. One major downside of the Detroit service is how early it leaves (5.50pm local time) so you don’t naturally feel tired until several hours after departure, at which point you’re practically beginning the approach into Heathrow given that it’s a fairly short flight time. Nevertheless, I figured I should at least try to get some sleep, and slipped off to the bathroom to change into my own pyjamas (having found the sleepsuit too scratchy). I came back to find my seat had been replaced with a wonderfully comfortable looking bed. Settling in, I noted the useful little cubbyhole next to your head which was ideal for holding a bottle of water and a phone.

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For the next 2 hours I tossed and turned, trying my best to sleep but without much success. The cabin was too hot for my liking, although that didn’t seem to bother the rest of the passengers as evidenced by the number of snorers! Perhaps they’d had a little Ambien assistance. The bed itself was comfortable enough, a little narrow but not ridiculously so. If I’d been a little cooler and more tired I’m sure I would have had no trouble slipping off. In the end I gave up and asked for my seat to be converted back with about 2 hours left to run. I watched some random TV episodes to pass the time; one thing the A330 has going for it is the modern IFE which was nice and responsive.

I went up to the galley to ask for a light breakfast (I hadn’t ordered anything since I optimistically thought I might still be sleeping) and had a good chat with the FSM. She was extremely affable, and I’d been impressed with how involved she’d been throughout the service. I had a fruit salad with some yoghurt and a coffee. I regret not asking if there was an option for something espresso-based, because the filter coffee I had was pretty terrible. Lesson learned. I was also pretty jealous of the full English served shortly after to my seat neighbour, which smelled delicious. Another lesson learned.

The approach into Heathrow followed soon after, only briefly delayed by a few orbits around Ockham as our ETA was before the 6am curfew. After a quick taxi to stand, I managed to beat my personal best in the Heathrow half-marathon and found a deserted immigration hall. No sooner had I reached the baggage hall than bags started coming out, mine included. All in all, the ground experience from plane to arrivals was very impressive.

So I think I’ve covered everything, apologies for the waffle but I thought it might be interesting to hear a first-timer’s viewpoint! I’ve managed to snag two return Gs for me and my girlfriend at Thanksgiving, so look forward to sharing the experience with someone else (her first time) and finally trying out the LHR Clubhouse.
Last edited by cjrp on 12 Sep 2016, 15:51, edited 1 time in total.
#926074 by pjh
12 Sep 2016, 15:41
One of the best first lines of a TR, and oh so true. It will be doubly true when you've used your G's and experienced the LHR Clubhouse.

Thanks for the first timer's view and the photos.

As to lessons learned, don't eat a cooked breakfast on the plane unless you're in a rush to get home. Use Revivals.
#926075 by hiljil
12 Sep 2016, 15:46
Thank you for a most engaging TR. It was a delight to read and I, too, thoroughly loved your opening sentence.

I hope all your future trips will equally impress.
#926078 by marshy11
12 Sep 2016, 15:53
Congratulations on losing your Virgin(UC)ity. Hopefully there will be many more now you've sampled the pointy end. As for your G's, it doesn't get much better than the LHR CH and a 'freebie' UC ticket.

Thank you for the TR with lovely photos. I can't wait to see the next offering.
#926087 by tomthumb
12 Sep 2016, 18:53
Great trip report and the opening line did make me smile
#926100 by ColOrd
12 Sep 2016, 23:03
Excellent Trip report and nicely illustrated too! Glad you had an awesome flight!

Like you cjrp I thought the same about how amazing UC was convinced myself all the time before I flew this was an exceptional treat and a one off never to be repeated experience! (This was last September!)

I have two trips to the States in the next 9 months ... And they are all in UC!

My bank manager doesn't like me anymore!
#926124 by ScoobySu
13 Sep 2016, 20:28
What a wonderful report - thank you so much for sharing! And I just love your opening sentence!
#926173 by flowerpot flo
14 Sep 2016, 16:33
My heart thudded into my boots when I read your opening line - I'm taking my first UC flight two weeks today. Oh the relief as I carried on reading ...
Thankyou - a fun read and I'm still beyond excited to take my first 'posh' flight.
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