SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

Follow our Instagram Travel Videos @sfo777dotcom

The First Class Travel Blog

Manchester Derby at Etihad Stadium

Manchester Derby at Etihad Stadium
Manchester Derby at Etihad Stadium
via Virgin Atlantic and Air France 
February 2024

San Francisco to London via Virgin Atlantic Upper Coffin Class

Today’s crazy routing is actually Paris to London via San Francisco. Say what? Indeed back to San Francisco to pick up my SFO grandson for our trip to Manchester and the Manchester Derby, champion ManCity vs. Manchester United. I opted for Virgin Atlantic since they were the only ones with cheap Business Class award seats. Of course. And you get what you pay for. What a miserable excuse for an airline with the most dreadful Business Class seats in the skies. Upper Class my arse. More like Coffin Class. Mercifully, it was only 10 hours and I never have to fly them again.

SFO International Terminal

Ready to go.  Excellent check-in experience as wonderful agent Rebekkah greeted us and added my KTN which I was unable to add on VirginAtlantic.com

Let's head to the lounge.

Little did I know that the SFO Clubhouse would be the highlight of our day with Virgin Atlantic.

The Clubhouse menu...

Yummy pork adobo fried rice.

Clam chowder in typical San Francisco sourdough bowl.

San Francisco SFO to London LHR
Virgin Atlantic VS 20
Ancient 787-9
6:40p-12:55p +1
February 29, 2024


At around T-50, we headed for the gate.  Our ugly 787...

Seriously?  Who though this was a good configuration?

Sure, like why would I want to look out the windows?

Brilliant decision on button design.  After years of use, no idea what they mean.

Showtime, I guess...

Today's menu...

Heirloom tomato salad.

Gross seafood paella, a last minute catering substitution not on the menu since catering didn't load the advertised Lamb Kofta.

Bedding didn't fit as A330 mattress pad was loaded by mistake.

What an awful design.  Row after row of coffins.


The omelet was actually pretty tasty.

Morning view of the cabin.  Get me outta here.

Never again Virgin Atlantic and your stupid Coffin Class.

My Instagram video of our day with Virgin Atlantic

Our Day in London

With a late 1:20pm Heathrow arrival, we were at the Conrad London St. James around 2:30pm. Very nice hotel, lovely staff and an excellent value for London hotels. And a great location less than 5 minutes St. James Park and less than 10 minutes to Big Ben, which we explored later in the afternoon.

Lunch before our room was ready.

Lovely suite...

Great sightseeing nearby.

For dinner, I chose nearby Chez Antoinette, a cute French bistro just a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

And my Instagram video of our day in London.

Avanti West Coast First Class to Manchester

Avanti West Coast offers comfortable high speed trains between London and Manchester. Avanti’s First Class fares offer lounge access and friendly service including food and open bar. And since it was a Saturday, very reasonable family fares at just £151 for the two of us. Add in free Wi-Fi and only 2 other passengers in our car, it was a great way to get to Manchester.

Pleasant lounge but not worth spending a lot of time here.

Predeparture beverage service.

And predepature snack selection.

Today's menu...

Yummy cheese and onion croque.

What a delightful way to travel between London and Manchester.

And my Instagram video of Avanti West Coast to Manchester.


In searching for hotels, I found this cool "Manchester United Suite" at the Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel.

For dinner, we headed out a brisk 10 minute walk.

To The Ivy Spinningfields.

Great atmosphere at The Brasserie

Crispy duck salad.

Ivy Burger.

Yummu Ivy Chicken MIlanese

Ivy Chocolate Bombe for finish a most enjoyable dinner.

ManCity vs. Manchester United at The Etihad

So exciting to be at Etihad Stadium for the 2024 Manchester Derby match between last year’s treble champions Man City vs. arch rival Manchester United. Even more exciting is that I was able to get a sweet VIP package including stadium tour including locker room, pics with the trophies, tour of City Academy, and later greeting the team as they enter the stadium. What a fun day!

City Legends reliving past glory.

Cool City locker room

What great seats for the inside action.

Today's menu,,,

City manager Pep Guardiola...

And superstar stiker Erling Haaland...



Getting ready for gametime from awesome seats.

Exciting game and City wins 3-1

My Instagram video of our day at Etihad Stadium.

Air France La Première to San Francisco

Hard to believe that 4 days later I’m back on the same Air France La Première flight to San Francisco. I had definitely not intended to spoil the SFO grandson quite this much but it was a last minute scramble to find flights as I hadn’t realized until the week before that the ManCity-United game was moved from Saturday to Sunday. The good part of that move was no Virgin Atlantic as their Monday flight did not have award seats. The only award seats available were Air France La Première. Quel dommage! LOL. And Flying Blue was having a 100% bonus mileage sale. The only bad part of the trip was having to endure the abomination that is Manchester Airport Terminal 2 with jet bridges 4 flights of stairs down from the gate and concourse. Why does the UK have the worst airports in the world? But once on board, even Air France Euro Business Class was excellent on a new A220. And in the La Première Lounge, we both enjoyed Alain Ducasse Coquillettes Truffe/Noir aka Truffle Mac n Cheese. And another wonderful La Première flight to San Francisco.

Manchester MAN to Paris CDG
Air France AF 1269
March 4th, 2024
241,500 Flying Blue miles


Not a big fan of the fake European Business Class but the new Air France A220 is not bad with two seats on the AB side and an open aisle seat.

What a stupid airport design.  The jet bridge is 4 flights of stairs down from the gate and concourse.  WTF?

Our wonderful La Première assistant met us as the door opened and escorted us downstairs to our private limo to the La Première Lounge.

Alain Ducasse Coquillettes, one more time.

At around 30 minutes before departure, our La Première assistant escorted us to our limo and our 77W to San Francisco.

Paris CDG to San Francisco SFO
Air France AF 84
777-300ER (77W)
March 4, 2024
Departed 3/4
Our home for the next 11 hours.

Yeah, this will work.  LOL.

Today's menu...

And wine list...

OMG - Foie Gras and Truffle Ravioli...

Farmhouse chicken confit.

Time for some sleep in the adjacent suite.

An hour or so before landing, pre-arrival meal.  Langoustines were wonderful. 

As was the creamy crab cannelloni.

Merci Air France for another wonderful La Première day.

And my Instagram video of my day with Air France.