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Lindsay

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Entries in Airline reviews (1)

Friday
Mar232018

Reviewed: Emirates Airlines Business Class from JFK to Muscat (via Dubai)

On December 1, 2017, I booked a multi-leg journey to the Middle East. 

My itinerary:

  • February 16/17: Fly from JFK to Muscat (Oman) via Dubai, Emirates Airlines
  • February 17-20: Muscat, Oman
  • February 20th: Fly from Muscat to Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., Oman Air
  • February 20-22: Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.  
  • Feburay 22-23: Desert resort (Industry City, U.A.E.)
  • February 23-26: Dubai
  • February 26th: Fly from Dubai back to JFK, Emirates Airlines

I scored a great deal on a round trip business class fare through Emirates Airlines.  My purchase included: Chauffer-drive service (to/from the respective airport) before AND after each Emirates flight, and multi-city airport lounge access (Note: Because the Emirates Lounge at JFK was closed for renovations during my outbound flight on 2/16/18, I was given a voucher at check-in to use at a restaurant of my choice in JFK's Terminal 4.  Pretty nice, right?).  

Emirates chauffer-drive: What a fancy way to kick off my trip! 

Post flight check-in and security screening, I met my friend, Meg, who had flown in from Boston for our flight to Oman, at our favorite wine bar in JFK's Terminal 4, Le Grand Comptoir, where I spent my $40 Emirates voucher on two glasses of champagne (Again, because the Emirates Lounge was closed for renovations, I was given a voucher at check-in to use at a restaurant of my choice).  Cheers!

Clinking glasses at Le Grand Comptoir

When it was nearing time to board, Meg and I settled our bar tabs and made our way to the departure gate.  As we approached, I was shocked by the abundance of passengers waiting for their respective boarding groups to be called...until I looked out the window and saw how incredibly gigantic our A-380 aircraft was (a vessel which comfortably seats 500+ people)!!   

I had quite high hopes for my inaugural 12+ hour flight to Dubai with Emirates...

Business and First Class cabins are located on the aircraft's upper/second level.  The seating configuration in my section was 1 - 2 - 1, with my seat located in the middle row/next to another passenger (the "2" of the 1 -2 - 1).  Each individual seat area was outfitted with a stocked mini bar (non-alcoholic beverages), a Bulgari toiletry bag, electrical outlets galooooore, a personal/hand-held entertainment tablet and Bose-esque headphones engraved with the Emirates name and logo (in gold, of course), an in-seat television, and a pillow/blanket/flat bed mattress cover.  

Upon boarding, I was asked if I'd like something to sip while I got settled.  I chose to start my journey with a glass of Veuve Clicquot, the "house" Champagne for Emirates Business Class. 

Emirates Airlines: Business class seating, champagne service

While the menus were gorgeous and everything depicted was described as decadent and mouth-watering, I did not find the food aboard Emirates to be as excellent as I had assumed and hoped.  In fact, I was kind of bummed that this was my "break the fast" from the boring low-carb diet that I had been following for the 6-weeks leading up to my trip.     

Emirates Business Class: Dinner menu

Emirates Business Class: Pre-dinner appetizer (chilled shrimp that was advertised as being 'pan-fried,' mixed greens salad, stale bread roll)While the food was nothing to write home about, the wine and cocktail lists were excellent.  I also appreciated the fact that there was on-board bar located at the back of the Business Class section, where passengers could socialize, imbibe, stretch their legs, and nosh on cured olives, mixed nuts, assorted sandwiches, and Arabic desserts.  

Emirates Business & First Class on-board lounge 

Emirates Business & First Class on-board lounge: SeatingAfter one too many glasses of French red and countless random 30-minute television programs, I decided that it was time to call it a night.  I pushed the button to transform my seat in to a flat bed and topped it with the mattress cover, blanket, and pillow.  Believe it or not, I actually got about four hours of shut-eye, heavy wine consumption and all!  Because of the mattress pad, this was the most comfortable flat bed that I've slept in on a plane (tied with Virgin Atlantic). 

