3. THE FLIGHT
My boarding pass for EK211 from DXB to IAH.
At the door, the Egyptian purser dressed in the smart new Emirates uniform welcomed me onboard.
“Good morning Mr. Globetraveller.”
“It is my pleasure to welcome you onboard Emirates again. I will personally be looking after you today, so please feel free to call for me at any time.”
“Thank you so much.”
“May I help you with your hand luggage?”
“No, it’s very light.”
“Certainly. Please allow me to take you to your suite Mr. Globetraveller. Right this way.”
As soon as I stepped onboard, I knew this flight was going to be something special. The purser treated me like a guest of honour and made me feel like I belong in First Class. I had previously been snarled at while flying BMI
in Business, so this was a pleasant surprise.
My seat on today’s flight to Houston: 1K.
My first glimpse of my seat on EK 211.
An overview of the Emirates First Class suite.
My view for the next 16 hours to Houston.
I had seen pictures of the Emirates First Class suites before, but they simply do not do them justice. As I turned right towards the cabin, I was stunned at just how massive these cabins were. While the wooden panels and golden highlights may not be to everyone’s liking, I think that it reflects the overall lavishness of the EK
First Class product quite well.
As I sat down, the friendly purser continued:
“Mr. Globetraveller, I assume you know how your seat and our service work. However, do you have any questions?”
Pretending that this was nothing new: “I’m fine right now, thank you.”
“Certainly. Could I offer you something to drink?” He continued in a joking manner: “Perhaps some Dom Perignon get the day started?”
I laughed and took him up on his offer.
As he went to get my Champagne, I started exploring my opulent surroundings. This was without a doubt the best seat I had ever
sat on. A friendly Malaysian stewardess soon came to bring me my glass of bubbly. She also introduced herself and inquired about my travels.
The Champagne served on this flight: Dom Perignon.
My glass of Champagne before boarding was complete.
An overview of the large side panel in the suite.
What would a trip report be without the famous knee shot?
The attention to detail and quality of the service was truly spectacular. The crew serving the eight seat First Class cabin today were a dream come true. There were three stewardesses, one from Malaysia, one from Singapore and one from Korea as well as the Egyptian purser. It was like the best of Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines combined and I was very impressed by how each passenger was treated to a very personal experience.
The ICE welcome screen for this flight.
The blanket and mattress stored behind the seat.
Notice the writing tray below the orchid and the plug near the mirror.
Our route for today’s ultra long haul flight.
Soon, the Singaporean stewardess came around with some Arabian coffee. Naturally, I accepted. The boarding process was completed at about 8:50am and the First Class cabin had filled up completely. The load on this flight was 100% in all cabins. Not bad in this day and age! The captain then welcomed us onboard and announced our routing and flight time.
My glass of Dom Perignon was topped up again even as we had pushed back on time at 9:05am. As EK
211 began taxiing towards the runway 12R, the safety video was shown and the crew came around to ensure that the cabin was ready for takeoff. At 9:20am, the massive GE90 engines spooled to full thrust and A6-EWB rocketed down runway 12R. However, all the way at the front, all I could hear was a whisper. It reminded me somewhat of the A380. After what seemed like a lifetime, EK
211 lifted off Dubai International Airport at 9:22am.
My small cup of Arabian coffee.
The beginning of the Emirates in-flight safety video.
Half the reason I am on this flight today: the 777-200LR.
The climb out of Dubai was very slow, especially for a Boeing 777. I am sure the aircraft must have been at (MTOW) with such a long flight and a completely full cabin. As soon as the seatbelt sign was extinguished, the Malaysia stewardess brought me another glass of Dom Perignon. I did not have to say a word.
Now that is what I call service!
The view outside as EK 211 was climbing out of Dubai.
Turning north across the gulf towards Iran.
Some of the first glimpses of Iran.
211 began crossing into Iran, the purser came around with the First Class amenities and the large menu:
“Mr. Globetraveller, how are you doing so far?”
“Excellent, thank you.”
“Great. This is the menu for today’s flight. You can order anything, at any time, however you want it. Don’t be shy.”
I laughed and replied: “I am sure I will keep you busy, this looks amazing.”
