My first 1st class experience

There’s nothing better than kicking off a long haul journey across the globe with a nice, relaxing massage – eliminating all the stress that comes with travelling.

I make sure to take advantage of this complimentary service offered at Cape Town’s SLOW Lounge ahead of boarding my flight to Johannesburg. A strategic decision is made to get pampered before filling my belly full of food so I book the next available slot in 15 mins. I grab a drink and patiently wait for my appointment.


A glass of bubbles down and it’s time to get pampered! I make my way over to Amani Spa where I meet my lovely masseuse. She steps out of the room while I take my kit off and plant myself on the massage bed. I’m ready!

Amani Spa treatment room

Oh my! I haven’t had a massage this good since my Bali retreat! Ahhhhhhhh! Just the right amount of pressure applied to release the tension. 20 minutes later (I could’ve sworn it was only 2 mins that passed!) and she gently signals for me to get dressed. Is it over already?! Damn! The quickest 20 minutes ever! The masseuse did such a sterling job that I tipped her with all the rand I had left – kudos to you ma’am!

Amani Spa

Feeling all relaxed and chilled, it’s now time to get me some food. There’s a selection of cold options available – sandwiches, salad, fruit, cheese etc. I have a brief taste of each (fairly average) before moving onto the hot dishes.

Selection of sandwiches and salad

A first portion of Thai green chicken curry – very tasty! But the showstopper has gotta be the Cape Malay curry mMmmM perfect amount of spices with a nice tang. So full of flavour!

A selection of beer and wine you can drink till your heart’s content – just make sure you’re allowed on the plane!

The Horizon Bar is situated on the top floor with the runway serving as a backdrop. Great setting to unwind before your flight.

Horizon Bar

The bartender pours me a glass of bubbles and I easily find my way to the dessert table. Nice mini custard and meringue tarts and don’t get me started on those chocolate truffles. Sooooo heavenly…. Absolutely divine! I could’ve stayed there eating the whole lot but it’s now time to board my flight.

Chocolate truffles, custard and meringue tarts

Two hours later, I touch down in Joburg and head on over to Galleries Club.

Joburg airport

I find the first class lounge in Joburg underwhelming. A pokey space with limited choice in food and beverages. I bump into a fellow traveller who I sat next to in Cape Town’s SLOW lounge. Introductions out of the way and I find out that Sarah is also travelling first class on the same flight back to Heathrow with me, so we get talking over a glass of fizz (as you do!).

Our flight is called and we soon make our way to the boarding gate. Not before taking a slight detour to pick up a souvenir. Casually browsing the shop, thinking of what to take back home when I finally decide on a wooden giraffe (good shout Sarah!). I’m now pressed for time so I head to the counter only for the cashier to take her sweet ass time putting the transaction through. I nudge her along by saying I’ve got a flight to catch. It made no difference. Sigh!

Then suddenly Sarah pops into the shop and screams “gate’s closed!”. My heart drops. I snatch the giraffe from the cashier and dash out. Looked at the board and couldn’t believe my eyes – it really was closed! Not having any time to think, we both frantically make a run for it with Mr Giraffe in tow. As we approach our gate though, we notice a few rugby players ahead of us on their phones, slowly walking towards the gate. You gotta be kidding me… and here we are, a sweaty mess! Only then, that we realise the board at the gate says ‘final call’ as opposed to ‘gate closed’ on the board by the shops. We point out the error to the attendants. Phew! At least we made it!

The air stewardess politely greets me by name and shows me to my seat. Wowie! Look at all this space. And I thought business was good! I’m instantly offered a glass of champagne to which I reply “water please!” as I still try to catch my breath from my sprint.

My home for the next 10 hours
A whole lotta legroom!

A glass of bubbles follows immediately after my water no doubt!

Liberty supplies a toiletry kit containing: a pair of socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, cotton pads, eye mask, brush and mirror, deodorant, earplugs, pen, lip balm, hand lotion, cleanser and moisturiser.

Liberty kit

I’m given a pair of pj’s to change into later. I take a look around my seat and admire the extra space.

Hot towels are handed out to refresh and dinner service begins. The stewardess comes to set my table, lines it with a cloth before placing proper crockery and mini salt and pepper mills on top.

Table laid out with proper crockery

An appetiser of kudu carpaccio with thyme marinated goats cheese and lemon shallot oil. My first time having antelope, tasted like thinly sliced beef. A good dish to whet my appetite!

Appetiser: Kudu carpaccio

Smoked salmon for the starter was served with an aubergine confit – delish!

Starter: Smoked salmon

Now for the main. Perfectly roasted medallion of lamb saddle stuffed with sun dried tomatoes. Served with green beans, baby carrots, pomme puree and garlic bean sauce. The quality of this dish was outstanding. Paired well with a nice glass of Argentinian malbec. For a brief moment, I did think I was sitting in a restaurant instead of on a plane!

Main: Lamb saddle

For dessert, I go for the chocolate hazelnut and pistachio mousse. A heavier consistency that resembled more of a gateau than a mousse. I sure as hell am not complaining as it was delectable as ever! Paired nicely with the dessert wine.

Hazelnut chocolate and pistachio dessert

And if 4 courses wasn’t enough to fill me up, I finish with a selection of cheese for added measure. I’m now in food coma territory.

Selection of cheese

Another glass of  malbec after dinner for a nightcap.

A nightcap

It’s approaching midnight and while I’m busy getting changed into pyjamas, the stewardess swiftly makes my bed for me with soft, comfy bedding. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ continues playing as I slowly fall asleep.

My bed is made
Lights off. Goodnight!

I wake up sprawled out across the bed after just hours of interrupted sleep. Yep, all the alcohol consumed before, during and after dinner left me frequently needing the loo – rookie error! Never mind, breakfast is served and my fatigue is momentarily gone. A nice cup of coffee to wake me up.

Great coffee!

Toasted granola with yoghurt and strawberry compote to start.

Toasted granola with yoghurt and strawberry compote

Followed by a selection of hot pastries to choose from. I opt for the nice, warm, buttery croissant. So good, I went for a second. Why? Because I can 🙂

Croissant and fresh fruit
Selection of fresh fruit

For the hot option, I go for the traditional English breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomato and potatoes. Really tasty and much better than the one served in business class.

Traditional full English breakfast
View from my seat

Needless to say, this was a whole-nother-level of flying. Service is impeccable throughout. Attentive but not too overbearing. You have your say in what you want to eat, when you want to eat and how much you want to eat. Having experienced this level of comfort and service, I’m not sure how I can go back to flying economy again!

Till next time… Outskies!

Srey x


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