Why “Luggage Class” Is Much Better Than First-Class

First Class Bus Thailand
First-Class Bus Passengers Above
Krabi, Thailand

Have you ever traveled luggage-class before? It’s like a billion times more awesome than first-class! These are just some of the reasons why.

First-class. The envy of all travelers everywhere. It’s truly how the ultra-rich get from point A to point B with complimentary alcohol, ample legroom, top-notch service, and plenty of privacy.

But hold on now, there’s a brand new class in town.

I’m sure you all know someone who’s traveled first-class before. Maybe you’ve even been lucky enough to experience it for yourself…

Yet how many people do you know who travel in luggage-class?

Yup. This is waaaaay more exclusive.

Luggage Compartment Travel

If you don’t already know, long distance bus travel in Thailand can be very comfortable in first-class. The seats are big, have plenty of leg room, and often recline pretty far back.

A few snacks and drinks are handed out over the course of the journey. VIP class buses also include personal LCD screens with movies & games.

Over the past few months, I’ve traveled on quite a few of these buses. Sure they’ve been nice. But nothing mind-blowing.

Today I traveled in luggage-class for the first time. Underneath the bus, inside the luggage compartment full of bags.

I sincerely believe it’s the next best thing in luxury travel!

Luggage Class Bus Thailand
Luggage-Class Passengers Below

Private VIP Entrance

The very first thing I noticed after receiving my premiere luggage-class ticket was that we had a separate entrance from everyone else on the bus.

While first-class passengers were forced to endure a grueling climb up a flight of stairs, us luggage-class folk only needed to duck into our private 4-foot tall padded & windowless door.

I felt special already!

Limited Distractions

Once settled onto a bench between 10 other people in the luggage compartment, the doors closed and we began moving. Only now did I truly begin to appreciate how extraordinary this journey would be.

Up in first-class, there are all kinds of annoying distractions that get in the way of a comfortable bus ride. Things like movies, music, large windows, and light. Not so in luggage-class!

A single dim light bulb cast enough of a glow to allow me to stare at my own reflection on the stainless-steel wall 12 inches from my face.

Soothing sounds of speeding bus tires over highway asphalt combined with the roar of a diesel engine.

No more watching in horror as bus drivers attempt to pass slow-moving cars, playing chicken with oncoming traffic.

Luggage-class allows your imagine to run wild about the risks he’s taking from under the bus in darkness.

Traveling in Luggage Compartment
Enjoying My Complimentary Sauna

Luxury Spa Treatments

What you may not know about luggage-class is that with the price of a ticket you also receive complimentary spa treatments. Everyone is sitting in a windowless reflective metal box.

It’s a bit like a sauna in there — allowing your pores to sweat freely and purge your body of those notoriously unhealthy evil toxins.

Free massages were included too! A 5-year-old girl repeatedly poked me in the back for a majority of the trip, while a sleeping elderly man rubbed his bare feet on my hip.

Unrivaled Entertainment

Who needs to be entertained with pirated Hollywood movies dubbed in Thai without English subtitles? With luggage-class, you’ll enjoy multiple forms of high-quality entertainment.

Like screaming babies. Or puking babies. Maybe a crazy man who talks to himself.

Of course, if you’re lucky, like me, you’ll be able to experience all three during your 2-hour long trip. Boredom is never a problem when traveling in luggage-class!

Bus Luggage Compartment Thailand
Who Needs Movies? Babies are Entertaining.

Ultimate Exclusivity

Are you the type of person who only wants the best? Constantly trying to one-up your neighbor? Maybe first-class just isn’t as exclusive as it used to be.

  • Everyone has first-class. Only developing countries and Michigan have luggage-class.
  • Impress friends at parties with your tales of elegant overland excursions from underneath a bus.
  • Why gaze at the countryside when you can gaze at yourself in the dark? It’s totally ironic. You’ll be the hippest hipster around.

So get with the times and join the hottest, most exclusive luxury travel club on the planet. Arrive at your next destination in style with luggage-class! ★

Would you pay to travel in luggage-class? Let me know in the comments below!

Travel Planning Resources

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.


I hope you enjoyed my story on why “Luggage Class” is much better than First-Class. Here are some more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (55)

  1. I have never traveled in a luggage class before. But, after reading this I am planning to have a ride in luggage class. Thank you Matthew for posting.