“Not a problem. We have plenty of food for everyone.”
This kind of personal and enthusiastic service was what really set this crew apart. I always feel like the Singapore Airlines crew I had in the past were sometimes
lacking in this department. They were often robotic and consistent, which is great in Economy Class, but less so in the premium cabins.
The large leather First Class menu.
The wine list on today’s flight to Houston.
Crossing into Iranian airspace.
The barren landscape below.
The amenities on offer were truly First Class as well. There was everything one could ever need and quite a bit more – large soft Pyjamas, a towel, an oversized leather amenity kit, some slippers and several other goodies! In fact, I was beginning to understand why the First Class Suite was so big: where else would one store all these things?!
No wonder there is so much space in the suite!
A closer look at all the EK First Class amenities on this flight.
More spectacular views of Iran.
Soon after, the Korean stewardess kneeled down beside my suite and enquired if I wanted to eat anything.
“Mr. Globetraveller, would you like to have some breakfast?”
I was really regretting my massive meal in the lounge earlier, and so I had to decline for now.
“If you want, I can take your order for later. How about in two hours?”
“Yes, definitely – that is a good idea.” I then placed my lunch order with her.
“Would you like canapés and some more Champagne now?”
“Alright then. If you insist.” I said in a jokingly.
“I do Mr. Globetraveller” she replied smiling.
The menu was vast. There were numerous appetisers, entrees and desserts to choose from. The whole experience definitely felt much more like a five-star restaurant than in-flight catering.
211 finally reached its initial cruise altitude of 30,000 feet, each passenger was given a small basket of nibbles. These included snacks like Pringles and Mars Bars, which made for some nice comfort food later in the flight. The Singaporean stewardess also enquired if I would like any other beverages in my little in-seat mini bar, but I was happy with what was already there.
The small basket of nibbles given to First Class passengers.
A selection of nuts to accompany the Champagne.
Paradise in the sky...
The massive table in the Emirates suite.
A little more than half an hour after takeoff, the Korean stewardess returned with the canapés and some orange juice. I was also served some olives with parmesan cheese. I could not help but laugh at how my small order of canapés had all of a sudden become so much food. There is no doubt about it: I was being spoilt beyond belief.
My post-takeoff snack.
The fresh tasting orange juice.
A nice selection of tasty canapés.
Olives stuffed with feta accompanied by parmesan cheese.
Most people will agree that one thing Emirates is consistently great at is its in-flight entertainment. In my opinion, the newest ICE Widescreen IFE system is the best system in the skies today. So what happens when you plug the best IFE system in the world to a 23 inch widescreen monitor? Let’s just call it in-flight entertainment heaven
Quest has a great selection of TV shows including Top Gear and Mythbusters.
My absolute favourite source of entertainment in the air.
The massive 23 inch screen made the amazing ICE system even better.
After enjoying the Top Gear Vietnam Special
on my ridiculously large screen, the Korean stewardess returned to inquire if I was ready for my lunch. My expectations were very high, because the Emirates food in Economy Class is usually already pretty good. So this meal had to be amazing to be truly ‘First Class’.
“Mr. Globetraveller, you requested for your lunch to be served at about this time. Would you like to dine now?”
How could I say no? And so the food festival commenced. Less than a minute later, the stewardess set up my massive table for the meal service. The four course lunch then began like every Emirates First Class meal should: with a generous serving of Iranian caviar.
The table cloth over the large dining table.
My starter for my lunch: Iranian caviar.
The lunch set-up with the starter, bread and condiments.
The high quality Iranian caviar.
I think caviar is a very acquired taste, but the quality of my serving on this flight was very high. The caviar had a very smooth taste and a slightly crunchy texture – just right in my opinion. As I finished my serving, the Korean stewardess reappeared and asked if I wanted more.
“Mr. Globetraveller, can I offer you some more caviar?”
“Hmmmm. I would love to have some more, but I think I still have a lot of food coming. It tasted great though – not something I get to eat often.”
“Who does? I am glad you liked it though. Maybe you can have another serving later.”
“I think I’ll have to take you up on that offer.”
The generous bread basket, which was constantly refilled.
One of my favourite white wines: Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay.
The white wine that was accompanying my starters.
