Over 31 Hours Of First Class Experience And Was So Not Worth It

I recently had the privilege of flying first class whereby I had experienced over a 31 hours combined of first class experience. I booked these flights early in 2014 before United’s devaluation and was able to originally snag this route.

From Hong Kong to Bangkok to Frankfurt to Newark with the last leg as business class on a United flight. The flights were:

TG601 which was a Boeing 747-400 departing HKG at 12:45 PM arriving 2:25 PM in BKK

TG920 which was an Airbus A380-800 departing BKK at 11:40 PM arriving at 5:30 PM in FRA

UA51 which was a Boeing 767 departing 11:05 AM arriving at 2:20 PM in EWR.


About 2 weeks before leaving Hong Kong I checked for availability and saw that Lufthansa flight LH402 had business class available leaving at 1:30 PM and was the old business class seat. So I did not change my flight as the United would have been a fully lie flat business class which I would not have minded.

Two days before leaving Hong Kong I checked availability again and I saw there was now first class availability on the same flight. At that point, I immediately called United to change my ticket to have the final itinerary as:

TG601 which was a Boeing 747-400 departing HKG at 12:45 PM arriving 2:25 PM in BKK

TG920 which was an Airbus A380-800 departing BKK at 11:40 PM arriving at 5:30 PM in FRA

LH402 which was a Boeing 747-400 departing 1:30 PM arriving at 4:10 PM in EWR


It cost me an extra $100 because of the change fee and no additional taxes or extra miles were assessed.


The Experience:

I took a taxi from the Hyatt Regency in Tsim Sha Tsui and arrived in HKG at around 9:20 AM. I can’t even begin on where to start with the conversation with the taxi driver. It was unique to say the least. When the fare total came up, it was HKD$250 and I only had a HKD$1000 bill. Apparently, there’s a LOT problems with the $1000 bill because of counterfeits and the driver would not accept it. I was traveling alone and the driver told me to go into the airport and get change as he held onto my luggage. I was incredibly worried that I was going to be scammed and he drives away with my luggage which was worth more than the fare. Fortunately for me, he was still there.

I checked in my luggage and get into the First Class lounge at 9:45 AM and that’s where I start the counter for first class experience.


The lounge was OK, quiet, decent amounts of food and drink to choose from. I did not take any pictures of the lounge. They did have 1 lazy boy type massaging chair that I did not use. Bathroom inside the lounge was small and had a shower.


To Bangkok:



The flight was nice and short, the flight attendant that was taking care of first class asked me what I was doing in Bangkok and I told her I was connecting to go to Frankfurt. She tried to convince me to leave the airport with her and hang out and switch my flight for the following day so we could be on the same flight again. I’m not sure if that was part of her bubbly personality or not, but it was definitely different from every one else.

Thai Airways First Class Lounge:



The food was delicious and the staff was incredibly nice and accommodating. There was one young lady that was just amazing, just a sweetheart. I was in the lounge for an insane amount of time that I requested the staff to watch my belongings so I could take a stroll around the airport where I found and picked up some multi flavored Kit Kats



I shared the Kit Kats with the staff in the lounge and they were even nicer afterwards.


To Frankfurt:

The flight to Frankfurt was uneventful. Service was very nice and the first class had 12 seats with 11 occupied. Many of the passengers appeared to be regulars on the flight with about 3 of them leaving their amenity kits behind on the plane.



Lufthansa First Class Terminal:

Upon reaching the terminal, I was escorted by a Lufthansa employee to the customs area where she directed me to the business class lounge in the Z section of Terminal 1. After walking in there, I inquired about the first class lounge. When I arrived at the first class lounge in the A section, I was advised for the full service car transfer I should go to the lounge in the B section.



The lounge had some great food and drinks available. Having access to the shower was great where they were able to provide a toothbrush and razor.

It was too early for me to drink, but the whiskey list was quite comprehensive.




They even had a cigar lounge!



To Newark:



I was whisked away in a Mercedes Benz S350 to an waiting Boeing 747.




The flight itself was very uneventful, the attendants on the flight were very nice. Not much else to report on, although I think the person who sat across from me was in the same situation as I was, excited to be in First Class on Lufthansa.


EDIT: Adding this to the flight to Newark. They had a tasty pretzel bread. On the second time they came around to me asking for more bread they ran out.

They also have these cute little salt and pepper grinders, the pepper grinder was jammed up and I had to take it apart to get it to work.


They gave us 2 pieces of chocolate (found in the bass instrument box or is it a violin?) which was incredibly delicious. One piece was a milk chocolate with hazelnut nougat and the other was a dark chocolate with a mocha nougat. Then they also gave us a CD, I didn’t open it.



Final Thoughts:

While the amenities were very nice all around and the people extremely friendly and helpful, and maybe it is my humble beginnings, but I did not think it was worth it. Yes, I said it – First class is not worth it. Like Dia mentioned in her post about Vendoming and Joe about the Fear Of Missing Out you need to know what’s best for your needs and not worry about what other people are doing in the miles and points arena.

