So this trip started out with a mess…
I originally had flights booked to Lusaka on South African Airways (SAA), and due to a series of strange events with the people sending me on this trip, I ended up being forced to change the flights to Emirates. It’s not something I really had much say in. It’s kind of a “you win some, you lose some” type situation. The flights on SAA were more convenient in terms of schedules, and also meant not having to transit in Dubai. But Emirates has a far superior product in terms of their lounges and also their on-board service.
For the record, if you want to know why I hate Dubai so much? Once upon a time my brother was stationed in the Gulf – he’s in the navy. On their rare time off, they used to go to Dubai to shop and sit around in expensive hotels and relax. I went to visit him on one of his trips to Dubai. We were out with some of his navy buddies and got hauled up by the cops – because I was a female in the company of a group of men. Now I knew the rules, as a female the only males I could be with were my husband or other family members. Stupid rule, but whatever. Now how exactly am I meant to prove that my brother is my brother? We actually look nothing alike, and if you didn’t already know we were related, you’d think we had different parents or one of us was adopted or something. My passport was in the hotel safe and I only had a photocopy on me. My brother had his on him. Even though we share the same last name (since I’m not married), the cops weren’t convinced. You know how we got out of it? Showing them our Facebook profiles that had the “relationship” link showing that we were brother and sister. Seriously. That on top of the hassle I got from airport security for being a female travelling alone and the snide comments I got has pretty much permanently put me off wanting to travel to Dubai – even in transit.
Anyway, I had to suck it up and fly through Dubai regardless. Someone else was paying for this trip, and if they told me I had to fly Emirates, then I had to fly Emirates.
Check-in at Perth was easy. The business class check-in was empty and I walked straight up. Very glad for the extra baggage allowance, my suitcase weighed in at 29.4kg. I had a lot of work stuff in there though. I then ventured through security and into the Emirates lounge. You can read about my lounge experience here.
Priority boarding kind of worked. There was a priority boarding line at the gate, but once through the gate, you get stuck behind everyone because everyone boards through the same door on the plane. Screaming kids make me want to maim puppies. Just saying…
Upon boarding, I was pretty much ignored…Surprising for Emirates. I got asked if I wanted a pre-departure glass of champagne, and when I said I didn’t drink alcohol and asked for a glass of water instead, I was told that “drinks would be served once we were in the air“. Seriously Emirates? What happened to their renowned customer service? Not impressed. Iwas surely not the only one in business class who didn’t drink given that it’s a Middle Eastern airline!
Anyway, after that we got the usual hot towel, and they handed out the amenity kits. Always love the Bulgari! It’s the tea scented stuff, which I prefer to florals, so I’m happy.
After take off they asked for drink orders and meal requests. Again with the customer service fail…I got sneered at when the cabin attendant noted I had a VGML. Come on. I mean honestly, I was ok with being forced to switch to Emirates from my initial booking on South African because Emirates has better service. But this was really poor. Kind of stunned me given my previous flying experiences on Emirates. I still hate Dubai (I can’t say that often enough), but Emirates has always been great in the past. I wonder what happened? The entire business class cabin crew having a bad day?
Checked out the inflight enertainment options, and again was a bit hesitant when I saw the new release movies. Tons of options, just not a single thing I wanted to watch. So I checked the regular movies in their database…Winner! A huge collection of Disney and Pixar films (Finding Nemo is an obvious favorite of mine)! And some amazing other options like To Kill a Mockingbird. Old but awesome. And Jaws…Figured if I couldn’t sleep at least I had something to watch, even if I’d seen them before.
Eventually we got our drinks and a small bowl of warm nuts. Then dinner…I wasn’t hopeful when the tray was placed in front of me and my entree was salad – to go with the side salad already on the tray. I love salad, but really? It was served with multigrain breadrolls by default. I ate the salad.
The main came next, and to my surprise, it was actually pretty good. There was some veggies in a tomato sauce, some steamed green beans, white beans with a carrot sauce, and some veggie and polenta cakes. Made sure it was all gluten free before touching it since there was potentially some hidden there. Tasty, but nothing to write home about either.
Dessert was more problematic. Apparently the caterers didn’t load my VGML dessert, so in the end, they got me a fruit plate from first class because all the regular desserts had dairy in. It was fine, I’m happy with fruit, and at least that way there’s no potential for stuff ups.
After everything was cleared I had to do some work. After all, that’s why I’m going to Africa in the first place. Had to do some Powerpoint editing. I hate Powerpoint. Worked on that for a couple of hours before attempting to sleep.
And slept for 6.5 hours or so. Sort of. It’s never proper sleep on the plane, even with the lie flat beds in business class. Either way, I woke up just as they’d started serving breakfast. I actually wasn’t feeling so great at this point. Not sick as such, just a stomach ache, so it’s possible there was some very minor gluten contamination or something with dinner.
And…Fail. The breakfast tray came out with fruit, yogurt, a bread roll and a croissant. I checked the ingredients label on the yogurt in case it was soy yogurt, but no. Full cream milk. So I asked the cabin attendant if I’d mistakenly been given the wrong tray, because full cream yogurt and a croissant? Not vegan. It was indeed labelled as my VGML tray. Not her or Emirates’ fault I suppose, but rather an epic fail on behalf of the catering company in Perth. She was very apologetic, but couldn’t really do much about it. I ate the fruit, and then the main came out. Various cooked veggies and baked beans. I ate the mushrooms and spinach. I don’t much like grilled tomato and didn’t feel like potato, and didn’t know if the baked beans were gluten free. It was a bit of a disappointing breakfast, but wasn’t the end of the world. When I landed in Dubai, I was able to get something in the Emirates lounge.
After freshening up, it was time to prepare for landing.
Not the worst flight ever, but certainly didn’t live up to Emirates reputation for having a superior on-board product and service.