Cancelled holiday? A lighthearted look at how to re-create your first class trip at home

first class glass of champagne

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Whilst these are very scary and unsettling times, I thought it would be good to have a light-hearted, mainly very silly and tongue in cheek attempt to look at how you can recreate going away from your living room. We are all grounded for quite a while now, most of us at home for much of the time. I’m sure we will start to get itchy feet shortly, so here’s how to have the full business/first class holiday experience from your own home.


The lounge experience

Finnair A350 review

Cathay Pacific First class lounge Heathrow T3

Designate an area of your house as the airport lounge complete with grumpy/bored lounge dragon (i.e. your partner) to scowl at your boarding pass as you attempt to enter. Next, you need to turn the thermostat up, way up to get that lovely “tropical” oh my god, why is it so hot in here feeling. Then put out some mediocre wines, of course,  champagne – but they must be lukewarm if you want to stay authentic! Then you need a few cling film wrapped sandwiches with dubious looking fillings. Add in some random spirits plus packets of crisps and you have the full “third party” lounge experience. 

If you want to go more upmarket à la Cathay lounge, put a nice chair near the window – that can be your designated throne seat. Throw on some random bags or luggage plus a coat, so no one can actually sit there. Rustle up some dan-dan noodles with some of the 20 packets of long-life noodles that you bought in a panic buying session and some peanut butter, to feel like you are in the Cathay lounge at T3!


Onboard the plane in First or business class

Start the experience with a warm flannel to wipe your hands and a nice cold glass of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle. Watch a few of your favourite fun safety videos or demonstrations such as this one


or perhaps one of the old favourites like “blow boy”


or the BA comic relief ones we all moaned about but now probably will miss for a while:


Watch a video of a flight from one of your favourite travel vloggers – I am a big fan of Sam Chui and Paul Lucas. Paul loves Casey Neistat.

Have some more fizz with the packet of nuts leftover from Christmas which you have warmed in the microwave. Or if you want to make something a bit more first class, why not try this recipe for caramelized nuts to go with your deliciously chilled glass of bubbles. If you want to have more of a short haul business class experience, you could go for a bloody mary or G&T with a tiny packet of nuts.

In times of trouble, perhaps you want to spoil yourself with the full-on Emirates Caviar experience? London Caviar is still delivering, so even if you can’t get pasta or loo roll, there’s always caviar! Thanks to my friend Michael at Travel Zork who is a big caviar fan, you can use this link to 15% off your first order.

Etihad A380 First Apartment review

Welcome drink

Whilst eating your meal, watch a recently released film you have been meaning to catch up on and completely ignore your travel companion. Extra points if you wear headphones and shout at your partner during the best bits.

Etihad First class apartment A380 review

Etihad First steak and chips – one of the best I had  on a plane (read review here)

To eat, may I recommend the overcooked steak served with a bowl of unidentifiable vegetables that actually taste quite nice. Or is that because you are recreating the First class experience by working your way through a selection of white, red and dessert wines? And now everything tastes really delicious! If you are more of a Qatar fan you can create its famous mezze with some hummus, tabbouleh and vine leaves. Toast some pita bread for dipping, pile those bowls high with the mezze topped with a wedge of lemon and it’s like you are in your QSuite happy place!


To finish off crack open the box of chocolates or a selection of Cadburys minibars for a Club World feel. Not forgetting a glass of Baileys or your favourite liqueur with a cup of lukewarm coffee. 

After all that you may need a bit of a nap, so why not soothe yourself to sleep with some background aircraft jet noise from one of the ambient noise apps or this YouTube video.


The hotel experience


Order room service for breakfast

Roving Reporter may have been known to order room service breakfast from his husband via his mobile phone! Why not take it turns to be on room service duty and bring your loved one breakfast in bed like a hotel. Or set up a tea and coffee station in the bedroom for a quick cuppa in bed like a hotel room. You can use a flask or a Chilly’s flask for milk which keeps it cold for 24 hours. 


The room – transform your bedroom

sanchaya bintan review

Sanchaya Terrace suite bedroom

I have renovated my bedroom at home to look a bit like one of my favourite hotels, The Sanchaya. Get some great quality high thread count sheets, (mine are from The White Company) and some new fluffy white towels for the bathroom to make your room a haven. I’m sure you have a secret stash or miniature toiletries from your favourite hotel, so why not put them out and start using them! Just the smell alone can bring back lovely memories. 

I renovated my furniture by painting it to match and adding some crystal handles. One of my other favourite hotels uses Hypnos beds (The Corinthia London).

Many hotels sell their pillows, beds, signature scents and more online so you can recreate it all at home. 

Four Seasons


Marriott Brands


The restaurant experience

Why not try and recreate a favourite meal from somewhere you have visited. There are so many recipes online you can find the details on how to cook pretty much anything – that’s assuming you can actually get hold of the ingredients of course but hopefully, that will calm down in a week or so. Also, it is often easier to find ingredients in specialist supermarkets and online stores rather than the more usual basics. Why not plan a full-on country experience with some regional wine, beer or local spirits too.