  2. Lol! Love it! We are currently doing Cambodia on a motorbike. Just today we were discussing taking our ‘young adult’ children on a tour through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam via train and buses. I have now decided to do it luggage class! That will teach them a thing or two about roughing it!

  3. I have taken one too many “first class” buses in Thailand, and the horror movies & karaoke singing is enough to want to put me with the luggage!

    Glad your journey was only 1.5hrs!

  4. I will agree with you on one point, you can’t see what’s happening, like the driver playing chicken with oncoming traffic. I was placed upstairs on the front seat for my last bus ride, 13 hours from Mukdahan to Pattaya, 13 hours of hell, I thought I was going to die on several occasions.

    First time I heard of luggage class though, and deepest respect to you for trying it. Something I certainly don’t mind experiencing second hand.

  5. Tears in my eyes…actual tears from laughing. Plus, don’t you LOVE how stuff like this is perfectly legal all over SE Asia? And can you imagine the uproar if something like this was allowed in the West? Just one more reason we need to chillax….maybe next up, luggage class on airplanes??

  6. At first I thought… No… Couldn’t be. But it was. Respect for taking that road less traveled (in the dark with babies).

    And no, I have never traveled luggage class. Apparently, based on your description, I have traveled first class, but only on a coach. In Taiwan it’s pretty cheap, and after a weekend in the south, comfy seats are appreciated.

    But this sounds like a journey that is also an adventure unto itself. As all good journeys should be. Thanks for the story. Not quite as good as your holy tattoo, though. That was terrifyingly awesome. Stay safe on those travels!

  7. Glad I met you in person a few days ago for many reasons, including hearing this story from you ‘live.’ Holy crap–it’s SO funny!

    Free massages, huh?

    Love the photos! And glad it wasn’t an overnight journey. That would have been too much, I think. :)

    • I agree. Not sure if I could’ve handled an overnight “luggage class” trip. Great to meet you too Lisa!

  8. Wow! I’ve never heard of luggage class before. It was very brave of you to travel down there, I’m not sure I could have handled a trip without windows.

  9. Very cool, that’s a new way to travel for sure. never heard of such bus “seats” or tickets. I imagine that if it was only 2-3 of you down there it could be quite comfortable and peaceful…maybe? But the crowded, lack of personal space issues make it a no-go for me.

  10. Kudos I had to travel to Kolkata in summers to attend a wedding and had the best sauna in the sleeper train car with our upper berths. I can really understand what you mean but I just love air and views too much to be luggage traveling

  11. To me, the most appealing aspect of luggage class travel has to be the lack of speakers. I wouldn’t even care if I had five people sitting on top of me as I sweated out every drop of moisture in my body, not having to listen to Thai pop music at a nightclub-level volume would make it all worth it.

  12. Ha, sounds like an adventure, for sure! I think the inability to see the sketchy driving maneuvers made by the driver would be the highlight in my book!!

  13. You’re hilarious and perhaps a little, dare I say… narcissistic with your full-on enjoyment of staring at yourself for all those hours – I can’t stop laughing.

  14. This is pee your pants HILARIOUS. Seriously.

    I think the best part of this article is when you refer to the fact that you don’t have to watch the drivers play chicken with oncoming traffic.

    TOTALLY true. Never would have thought of that.

    I had to drug myself (with legal substances, of course) into a comma to get through bus rides in Vietnam. Terrifying.

    We are currently in Eastern Europe — Next bus ride – I am going to inquire about Luggage Class tickets.


  15. I have never seen such type buses running in our area. If it do, i would definitely share my feelings. However I have travel on roof for so many time even a long distance, it always awesome but face becomes so ugly….

  16. I’ve never heard of luggage class before. Thanks for the introduction, but I think I’ll stick to a window seat :P

    • I think it was the same for all of us getting on from that small town. $80 baht for a 1.5 hour ride. Didn’t realize I was buying a “luggage class” seat until the luggage guy pointed for me to get inside! Most of the passengers bought their tickets in Bangkok.

  17. Haha, brilliant post Matthew. I was wondering at the title what could you possible be talking about :)

    This is what travelling is all about – experiences like that bus journey.

