Today, I was given amazing service by Emirates Airlines having just arrived in Dubai from London. I had been excited to fly for the first time on the A380 Airbus. My ticket was originally booked as an economy ticket, but I was given a complimentary upgrade when I checked in, as space was available. However, the A380 was delayed for several hours for some reason. So when I landed with Air Canada in London, England from Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was met at the AC doorway by an Emirates employee. She walked me through the UK customs fast track. At that time, I was given the option to wait a minimum of 3 additional hours at Heathrow for the A380, or they could drive me to Gatwick Airport for a flight at my originally scheduled time. It would “only be” a Boeing 777, but I said “Ok” to the Gatwick option because I was already arriving after midnight.
I arrived at Gatwick thanks to the limousine Emirates arranged for me and was admitted to the business lounge even though my upgraded business class ticket was at the ‘low end’ Emirates business class. The lounge had high-end restaurant quality food (for example they make their veggie spring rolls 4 at a time so they are always fresh). When I was ready to head to my gate, I was told to enjoy the lounge as we had a few more minutes and that they would announce when I could head to the gate, so I wouldn’t have to wait when I got there.
I boarded the plane directly from the lounge and have to say that level of Business Class on the Emirates 777 is still something to experience. The first thing I noticed was that the flight attendants were all courteous, quick with a smile and only too happy to be of service. They chose to make eye contact, smile and engage you when they speak. In my experience, this is something I’ve noticed is lacking with several other airlines. The exception being Lufthansa, as they also understand the power in that small kindness and service. A smile and eye contact is worth so much and yet so inexpensive to offer. It’s also extremely costly when it’s missing in customer service and so I wonder why it’s so rare to find these days.
The business class in an Emirates 777 has 2 window seats, 3 middle and 2 window seats and all seats are pod-style. The TV’s for each passenger are 20 inch monitors I think and they are operated from your seat by a 10 inch integrated iPad-like device. They have 1500 channels to check out, from full audio albums to dozens of movies, TV shows and games, or you can watch the flight progress from the camera on the nose of the plane. You will not run out of things to keep you busy, if you forgot a book at home. There are fresh flowers in places along the walls and in the bathrooms. Real face cloths and disposable toothbrushes and cologne are in the bathrooms as well. So in addition to the free smiles, you get a sense of the attention to detail in all aspects of the Emirates experience.
The food was amazing with a variety of choice wines. I settled on the French red, a Chateau I believe, and enjoyed a piping hot leak soup as an appetizer. For an Entrée, I chose the gourmet chicken dish. Dinnerware was top quality, no plastic knives and forks here. When dinner was completed, they dimmed the lights and I was offered what looked like a soft, thick yoga mat in a bed sheet to act as a pillow top for my deluxe leather seat. Anything else would have been uncivilized! 🙂 I accepted and reclined the seat into the bed position and raised my privacy shield a foot upwards on either side of my head for added comfort and slept like a baby. Speaking of babies they seat parents with infants in all classes of the plane at bulk heads, so that they can snap a very comfortable looking cradle into the wall to allow the parents and baby to relax and enjoy the ride.
When the plane landed, I walked out of the door and down the stairs into the open tarmac and was hit by the 37 C midnight temperature. No Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore…this is the desert! There was one Emirates employee at the bottom of the stairs holding a Dave Carroll sign who was sent to collect me. She had looked-up my picture online ahead of time and had recognized me before I saw her. She escorted me onto the air conditioned bus and through the airport fast track security. I was met at security by the Emirates manager who greeted me by name having researched my photo as well. My bag and guitar were first off the plane, as arranged by the baggage manager named Bachir, who greeted me by name and gave me his card. My escort arranged a complimentary limousine through the Emirates First Class service desk and walked me to the car waiting outside, where I was whisked to my accommodations in Dubai at The Palace. I had my bags, had cleared security and was in my hotel in 45 minutes (the drive from the airport took 20 minutes).
I think I have just had the best experience an air traveler can enjoy thanks to the staff at Emirates Airlines and the quality of their aircraft. I was told they are a premium brand in the airline industry and I can say first hand that they’ve earned that reputation. I would recommend Emirates to anyone.