For example –

  • Thailand  – fish cakes, red duck curry with lychees and a few cold Changi or Singha beers.
  • Malaysia/Indonesia/Singapore – satay, Beef Rendang and a Tiger Beer or Singapore Sling
  • Hong Kong Dim sum (many supermarkets do a good frozen range), sweet and sour pork and Tsingtao beer
  • Spain – a selection of tapas such as patatas bravas with aioli, cooked chorizo, padron peppers and tortilla (you can buy ready-made) and a bottle of Rioja
  • South Africa – piri piri chicken livers, steak and a Dom Pedro. If you have never had one it’s like an alcoholic version of a McDonald’s vanilla milkshake. I would have a bottle of one of my favourite South African reds, a Meerlust Rubicon.
  • America – buffalo wings, bbq ribs, coleslaw, banana cream pie and a good California red. (I’m a fan of the Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot)

If you are missing the hotel spa, you can recreate the hot tub with one of the cheap blow up spas like this one from B&Q for £297. It’s not the prettiest but its a quick and cheap solution that can be taken down easily. 

How would you recreate your favourite bits of travelling at home? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

21 Comments on "Cancelled holiday? A lighthearted look at how to re-create your first class trip at home"

  1. Haha, very amusing! I loved that the B&Q inflatable spa is called ‘Clever Spa Corona 4’ and ‘co-ordinates with the Corona garden furniture set’. Not the shrewdest product name!

    I’ll be recreating the Sri Lankan Business experience with Piper Heidsieck champagne followed by a good, spicy curry.

  2. Gerard Reilly | 19 March 2020 at 6:15 am |

    Very funny – especially since I’m sitting in the Virgin Australia lounge in Cairns (they allow entry with platinum Amex card)
    Currently trying to get back to UK. Singapore Airlines cancelled our flights so I have rebooked economy tickets on Emirates. The staff at Amex have been very helpful in helping get flights sorted

  3. This is totally brilliant. I especially love the aircraft noise but. Thank you for the light relief today ?

  4. Libertysurf | 19 March 2020 at 6:51 am |

    Very very good! Lightened the mood after having one holiday company say they’ve rewritten their t&c so there’s no refund, but I can have a voucher. They’ve cancelled the holiday, not me. And it’s starting after the thirty day shut down. So I can’t claim for the additional hotels nor flights.
    Just fed up. So thank you for this!

    • That’s not a good response from the company but sadly not uncommon. Companies are scrabbling to keep cash in the company. Could be worth a credit card chargeback or trying your insurance company.

  5. steve sweeney | 19 March 2020 at 7:04 am |

    We are due to fly to LAX on April 9th then back from SFO May 5th. Here lies the issue we will not be allowed to fly, we are insured but will BA still be flying 3 flights a day to LAX plus today’s flight to SFO is cancelled.
    It is like a game of chicken, when will BA announce changes to their flight schedule to the States do you think.

    • It’s a tricky one with LAX as it’s an approved gateway. I can’t believe they are doing three flights a day still. I was due to fly back next week it’s still showing as operating. You still have plenty of time so all I can say is hang in there as I can’t see how long they will maintain that for.

  6. Louisa Barda | 19 March 2020 at 9:46 am |

    My flight with BA lhr to SJC on 24th March is cancelled
    I know I should get a cash refund for this 1st class flight but am only offered a voucher
    Impossible to get ba on phone, you get to refunds and they cut you off
    Any ideas?

  7. Lovely – I think it is an excellent idea to get out some of those sweet-smelling individual toiletries – on that basis I suspect many readers will be able to do one country a week for at least three months!

  8. At last, a bit of silly to atleast make you feel happier for 20 mins in all this doom & gloom.
    Suppose clearing customs in the U.S was good preparation for us queuing at the local supermarket…

  9. You missed the whole pre flight spa treatment ….surely everyone has an old emery board or face scrub In a drawer somewhere that can be used whilst on your “throne” ! Love it , lighthearted fun will get us through this !

    • Ooh good suggestion. But to make it realistic you can’t actually get an appointment ??

  10. ClaytonTheCruton | 19 March 2020 at 4:09 pm |

    In these trying times the recreate article was a stroke of brilliance!

    May I suggest a not so subtle addition of the following to add to that ‘Lounge’ entrance. My partner brought this for me with her tongue firmly in her cheek when doing so and placed it at the doorway to my “Man Cave”

    Link is certified 100% Safe For Work / Family Friendly **

    With just over £11k of BA Holidays and flights still booked this year( the next one being Sardinia on Jun 3rd!) all of which apart from the NYE trip to NYC are highly unlikely to materialise I think we may have to give this a spin this weekend. Will report back with outcome

    ** Michele, Roving Reporter etal hope link posting is okay? I tried to just paste the image but it doesn’t allow it. Obviously please remove if any issues

  11. Last Sat I cancelled a 2 weeks trip to the far east with Trailfinders, full refund.

    Also put back to trip to Croatia to Oct. Easyjet, Airbnb, Premier Inn, & airport parking all allowed me to amend the bookings.

  12. Sadly going through the motions of cancelling my 25th wedding anniversary trips this year including Lufty first class ?? so this really cheered us up

  13. And two weeks later I have just added another element: use that lovely Faber-Castell pencil from a Kempinski to doodle.

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