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My first business class flight was April 1988, JED-LON on BA (can’t remember whether it was a DC-10 or an L-1011 Tristar or whether it was to LHR or LGW). It was a step down for me from First (which I had become used to, courtesy my father, since 1975), so I was not only underwhelmed but ended up missing breakfast.

There were no lounges for non-VIPs at JED north terminal in those days (yes the same terminal is still in use but they have a lounge now) so didn’t get to use one. I distinctly remember boarding was very orderly. F, J and Y had red, brown and green coloured boarding cards and ‘passengers with red and brown coloured cards’ (it used to be politically incorrect to flaunt status in those days) were called for boarding after all the Y passengers were boarded row-wise. We were sent to the plane on a separate bus. I remember feeling the difference from First straight away when F were invited to board using L-1 and we were sent to the second staircase. If I remember correctly it was 5 across and cradle seats with foot rests which were reasonably comfortable. First had already graduated to fully flat seats but the demi-cabins or turn-down service had not been introduced yet.

An amenity kit was provided, it was a round canvas affair (can’t recall the contents I’m afraid). It was a late night departure so the usual lights out after take off routine was adopted with the cabin crew disappearing behind the curtain. I was used to the individual attention of First so distinctly remember missing breakfast prior to landing because I got up late, went to the loo while they were in the middle of a hurried breakfast service (they hadn’t woken me or other sleepers up for it), waited for them to ask me after my return, which they never did! The rest of the flight is a blurred memory, been unsuccessfully trying to recall the IFE, cleanliness of the plane etc.

Looking back, my general impression of the flight confirms my view of today that Club in those days was more akin to PE of today.