This past weekend, I took a trip to Leeds by rail and upon my trip back from Leeds to Norwich, I got an upgrade of my ticket from Standard to First Class on the train from Leeds to Peterborough.
After years of travelling using coaches and having them as my preferred mode of transport, I recently fell in love with train travel and as part of an on-going resolution to explore more, I even got a railcard. A railcard makes everything much better, especially if you are planning on travelling more than usual, I highly recommend it.
Entering the train, with first class on the front three ‘coaches’, I manoeuvred my way towards them, passing through the regular Standard where I sat & the minute I stepped into first class, I immediately saw the difference. From the change of colour of seats, from the usual red to a more sophisticated and elegant black with rest heads, with “LNER FIRST CLASS” sewn on them.
The arrangement of first class seats, with a line having three seats only meant that there was more space that usual. Often in standard carriages, it feels cramped up and the exclusion of one seat on each row made more difference than I ever thought it would. There was enough space to take a yawn, without slapping anyone across the face and enough space to not feel cramped up, whether sitting next to someone else or alone.
Upon sitting down, I got greeted by the stewards, who came back ten minutes with some refreshments & a snack for the journey. Before the snack, the usual ticket check process was done before I was offered tea & four different snacks. This caught me by surprise given the shortness of my journey but welcomed with both hands. As I my tea was being served to me, I found myself appreciating the little extra care given to me during my journey. I was mostly impressed by the packaging and quality of the food provided, resembling that served on prestigious airlines.
The other perk of first class was the availability of power points and usb slots between seats. In my initial trip from Norwich to Leeds, the first train I took lacked the availability of a socket so I had to go the entire way to Peterborough charging my phone using my power bank, which I did not mind as I usually did that, but the option to use a power socket instead would have been nice. On the second train which took me to Leeds, the only power points available were pushed to the window seats and as I wasn’t sitting by the window, I didn’t manage to enjoy the luxury of it. Having a power point and USB slot between the seats in first class thus became a luxury I didn’t take lightly, given the weekend I had.
As if offering me one cup of tea wasn’t enough, they came back twice to ask if I needed more, making me feel important as ever. Leaving the train, I was ‘greeted’ by the same friendly faces I met as I was entering the train. It was at this moment I decided to write this appreciation review. Not to be forgotten but still an important perk of travelling with LNER, is their onboard Wi-Fi which helps save a bit of data, giving you peace of mind as you go through a beautiful journey.
Question: Is it worth it?
Verdict: With a railcard and strategic timing of when to buy your ticket, I would recommend it. Without those, LNER standard class still is a good option, not to the levels of First Class but good enough.