I’m not saying don’t experience First Class if you have the opportunity. As a leisure traveler who does not have too many vacation days, it wasn’t worth it for me. I can see the flip side of those that travel a large amount and need some of the amenities that come with it. Or the fact that you may have a lot of money (or miles) to burn and want the services provided. I would rather have spent another day in Hong Kong and eat at Tim Ho Wan


23 comments… add one
  • Can I confirm you turned down the offer to spend the day in BKK with the air stewardess and instead opted to purchase multi-flavored KitKats?

    • LOL it can be confirmed – the multi-flavored KitKats are a hit in the office.

      I was supposed to do homework, but couldn’t concentrate long enough to do it.

      • No pics of the flirty air stewardess? Seriously? Instead you thought it best to deny her invitation and hold fast to your mission of documenting seats, menus, food, and a rare solo visit to the first class lounge to gather a rubber ducky? While your story is mildly interesting, it would have been far more blog worthy if you had impulsively veered off into one night in Bangkok with the bubbly Thai Airways stewardess. Who knows, your flight to Frankfurt might have ended with pics of the bubbly stewardess holding a rubber ducky, and your title might have ended with “and it was so worth it.” Just something to consider for next time……

        • “One night in Bangkok makes the hard man humble…”

  • Totally get it! Unless it’s 10 hours or more, I don’t even bother with business.

    • My fuse is 4 hrs shorter than yours. I can tolerate 5-6 hrs in coach just fine, but every hour after that is pure agony. Of course, people who can sleep on the plane will never understand… 🙁

  • Multiflavored kitkats are the best. I also will gladly take that trip for you next time if you want to put my name on the ticket 🙂

    Also took the exact same pic of the whiskey/scotch list!

  • But how warm were the nuts?

    Also, I second Matt’s astonishment and disappointment regarding the Bangkok invite. You fool!

    • @thedealmommy, totally! Now that I know what works for me, I’ll only do it again if everything lines up perfectly

      @Joe I’ll think about that 😉

      @harvson3 it was a foolish mistake!

  • This is a hilariously good read. It’s also a pretty good indication of how nice you are as well, sharing your multi flavored kit kats with the staff. I agree with you in terms of flying first as well (and even business). I fly a lot for work and even when they are paying for it I don’t like flying first/business.

  • I’m not sure which saddens me more — lack of photos of the flirty Thai Airways stewardess, or lack of photos of the amenity kits?!?

    I think I’m the weakest of the commenters. any more than 3.5 hours, I like at least an angled layflat. If its more than 6-7 its got to be a full layflat. Business, First, I don’t really care unless its a Great White Whale I’m chasing (A380’s, 77Ws sans AA). While the marginal value difference between Business and First can be measured by things like the LH FCT, I think the marginal value difference between coach and business is measured by how human you feel after you arrive, or how bad your back hurts.

  • @William Charles, thanks! Sometimes I wish I traveled for work, but it’d need to be the right balance.

    @Trevor, great idea on the amenity kits! I’ll put it up in the next post

    Open question for everyone – how would you go about and getting a picture of the stewardess? Do you surreptitiously take the photo? Would you ask for a selfie with her?

    It wasn’t blogged, but she was super flirty, very touchy feely, extremely nice. I wasn’t sure if it was targeted for me or if she was super nice to everyone like that. There was another passenger that she was very friendly to, but I couldn’t see if she was touchy feely to him as well since I was in 1K. However, I can tell everyone I didn’t hear her invite him to hang out in BKK.

  • You’re nuts! That was not “worth” 70k UR one-way?? Recently did a very similar track (HKG-BKK-CDG-FRA-ORD) and enjoyed every minute of it! You must not have taken advantage of everything offered in lounges and on the planes or something?! (massage in BKK!? champagnes and meats in LH FCT??? Smoked one of those cigars?? Tried some of the amazing whiskey’s in FCT and on the plane?? Best sleep ever in separate bed on 744?).

    Anyway – maybe you’re trying to keep people from booking these flights to have more for you next time… but I thought these flights were amazing. I even did an extra hop to pull it off taking TG 930 to CDG then a hop to FRA. Took the later FRA-ORD so I had 6 hours in the FCT to enjoy it.

  • Oops, getting my flights confused. And forgot to mention I did this TWICE on purpose (with pre-deval miles like you). HKG-BKK-MXP-FRA-ORD in June and BKK-CDG-FRA-ORD last week.

    • That sounds like a lot of flying! I enjoyed First Class, but I didn’t think it was worth the incremental over Business class and the fact that I spent so much time either flying or in the airport. Would prefer to be in the city having a good time. Again, this is all dependent on the person.

  • Lol just ask to take a picture with her and then crop yourself out if you don’t want to be in it 🙂

  • What an terribly written post. You use two sentences to describe your flight to newark. You have nothing else to add? It sounds like you are impossible to please

    • I’ll add a couple extra lines. I didn’t think anything stuck out that especially wow’ed me.

  • I think you made the right decision to not got with the stewardess.

    After all, she is a stranger. And you do not know the motivation behind her actions.

    While everyone else might be thinking that you missed out on something great, I’m glad you missed out on something awful- one doesn’t know what she intended.

    Not everyone that acts friendly is your friend. In this instance, your instincts caused you to hesitate. I’d say follow those instincts; they are there for a reason!

    • Thanks – yep, who knows what her motivation is? She was quite persistent about me joining her too.


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