Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Emirates Business Class Experience

A foodie fantasy from start to finish!

Air travel ain't what it used to be. The glamour, glitz and professional service seems to have been replaced by chavs in tracksuits munching Pringles- and that's just the stewardesses! Budget travel has helped quality airlines like Emirates retain a little bit more prestige and make it a covetable product, meaning people like me who crave old-school air travel can appreciate the mile-high life in the 21st century.
The Emirates package is one of decadence, luxury and gives the passenger the feeling of being spoilt rotten. Well, that's how I felt.

I was so happy when it was announced that my flight was to be 4 hours delayed as it meant 7 hours in the executive lounge at Manchester. The journey for my tastebuds began immediately with beautifully potent coffee along with a biscuit selection. Unfortunately, I had to decline the breakfast-type dishes due to overindulgence at the Radisson in the morning. I was soon hungry again though as lunchtime ticked round, the smells of Arabian cuisine wafting through to tempt me. In the lounge, there is a dedicated dining area but there are no qualms if you want to eat dinner on your lap in a comfy seat, watching the planes as if they're an episode of Corrie! The choice of dishes were amazing- being the eclectic foodie I am, I started with some traditional Arabic meze like Falafel, Tabouleh and Mutabul (the aubergine dip I rave about at the Armenian Taverna, Manchester!) and moved on to a bit of Italian (tomato and mozzarella ravioli). To freshen things up, I raided the salad bar for some rocket infused salad. Little did I know, this would be my staple diet for probably the rest of my Dubai life as you will see in later blogposts.... For the non-veggies and less adventurous folk, there were also the options of a homemade steak pie with a beautiful flaky crust and artily-presented fish and chips (no grease or newspaper for these bad boys!)

There were still four hours to kill, so I stretched my legs and mooched around the terminal, observing the great unwashed bemoaning their Boots meal deals and queuing at C*sta only to be served by a rude jobsworth youth. Scenes like that made me grateful for business class. I'd seen enough so I went back to the lounge for a raid on the desserts.I chose the healthy option of pears soaked in rosewater which tasted like a funkier type of Turkish Delight; definitely full of Eastern promise. Other desserts included scones with clotted cream and a decadent chocolate pudding.

The flight was absolutely amazing and represented everything that air travel should be- luxury, finesse, excellent customer service and a home-from-home feeling. The telltale hum of instant coffee, chicken soup and cheesy Pringles pertaining to Sleazyjet wasn't to be sniffed, instead the air was filled with the smell of quality. With my own in-seat minibar (with MANGO JUICE- fab!) and the cabin crew serving me a bottomless reservoir of coffee, I was in heaven. Forget Dubai, this flight was set to be a foodie tour in itself! The meal consisted of stuffed vine leaves, German bread rolls (can this GET any more tailor made to me?)and a pepper stuffed with pasta- and that was just the starter. After this spread, there was barely any room for the main, but I devoured the pasta dish anyway. Dessert was more semi-potent coffee (minus points for EK there, but at least it wasn't instant- take note EZY!) and a doorstopper slab of cheesecake. Bloated, I settled back to watch more in flight movies, aware of the fact that Belgian chocs had just been placed next to me.

A business flight isn't complete without a trip to the inflight bar, which is what I squeezed in just before landing. After getting a specially mixed teetotal cocktail, I sat back and what caught my eye? Yes, more food: this time a big plate of Baklava and other Middle Eastern syrupy bundles of sin. I couldn't possibly indulge in another dessert...could I?

After this culinary extravaganza, I landed in Dubai with one aim. To change Emirates' slogan to 'Fly Emirates: Your tastebuds will thank you.' Now, I actually cannot wait to leave DXB so I can indulge again! Emirates, thank you for restoring my faith in 21st century air travel.

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