Let’s start with, “Please don’t hate me.” Like you, I’ve endured many air flights cramped in Coach seats with no food or bad food, and seatmates who only contribute to the challenge of flying “cattle car.” I too have arrived at my destination rumpled, cramped, tired, hungry and dehydrated. On long-long overseas flights, add sleep deprivation to the list of discomforts. (Although…may I never forget flying is very much a privilege! To me, flying is always going to be worth it if I can get to a new destination.)
But certainly, flying First Class or Business Class changes the equation. I’ve had some wonderful, positive, and outright decadent experiences on these flights. Flying First Class or Business on a premier airline like Emirates Air makes plane travel part of the fun of the trip.
First Class on Emirates Air
On a recent trip from Dallas to Dubai, I flew First Class on Emirates Air. Take a look.
Settling In For the Flight
I’m personally shown to my seat by one of a great crew of flight attendants. Doors and drawers are opened and closed. There are at least three sets of buttons and places to plug in electronics. There’s the television, of course, and the choice to use touch screen, a remote or the tablet in its little cradle over to the side to control it. The tablet can also control the seat, lighting, and more. I quiet the temptation to ask if the tablet can be used to fly the plane.
There’s ample room for my jacket, a change of clothes and my carry on, and that’s without using overhead storage space.
I explore the nooks and crannies of the space.
Before take-off, I have a cup of Arabic coffee and a plump almond-stuffed Medjool date. Soon after take-off, I enjoy my first glass of 2006 Dom Pérignon.
Menus are printed on pages of glossy white card stock, nicely done. There’s a full selection of appetizers, main courses, “light bites,” and desserts. In First Class, you can ask for anything at anytime, and it’s all served on Royal Doulton China, with Robert Welch cutlery.
I start with the caviar course. Because I like caviar. And it goes very well with the “Dom.”
I’m quite at home.
The Arabic mezze plate is as delicious as it is appetizing in appearance. There’s hummus, moutbel, muhammara, shanklish salad, taboule, seafood salad, stuffed wine leaves, lamb kibbeh, spinach fatayer and cheese sambousek.
I read, watch a movie, walk around a bit, and when I’m ready, request a main course. From five entrees, I select the slow-braised lamb shank with a thyme reduction, mashed potatoes, and glazed turnips and carrots.
Wine? There’s a separate printed wine menu with excellent selections from France, the U.S. and Australia, as well as a full menu of non-alcoholic beverages, cocktails, spirits, and beer and juices. The coffee was excellent.
Everything is on your own time and with a bit over 14 hours flight-time, I’m in no hurry. I read, do a bit of writing, and ultimately, allow myself to just relax.
“Night” Settles In
I’ve waited to open the amenity bag; something to look forward to and have a private giggle over. There are slippers, eye shades, a comb and mirror, Bvlgari hand and face cream, a toothbrush kit, a .5-oz. bottle of Bvlgari Red Tea cologne, and a cosmetics bag (style change weekly for variety for frequent flyers).
The lights dim and the “stars” go on in the cabin, as “night” settles in. I’m not ready for sleep, and enjoy a couple of movies. There are over 750 channels, with movies, TV shows, and games. I’m a big foreign film buff, and I have my choice of many new and classic films from all over the world. Since I’m bound for Dubai, I’m most drawn to the news from the Arab world and Arabic and Bollywood films.
As a nightcap, I enjoy some Godiva chocolates and a glass of Hennessy Paradis, a cognac that sells for $750.00 a bottle. (I make do with the V.S.O.P. at home.)
When I’m ready for sleep, I change into my Emirates Air pajamas while my bed is “made up.” My flight attendant spreads out the bedding, gives me a few more pointers on cabin comforts, and closes the door to my “room”, where I play with seat adjustments until comfy.
Life is Hard.
The downsides? Well, I have to admit that I was very disappointed that the Boeing 777-300ER plane I’m on is not the Airbus A380 that has an upper deck lounge or shower suites on board. Yes, showers, where you reserve time for a shower at 40,000 feet. The Boeing plane also lacks a separate cocktail lounge. I so enjoyed the lounge on my return trip, flying Business Class on the A380 (but couldn’t talk them into letting me try out the First Class shower.)
Because I used flight miles for the trip, I also didn’t get to enjoy a few other first class perks: chauffeur-driven services en route to and from the airport, or complimentary airport hotel rooms in Dubai with long layovers. I did, however, enjoy the use of airport lounges. There, I showered, enjoyed some great food and refreshments, and dedicated plane entry for my connecting flight.
It’s amazing just how rested and fresh you can arrive after such a long flight when you travel First Class. We should all always fly in such luxury!
- Emirates Air, www.emirates.com/us/english/
– All photos by Nancy Zaffaro.