Flying Business Class with Emirates - The A380 Review
Once you go Business, you never go back - or so I have been told. I was also quite convinced of this after flying Emirates from Perth to Dubai and then on from Dubai to London and Paris to Perth. You also never forget the feeling of flying on the A380. I was also incredibly lucky to experience all that it had to offer.
The A380 is the only aeroplane in the world with two full-length decks - and is regarded the double decker of the sky. The lower deck houses economy seats and the upper is home to first and business class passengers. For those in business class, the upper deck is also home to a sky bar.
You may think that Emirates is synonymous with gaudy woodgrain and Dubai bling, however I think that's one of the perks of flying Emirates. It's awesome. Besides, the smooth woodgrain actually grows on you almost immediately. It all adds to the experience of flying one of the leading airlines in the world. It also feels a little like Christmas. You're gifted with amenities of which include eyeshades, a Bvglari amenity kit containing a toothbrush, shower gel, cleansing cream and towelettes. You are also given fast track cards which allow you to skip the lines at Dubai Airport if connecting to another flight.
You can sit and look through your goodies bag, or maybe if you're like me, you would have already fully reclined your flat bed and begun to learn how to use the Information Communication Entertainment (ICE) System and settled on one of the many new releases, full television series and recommended picks. The large iPad pops out only after taxi, however you can use both the iPad and the remote to select what you want to watch, listen to, read or play
Or if you're like Jason, you would have set your screen to display two of the three possible live feeds of the journey ahead from the plane's external cameras. There are cameras situated on the underbelly of the plane, which when taking off shows you a steady but sure accent and then the scenery below. You could also enjoy the views that the pilot delights in with the forward facing camera or on the A380, a special third camera which is attached to the tail fin providing glorious views of the aircraft flying through the clouds.
Emirates prides itself on its in-flight food and beverage menu and rightfully so. It was the first time I actually thoroughly enjoyed airplane food. Served on ceramic plates with stainless steel and silverware, the food is restaurant quality in both taste and presentation. I even admit that my entree has been better than some I have had in expensive restaurants offering similar.
You're offered a drink while you wait for take off. Champagne anyone? Once you're in the air a range of salted macadamia, almonds and other nuts are given to you in a dish and you are gently reminded of the menu and your food and drink options. Options included lemon marinated crab, beef short ribs in barbecue sauce, seafood biryani and a traditional Arabian Mezze. A raspberry and chocolate dome and a salted caramel cake were the options for dessert. An extensive bread basket is also brought to you, from which you can make as many selections of as many breads as you like.
The stars that twinkle on the ceiling when the lights are dimmed also add another dimension to your flight. Some things appear ridiculously over the top however are also considered somewhat of a necessity. Take the mini-bar on the side of your seat for example - although it is not refrigerated, if you're thirsty and like the comfort of reaching into your own personal stock and don't quite like entertaining the idea of flight attendants, it's a great benefit.
I however do love the thought of interacting with flight attendants that actually want to be there. The international cabin crew are friendly, remember your name (or at least double check on their notepad before addressing you) and are so willing to make your flight a comfortable one. Generally, three to four passengers are assigned a flight attendant who then attends those co-located. There's also the chief steward or stewardess who swings past every now and then with a bottle of wine asking you how you are.
The flight attendants could not have been more friendly or attentive. They are also incredibly interesting people and are more than happy to chat about their travel adventures, your travel adventures and future travel adventures. And when the flight crew are part of an illustrious long-haul provider, they must go through various psychoanalytic tests and intense training until they they are of course given the iconic red hat and badge.
What I love about Emirates is the detail. Little lapel pins in the shape of flags sit on their uniforms, denoting which country they are from. And when they're hired from over 130 countries, it isn't surprising that on our particular flight from Dubai to London, between the pilot and the crew, fifteen languages were spoken with fluency. It's a minor detail, but is something I get ridiculously giddy about - knowing that for some passengers, it is unlikely that they will have to struggle to get their wishes across to the staff due to a language barrier. Emirates is all about providing you with service and comfort on what could otherwise be a less than comfortable flight.
Speaking of comfort, I could have a nice nap in the fully lay-flat seats, in addition to the added mattress. And so I fell asleep listening to Fleetwood Mac in the comfort and privacy of the seats - many thanks to the staggered seating arrangement. Although we were situated in the middle aisle, the A380s only house two aisle seats in comparison to three in most other models. The private partition went up and I snuggled down.
The seat reclines flat, with your legs moving forward below the hollowed out space of the seat in front of you, however there is more than enough room for you to lay on your back and on your side. This doesn't at all impact the storage above it for your bag, blanket or shoes if you decide to kick off your sneakers.
The flight was overall very smooth and we experienced very little turbulence, if at all. The plane was also very quiet and I didn't need to wear earplugs to block out the standard humming in most other planes. Overall, I was incredibly impressed - flying Emirates business certainly lived up to its name and the expectations attached to it. Going back to economy will be a little hard, however I'm pretty defiant in showing to Jason I can make do without business on the long haul, but with all of these perks and the amazing feeling of being treated like a princess, it does make it hard to be resistant to it.
P.S. Other perks include on-air wifi, power points, the fact that they don't make their cabin an ice chiller (it was the perfect temperature) and you get to hear this sweet tune when waiting for others to board. If you request the cabin crew to take a photograph for you, you can ask for them to take it on their Fujifilm - they store a polaroid camera specifically for snap-happy travellers like us.