If you’re like me you’ve never flown first class before and don’t know what it’s really like up there behind that mysterious curtain. Recently I managed to grab a first class flight, because someone else was paying for it (thank you!). On this trip I was with Alaska Airlines and I know each airline is different so I can only give you their experience. Like any traveler I’ve flown before and it has always been coach before this. You’d think Alaska is mostly in that state, however they have seriously expanded in recent decades and they partner with Virgin, AeroMexico, Air France, British Airways, Fiji Airways, and many others meaning you can use them to go most places in the world. Now that I’m typing this out it sounds super sponsored, sadly, it isn’t.
Usually people who have disabilities, need extra help, or have young children with lots of stuff go first. After that it’s people with there MVP status, active military, and first class board. As soon as you sit down there is this cute little water bottle waiting for you and a flight attendant gives you this menu. You choose with entrée you want (although sometimes they are limited). They do have a choice of wines and other alcohols but you have to be over 21 if you’re in the US, remember that. When they take the menus they make sure you’re the guest they say you are and verify your last name with them.
Also, soon after the plane takes off they hand you a hot towel if you want one. The first time this happened I was like, “What is that? What’s happening?” They hold it out to you in tongs and boy it really is a hot towel! I’d hold it open for a few seconds to cool off so you don’t burn yourself. Then again, I am sensitive to heat, if you aren’t then go for it.
In The Air
Once you reach altitude, not 10,000 feet, but the actual altitude that the plane will be flying, flight attendants hand out these bad boys. Tablets that have movies, tv shows, games, and other things for your enjoyment. Coach gets this too, but it’s $10 to rent there. In first class this guy is complimentary. Usually when things have free movies they’re bad but this one had several of the latest and greatest that had just come out and had recent episodes of tv shows. They give you headphones if you need them and they work good too.
Although, on one of my flights 3 times the headphones didn’t really work. I felt so awkward saying, “Can I have another set?” Then later, “These ones aren’t really working, can I have another?” After the 3rd time with one side playing sound at half volume I decided not to beg again, too embarrassing. The other 3 flights were great though with the headphones.
Around the same time they start passing out the meals. First is these which they call “roasted nuts” but I think they’re just microwaved to make them warm. You can keep them throughout the whole flight if you want to, they only take them away if you want. Then comes whatever kind of salad with dressing, bread on the side, and butter that have in store. It usually coincides with the destination you’re going to as well I’ve noticed. Then comes the main course, depending on the time of day. Eventually desert comes. During the flight your lap looks like this:
Also, instead of the tray tables coming out of the seat in front of you, they come out of the arm rest. It was very confusing when I first sat down and looked at my arm rest. It just looked strange to me. Then I saw how someone else had a tray and figured out how it opened. That looks like this:
Once all of the meals are done the flight attendants pass around snacks from chips to those Milano cookies and other things too (I just really like Milano cookies and didn’t look at anything else). Before you begin descending to your destination they take away the tablets. You can keep the headphones if you want.
The number ones difference between first class and coach I’ve noticed is that the flight attendants actually seem happy to see you. I can’t compare for Alaska itself because I’m pretty sure I’ve never flown coach with them before. However with other airlines I swear the flight attendants are just there to make sure you’re alive and keep going to the next person.
There is quite a bit more leg room in first class, and it is much easier to climb over someone if you’re sitting next to the window. The seats and arm rests are also wider and I think the head rests are better quality too (that might just be me).