So you want to know how to sneak into First Class on any airline?

It’s that magical world less than 1% of us will ever experience, meant only for the super rich and super important.

But what is it? What makes it so special? What makes it so expensive?

Well take it from a Regular Joe with a little too much audacity: it ‘aint that amazing, but its still pretty cool..

So how did I turn seat 70F into suite #3, you ask?  

Well, it takes 1 part ‘cant sleep, clown will eat me’, 2 parts ‘fat man next to me snoring’, and 5 parts ‘what’s up this staircase?’

After making the most of my time in transit, I was 5 hours into a long haul flight from JFK to Dubai and the Free WIFI the plane usually has wasn’t working.

The plane was packed full in cattle class, the lights were out, but it certainly wasn’t as quiet as a mouse thanks to Roger next to me, whose elbows took up too much communal real estate, and tonsils pierced even the best of noise-cancelling headphones..

I was going crazy. 

I started pacing up and down economy class (as you do) looking for a spare few seats to stretch out over away from foghorn leghorn in row 70. I tried every strategy I have learned over the years to get the most out of my seat! 

It was no use. The plane was full.

Or was it??

I got desperate.  

I had no other option other than sleep in a toilet. And I’ve tried it before. It’s as crap as it sounds. Pun intended.

The Airbus A380 has one glimmer of hope – a golden staircase behind a velvet rope that seems to lead to a bar full of every top-shelf liquor I could think of. I wasn’t sure, it was dark and I need a new eye test. 

“Screw it, what’s the worst that can happen? They send me back to 70F?”

So under the velvet rope I slid, and up the golden staircase I crept, two steps forward and one step back, as if this was a James Bond 007 Nintendo game and guards were waiting just out of my line of sight. 

I AM JAMES BOND  

And just like the game, an attendant walked past to get a drink for a high-flyer. I waited for her patrol to pass, and pressed on again as she disappeared behind the curtains.

My heart was racing. “I AM JAMES BOND”, I thought to myself.

Up the stairs I went, step by step until I made it to the bar. The place was empty. Too quiet..

But I was nearly there. I had to know what it was like behind the curtains. 

So I peered between the expensive veil. It was dark. It was quiet. Most of the suites were closed up, un-used. A few were occupied in sleep mode, and one high flyer was still awake sucking every last morsel out of his $12,000 ticket. Why not?

The thing to remember here is, nobody cares.  

As long as you don’t disturb them, they wont turn you in. It’s the James Bond attendants you have to dodge. 

Quickly, I found an un-used suite, looked around one last time, and slinked into the chair like a snake hiding from a mongoose. 

The chair was comfy. But to be honest, it wasn’t the best chair I‘ve ever sat in. It reminded me of the massage chairs you pay $2 to use at the Shopping Centre.

In front of me was a 27” TV.

It had the same entertainment system on it as economy, a space for putting a bottle of wine, a drawer with a pen in it, and a mirror for powdering my nose, or whatever they do..

So where did those attendants go?  

Why hadn’t their artificial intelligence proximity meter located and destroyed me? Well, it’s pretty simple. I have always said, “If you believe you fit in, everyone else will too”. I pulled the rug over me, went to sleep, and no one questioned it.

The suite was simply a business class seat with a 1.5m high false wall around it to cut you off from everyone else. 

For $12,000, that’s what you get. 

Plus some food that’s nicer and on-demand, and better alcohol.

The real value comes from the seat recline. It’s the difference between 14 hours of torture, and 8hrs of sleep sandwiched by a couple of nice movies and meals.

To be honest, you can get lucky with a row to yourself in cattle class for the same experience.

Don’t get me wrong, the place was nice  

I slept like a baby away from Sir Snores a-Lot and suffered much less jet lag. 

If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend building up the courage to go on your own little quest for salvation. It may be the only chance you’ll ever get to afford such a treat. It certainly was for me.

So, here’s to you, Emirates, for having extremely un-attentive First Class Attendants and letting this Regular Joe relax with the stars for a while!

So how did it all end? 

Well, after 6 hours sleep, and the lights turning on for breakfast, I decided I was content with my expedition, snuck back through the curtains and down the staircase, walked through business class, smiled at the attendant, shuffled to the back of economy class past the criers, the smellies, the snorers, and the droolers, and sat back down on the half a seat I had left in 70F, ready for economy breakfast and a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory to get me through.

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  • Have any of you ever taken a crack at the big time? 
  • What was it like? 
  • Did you get caught?