  18. well some say I have traveled far and wide. but i have not been in the luggage on a bus. (and its two years today since i arrived in Thailand).
    yes entertaining. but i agree with other comments, on the roof is the best seat.
    some of us just need to see where we are going and have fresh air in the face. maybe thats why we also like push biking too.
    the other form of transport i have not experience is hitch hiking a lift in a car transporter, and sitting in one of the cars on top. “one day, a travellers day”

    in the early days of trains back here in NZ we would ride in the cargo carriage. now that was comfort.

  19. I have yet to travel in such luxury although once I flew in a chartered aircraft and prior to taking off they asked for 4 people that wanted to be moved into first class. I readily accepted and then found out we had to load all the luggage first. Still, I got into first class.

  20. Seriously, in all my years of travel, I’ve never been in Luggage Class…I never thought I could afford it! Now that I know what I’ve been missing out on, I’ll be sure to save my baht and book that ticket next time I’m in Thailand.

    The closest we’ve gotten to Luggage Class was on the roof of a chicken bus in Indonesia….watch out for low hanging branches :(

    Cheers for the hilarious post!

  21. Awesome! Talk about having a positive outlook. I don’t think I’ve ever given luggage class a thought, but after your compelling argument it just might be the next way we travel haha. Great writing!

  22. I definitely think I’d get sick if I rode in luggage-class. I love your humorous and positive take on the situation, though.

  23. Oh My Gosh Matt!!! You made me laugh so hard!! that was funny! And I never knew there was such things as Luggage Class!

    • Me neither Sam. I probably shouldn’t have shared it though, because now everyone will want to travel this way!

  24. This post is HILARIOUS! I LOVE the way you were able to describe SO many unique aspects of this experience. Each paragraph contained a new surprise, and I chuckled all the way through it! And…I’m glad you made it to your destination!

    • I was writing the post in my mind as soon as I began the journey, because there wasn’t much else to do down there in the dark. :)

    • Luxury travel at its best! I felt very special to get such high-end treatment. Highly recommended Jessie. :)

  25. OMG- I didn’t know they actually sold tickets for those seats. Hysterical post. Way to be a trooper and literally ride that one out. I remember I was on an overnight bus from BKK to the ferry for Koh Tao and I had a non-reclining seat down below, which was wonky and so for the entire ride, I had to balance on one butt cheek to keep from spilling into my neighbor. I thought that was a nightmare. But you take the prize.

    • I don’t think they were special tickets Christine, just the only seats left! No one told me I was buying a “luggage class” seat…

  26. Hahaha no I havent Matt, But i would love to try it…
    epic journey… it could be on my list for when i arrive :D lol

    • It’s a pretty high-end experience Mo. Make sure to ask for “luggage class” tickets, and tell them I sent ya. ;)

  27. Uhhh, I am so claustrophobic that just reading this got me anxious! Was the door locked and you had to wait for someone to open it in order to get out? Freakyyyyy. Note to self: No luggage-class travel for me! Good on you for finding the positives in the situation though. :P

    • I was curious about the door too Mirva. There was a latch of some kind on the inside, so I’m guessing it could open. But I never tried it to find out…

  28. Matt
    I’m all in! I agree fully with random travel experiences are best. I still tell people about lieing down under the bikes on a train in europe. Awesome funny memories and free ride…lol. cheers

  29. This post was Hilarious. but what I loved most was the photograph of you enjoying your complimentary sauna. You can really see the love of the adventure in your eyes and the childlike glee felt when taking the road less traveled. I envied you the second I read ‘Luggage Class’ in the title, but your writing really transported me there and made me yearn for more.

    I think people forget that the most memorable experiences we have are the strangest and the unplanned. We might mention the pristine cleanness of a hotel room or the comfort of an air conditioned coach, but never with the same passion I read in this post. Thank you for sharing this, it made my day.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Rick! I did seem to be the only one enjoying my time under that bus…

      Definitely one of my favorite aspects of travel — completely random & unusual moments like this one. :)

  30. No, I haven’t, but I’ve ridden on the roof of a few. No way I could do that, I’d be the one vomiting, it must make you so car, or bus, sick. You’re a brave man! How much money did it save you?

    • Ah yes! The infamous rooftop luggage rack. I’ve been on a few myself. I’d say that totally qualifies as “luggage-class”. Welcome to the club Alyson! :D