The definition of First Class, as per my quick Google search, comes up thusly:
Noun: a set of people or things grouped together as the best
Adjective: of the best quality or in the highest division.
As it turns out, the online dictionaries and search engines are horrendously mistaken. Apparently, First Class simply means: tiny table.
…well, according to Southeastern trains anyway.
On occasion, my journey into the metropolitan madness that is London is blessed. As the train arrives, so appears a 1st class carriage, thus presenting the first of much baffling buffoonery from Southeastern.
Stuck proudly to the doorway that leads to the ‘luxury’ of 1st Class is a sign that reads:
“This area is reserved for the use of passengers travelling with a first class ticket only. Maximum fine for misuse £1,000”
Having an area reserved for those who choose to pay more is no new fangled idea. But, the good people of Southeastern have taken this a step further, for they have designed an area SO exclusive that NO ONE can sit in it under pain of PENALTY.
You see, the service that runs on the Sidcup line to Charing Cross has no 1st Class, yet here we are in 1st Class. Perhaps 1st Class is nothing more than a shared social illusion to give the poor folk of the South East some sense of purpose and achievement. I know, deep right?
But seriously, one cannot actually purchase a 1st Class ticket for this train, thus rendering the 1st Class area (including the 12 seats and associated standing room) totally and utterly pointless. And considering the line I live on is one of the most dense of the London commuter areas, this whole enterprise seems brain-bendingly counter productive.
This would be like a car manufacturer making a people carrier with the usual room for 7 people, but then taking out the back 5 seats, arguing it gives the driver and single passenger ‘greater privacy and an exclusive feel’. And yet, they are still in a horrific looking people carrier.
If there was someone stupid enough to pay EXTRA for their commute to London, would you not imagine that they might choose a properly top-class transport option? A helicopter for example. Or maybe even a taxi.
All Southeastern have achieved is to reduce the amount of available space for us commoners on an already over crowded service. Such behaviour breeds revolution, for here I am, nothing more than a dirty commoner, sitting in 1st Class. Now I’m not saying Southeastern are oppressive overlords with an inflated sense of self-worth, I am simply implying it.
And with a whirlwind of gut-wrenching pointlessness we have arrived at the crux of the problem. According to Southeastern, First Class is nothing more than these fabled tables, and labels.
If anything, the seats are less comfortable than the common class alternative. However, emblazoned proudly upon its headrest is a sign that reads ‘1st Class’. If there was ever proof that Southeastern know how to do luxury, this is it.
But they aren’t done there. Oh no. They have one final bow in their quiver. By upgrading to 1st Class, not only do you get a sign telling you of your 1st Class lifestyle, but you also get, a table.
And this is no normal table. This is possibly the smallest table they could possible have installed, while still being able to describe it as a table.
I am well aware that technology is getting smaller. But seriously, the tables are only there for the benefit of the window seats and even then they cater for single occupancy only. It genuinely does blow the hinges from my usually calm mind. I have seen regular Southeastern services to Dover that have tables as standard; tables I might add that can be used by 4 actual normal sized humanoids.
We were wrong. So very, very wrong. The modern definition of First Class simply means tiny table. We are entering a world of artistic minimalism after all. Perhaps the tables are an expression of modern consumerism and the idealistic shrinking class divide.
Or perhaps, once again, Southeastern are being nothing more than colossal ass-monkeys.
Yeah, probably that.