I travelled on LNER from London Kings Cross to Berwick-upon-Tweed, 17:00 departure, on a Tuesday. I had not travelled First Class with LNER previously and was excited for the onboard experience.
The departure platform at Kings Cross was announced at 16:40 and I made my way to my online pre-booked seat in Coach K, where LNER’s First Class Dine Menu was waiting for me. It was half term week and the coach was a third full. The train departed bang on time and the announcements made before our departure – for example about ticket validity – were clear, concise and regular, conducted by train manager David.
Within 15 minutes of leaving Kings Cross the drinks trolley pulled up next to me with Nigel in charge, who duly served my order. It was very impressive service given that I was in the third first class coach away from the onboard kitchen facilities. An extensive range of complimentary drinks were available – hot, soft and alcohol, including ale, lager, spirits and wine.
About 20 minutes into the journey crew member Rhiannon then came along to take my complimentary food order. She was quick to mention that the Mexican-style grains salad and toasted teacake options from the lunch/evening menu were unfortunately not available. I opted for what was my choice anyway – the chicken casserole followed by the jam sponge and custard, both of which were beautifully presented and delicious. To be honest, I could have had a second helping of the chicken.
Dinner was served on an individual tray with accompanying cutlery and napkin about 30 minutes after departing Kings Cross. The onboard menu wasn’t extensive but what was on offer was cleverly thought out and catered for most tastes, with clear signposting of the vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, not to mention the kcal value for each dish!
The Wi-Fi worked OK but dropped out in tunnels. All seats were at tables and I was lucky enough to have nobody next to me or opposite me so I had plenty of space to work on my laptop. There was a power source in the arm of the chair, which I struggled to find initially despite a diagram on the wall.
The onboard crew were very attentive passing through frequently during the scheduled 3hr 40min service, with a crew change in York. The food was tasty and, with the exception of being approximately 15 minutes late into my destination, this was an overall excellent experience and one I’d happily book again. The only negative was that of the 30 seats in coach K, six were missing their headrests.
by Craig McQuinn