Emirates is top of the class
I’M writing this article in a comfortable, half-reclining position.
There’s a very agreeable glass of red in front of me and I believe they’ll be bringing dinner around soon.
Lunch was poached king prawns on a bed of a green asparagus with tomato and coriander salsa, followed by slow braised beef tenderloin with shallot jus, followed by chocolate peppermint mousse.
I’m not sure about dinner but I’m sure I’ll find something suitable.
I’m teasing you, I know. But you’ve probably already guessed that I’m flying business class.
Emirates business class, to be precise.
I’d heard talk of it before.
I think everyone who has flown economy class on an international flight has dreamt of stopping up the front where the seats look so much more comfortable and the legroom is magnificent.
“You’ll never want to turn right again,” a friend once warned me, in reference to the directions issued to passengers when they present their boarding pass.
Turn right to economy class.
Turn left and it’s a direct path to luxury.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Emirates economy class – I’ve always found it just fine.
But business class is the stuff of legends.
Everyone knows someone who knows someone else who has a friend who got upgraded on a whim of the airline.
I don’t know anyone that’s happened to but I’ve heard stories of the mythical business-class world where the champagne flows like water and the food is superb.
I’m here to tell you it’s all true.
From the moment we boarded our plane, we were treated like celebrities.
Actually, I take that back.
From the moment we arrived at the airport and were directed towards the Emirates Lounge, we were VIP guests.
Anything you like to drink, a buffet of hot and cold food, comfortable lounges and showers ... it was hard to remember we had to leave in order to start our holiday.
Then we boarded the plane, turning left, of course.
From the choice of champagne or fruit juice before take-off, the hot towel (also a staple of economy class on Emirates flights) to amazing three-course meals on real plates (it’s the little things), this was a memorable trip.
I mention the prawns and beef but there was also filet mignon, poached sea bream, grilled salmon fillets, cheeses, breads, wines, coffees, desserts ... I could go on all day.
But while the food was brilliant, the drinks plentiful and the service first-class, it is the comfort of Emirates business class that will always stick in my mind.
Emirates is renowned for the quality of its in-flight entertainment, which includes scores of movies and TV shows and hundreds of music albums on demand ... all displayed on a pleasantly large TV screen.
But business class is also about space.
I’m well over six foot tall in the old measure, so space is always an issue when we fly.
But the seats in Emirates business class are so big, they recline into beds.
That’s full-length beds.
And they’ll give you a mattress so you feel like you’re curled up in your bed at home.
On the final leg of our journey, from Singapore to Brisbane, I curled up after take-off and slept for four hours.
I was barely awake before a concerned stewardess appeared at my side.
“Mr Bathersby,” she said.
(That’s right, they know your name in business class).
“Mr Bathersby, you slept through dinner (steamed red snapper, from memory). Can I get you something to eat? Maybe a drink as well?”
What can you say when the poor girl is so worried about your well-being.
Oh, all right.
Maybe a few sandwiches.
And how about some more of that very nice red we had with lunch.
Or do I feel like a beer?
Honestly, the toughest part about flying business class is all the decisions you have to make.