And so the feast continued with the Smoked Salmon tranche. Once again, the taste was great and I could not help but wonder whether I was eating this on an aircraft or in a five start restaurant. The massive dining table and delicious food were really something special.
My second course for lunch: the Smoked Salome Tranche.
Note the restaurant style presentation of the salmon.
Flying through the clouds above northern Iran.
The peppered beef fillet and mini desserts followed soon after and their taste was no less respectable. My expectations had definitely been high and there was no doubt that they had been more than just fulfilled.
My main course for lunch on EK 211: Peppered beef fillet.
The excellent peppered beef fillet.
Time for dessert: I chose the mini desserts.
The great closure to my lunch service.
After all the wining and dining, I decided to take a little stroll around the aircraft. Surely enough, every single seat was full in this 16 hour flight. The First Class sections onboard EK
777-200LRs also have a small bar between the cabin and the cockpit. However, this was largely unused on this flight as most passengers chose to remain in their seats.
A look down the First Class cabin during the flight.
The small First Class bar at the front of the aircraft.
The bathroom was also a pretty standard affair – nothing like the shower Suites on the Emirates A380s. Still, who would want to spend much time in the bathroom when one has such an amazing seat to come back to?
The average but clean bathroom. There were two for eight passengers.
Three windows per seat – not bad at all.
Looking over Eastern Europe from above.
Time for some privacy: my own little mini cabin.
With five hours of the flight behind me and more than ten hours still to go, the lights were slowly dimmed and the mood lighting began to illuminate the cabin in brilliant colours.
The mood lighting illuminated cabin.
My little retractable mini bar in suite 1K.
Notice the fact that ‘seat’ has been replaced by ‘suite’.
An overview of my suite as the lights were dimmed.
I usually enjoy chatting with my fellow passengers, so I was initially a little apprehensive about the whole suite idea. However, as I was settling down for a few episodes of Mythbusters, the privacy and comfort were definitely noteworthy.
The relaxing ambiance inside my little cabin.
The privacy doors in suite 1K.
A look back at my seat with the doors closed.
The small bunch of fresh orchids in each suite.
The wonderful crew were great at checking on the passengers at regular intervals. On one of these rounds, the Malaysian stewardess asked me if I would like my bed to be set up. As I was beginning to get a little tired, I gratefully agreed.
The full flat seat without the bed set-up.
The mattress, blanket and plush pillow over my seat.
This bed was even more comfortable than it looks.
A birds-eye view of my suite in sleeping mode.
The level of comfort and tranquillity once the bed was set up and the privacy doors were closed was really something special. Being so far at the front of the plane, all I could hear in the distance was the quiet thunder of the massive GE90 engines. All in all, the suite was a really nice place to be.
The perfect way to enjoy a few movies.
An overview of my little cabin.
The modern mood lighting effect on the celing.
More legroom than anyone could ever ask for.
As I explored more of this month’s massive selection on ICE, I could not help but feel like I was sitting in my bed at home browsing the movies on Virgin Media. Granted, the bed was not quite was big as my own, but the entertainment selection definitely put Virgin Media to shame.
The entertainment section in ICE.
Some of this month’s movie selection.
Some of the information available in ICE.
211 began to near Greenland, sleep began to get the better of me. I guess the fully flat bed just proved to be too comfortable and I am sure the futuristic starlit sky was also a contributing factor.
The location of EK 211 before I fell asleep.
Our route over the top of the world.
The quiet First Class cabin as most passengers went to get some rest.
The beautiful star filled ceiling. Notice the lack of overhead bins.
Thankfully, after an hour or so of sleep I woke up again. I must have remembered the amazing sights I had of Northern Canada on my recent DXB
flight and as I opened my window shade, I was in awe of what I witnessed.
The great white expanse below.
The amazing texture of the snow covered landscape below.
The white snow contrasted nicely with the deep blue lakes.
Soon, the white frozen arctic tundra gave way to magnificent green mountains and valleys. There was not a sight of human activity as far as the eye could see. The contrast between my warm comfortable surroundings and the harsh environment below was breathtaking.
The cockpit view from my wireless controller.
Snow meets earth...
Magnificent nothern Canada.