Soaping Up Above The Clouds
The Airline: Emirates
The Flight Dubai to Sydney First Class, seat 4K – 14 hours 20 minutes.
Details: A380-800 Emirates offers three daily flights from Dubai to Sydney and Melbourne.
Check In and Lounge
Fancy a manicure, massage or blow dry before you board – it’s all possible after you check in at the massive –Emirates first class lounge in Dubai.
The adventure starts soon after arriving at the dedicated first class check-in area where our bags are whisked away and we are given passes to the lounge.
It is quite a walk from check-in to the lounge which is great exercise before boarding.
On arrival we are offered everything from French bubbles to various dining options, shown the sleeping room with blankets and pillows and the spacious bathrooms for a shower.
The lounge is huge with dedicated gates where you will find buffet selections as well and the dining room offers an extensive menu with delicious dishes. You certainly won’t go hungry.
There are also lots of places to stretch out and relax before a flight which you can board directly from the lounge.
There are also duty free shops and I can’t resist popping my head into the cigar bar that reminds me a little of an English club with leather Chesterfield sofas and wing back chairs.
Before boarding I opt for the complimentary blow dry and within 20 minutes have a new look. There’s also a complimentary shoe shine so you look spic and span before settling into your flight.
Service is excellent and passengers are certainly given that first class attention.
The Seat and Entertainment
For the first time ever I couldn’t wait to board and settle in a Private Suite that’s a little like a luxurious cubby house in the sky. A sliding door creates a compact haven and there’s A Do Not Disturb sign when you want to be alone and a “room service” button on the phone when you don’t. The layout is a one two one configuration with privacy screens if you tire of neighbour chit chat.
The roomy leather seat is well-padded and faster than you can say another champagne please – it converts to a flatbed stretching to 2.08 metres in length. A light mattress, down pillows, cotton-lined blankets, sleep suits and slippers delivered in an Emirates bag are available.
There’s also a mini wardrobe, pop up mini bar stocked with non-alcoholic drinks that with the push of button rises after take-off and a wellness kit with lotions and potions designed to promote sleep is a nice touch. There’s plenty of leg room and storage space with a snack basket full of goodies, writing kit and an amenities kit with Bulgari products.
The ICE -information communications and entertainment system- offers 1000 channels of entertainment, satellite phone services, SMS and email, live BBC news headlines and an air show map with external cameras. You can also wander down to the intimate first class bar for a drink and canapes.
There’s something weird and wonderful about getting your gear off 40,000 feet in the air and taking a hot shower so you are ready to disembark in Sydney feeling squeaky clean.
There are two shower spas at the front of the plane for first class passengers only and your preferred time is noted soon after you board.
The trouble is you get in there and you don’t want to leave. The heated floor warms your feet, while the five minute blast of warm water revitalises you. You can stop the timer while you shampoo your hair then restart it.
In case of turbulence there’s a seat and a safety belt and an attendant just outside the door. The spacious bathroom is stocked with Timeless Spa and Bulgari products, a hair dryer, full length mirror, large fluffy bath towel and a 15.4-inch LCD monitor that shows the live air show and when you leave green tea and a small platter of fruit waits.
From the moment you are offered a glass of Dom Perignon 2004 champagne, traditional Arabic coffee and dates, presented with a hot lemon scented towel and gourmet menus –I am happy to linger longer. Service is excellent, discreet and nothing is too much trouble – if you fancy a salted caramel tart or smoked duck at any time of the night – no worries.
There’s a cosmopolitan staff on board from 21 countries speaking 24 languages.
First and business class passengers are offered complementary airport limousine transfers on departure around the world and on arrival in Australia. The service operates free within a 40-kilometre radius of Sydney and Perth and within a 60-kilometre radius of Melbourne and Brisbane.
A white linen tablecloth is spread and each course is served on Royal Doulton bone china plates with exclusive Robert Welch cutlery.
The first class menu is extensive with a dine anytime you like offer. Living the dream I dine on caviar served with mini blinis, chopped boiled egg, sour cream and lemon, followed by a fillet of salmon seasonal salad and I couldn’t say no to the chocolate panna cotta with almond brittle that tastes as good as it looks. The well- crafted wine list features drops from France, Australia and New Zealand.
Soaping up high in the clouds is definitely a novelty but beware fantasies of your numbers coming up and owning you own jet with a luxe bathroom set in quickly. www.emirates.com.au
Sue Wallace paid for her flight.