Thursday, 12 May 2016

Not Quite First Class

The other weekend I travelled to Manchester for the day for an event - I'd planned it for a while, and as I was taking the train (so I could have a beer if the fancy took me) I decided to treat myself to first class on the way home.  I do like going first class on a train, especially on a journey home - I find that on the way to a place there's often a vague frisson of excitement that you're going somewhere, which helps you overlook being jammed in a seat with a hundred other people, trying to avoid having your feet run over by a snack trolley, whilst on the way home you're flagging somewhat and tempers can be frayed so a little bit of comfort can be very welcome.

That was possibly the best pork pie I've ever eaten - top marks to Beehive Food for making it, and to Piccadilly Tap for stocking it.

So I got to Manchester rail station after a couple of pints (and an absolutely amazing pork pie, as shown above), and decided to check out the first class lounge for a complimentary coffee and perhaps a decent biscuit. (As an aside, if you happen to have a train change at Doncaster, they sometimes leave the first class lounge unattended, so even if you haven't got a ticket, you can get in and raid the posh biscuits, to snack on when on the train, or even to save as impromptu gifts for friends and family)

 However, after exploring Manchester rail station twice to find the first class lounge, when I finally did discover it, it turns out that in Manchester rail station the first class lounge is apparently for Virgin Trains customers only, and I wasn't on a Virgin train.  So nothing complimentary there.

Still, I boarded the train at last, and looked forward to a couple of hours of stewards regularly approaching me with food and a selection of delicious drinks.  In the past I've found that, given a sufficiently long train journey, that you can more or less make your money back by just eating and drinking everything they offer you.

It was a good thirty minutes when I discovered (thanks Google) that apparently the train in question didn't offer refreshments.  So essentially I'd paid for first class to get a slightly nicer seat.

And a desk lamp.  With an on/off switch, no less.
So all in all, although it's a bit middle-class to complain about it, I was disappointed in the lack of provision offered for first class. It's entirely down to my fault for not checking the website to see exactly what "first class" meant for my particular train, and I'll make sure to do that in future.

I'm not really sure why I took this picture, except that the disembodied hand reaching for the baby seems large.
Speaking of which, part 2 of my middle class struggles (aka #FirstWorldProblems) is online, why not watch it (and even part 1 as well if you really feel like it...)

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