I awoke to breakfast service and the dramatically loud, tractor-like snores being emitted from the dude sitting behind me (I could even hear him through the engine noise AND my silicone ear plugs!!). 

Emirates Business Class: Breakfast is served!

When we landed in Dubai for our connecting flight to Muscat, we had about two hours to enjoy the airport and the lounge.  Similar to those in Asia, DXB was modern, bright and airy, and outfitted with fabulous shops. 

It was so cool to look around and see so many different people/cultures from all over the world.  I felt so far away and, in fact, I was!  That honeymoon ended abruptly when I spied one of the most Western/American establishments of all time, save for KFC/Pizza Hut/Mickey D's/Burger King.  Are you ready for it?

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Shake Shack at DXB

Once I stared Shake Shack straight in the eye, I decided that it was time to move the party over to the Emirates Business Class Lounge (if you're wondering, there's also an Emirates First Class Lounge). 

Emirates Business Class Lounge @ DXBWhen I arrived at the Lounge, I was amazed at how expansive it was (spanning the length of the entire terminal/concourse and a twelve-minute walk from one end to the other)!  Once inside, there was a plethora of seating options and configurations, workstations, designated quiet areas, magazine/newspaper racks, restrooms, both casual and fine-dining options, a Moët and Chandon champagne lounge, and the ability to board (your flight) directly from the Lounge level.  It was truly a feast for every sense!

Emirates Business Class Lounge @ DXB: So many food options!I had about ten of these delicious "pistachio burma" desserts!

One of my favorite features of all was the ability to board your flight without so much as leaving the LoungeEmirates truly makes this process so much less stressful, thus allowing for optimal Lounge enjoyment time (as opposed to having to physically exit the lounge to board your flight via a gate located god knows how far away).

...

Upon boarding my next flight (Dubai to Muscat, Oman), I was a bit shocked when I stepped on to a Boeing 777 (one of the largest aircraft on the market) for our short 1-hour journey.  However, being the travel nerd that I am, I was hardly complaining; after all, this would just be another great opportunity to check out the interior/layout/decor and experience the service aboard another Emirates flight.     

With a Business Class seating configuration of 2 - 4 - 2, I had a great window view and was able to snap a pretty clear picture of the Palm Jumeirah (island) and Burj al Arab upon takeoff!

Emirates Airlines: Flight to Muscat from Dubai

Dubai's famous Palm Jumeriah plus the Burj al Arab Hotel!For snack, I chose the Arabic mezze platter, which contained an assortment of dips/spreads and bread.  Again, it was just mediocre in terms of taste.

I had mentioned earlier that most of the television programming on Emirates is just "meh," and I stand by that notion.  However, one redeeming factor (of the programming/lineup) is the fact that there is a channel where you can learn a language.  I chose Arabic and was able to memorize a few key terms prior to landing: 

  • Thank you ---> Shukraan 
  • No ---> La 
  • Hello ---> Marhabaan      

Emirates Airlines Business Class: Arabic mezze platterMoments later, we landed in Muscat and were greeted on the runway by a queue of busses waiting to transport us to the entrance of the gangway-less airport.  Just a couple hundred yards away in the background, we spied Muscat's brand new airport nearing completion...gate gangways and all!  I believe that it officially opens this month, March 2018! 

Landed in Muscat

Overall, I found the Emirates experience to be damn near perfect, save for the in-flight food and entertainment options.  Both flights (Dubai and Muscat) were luxurious, comfortable, fun and enjoyable.  I appreciated the car service that accompanied my ticket purchase, and the extra touches that stood out during my journey in the sky: Fresh orchids and other lovely flower arrangements prominently displayed throughout the cabins - Bulgari products in the restrooms, including both men's and women's perfume - on-board bar/lounge with grab-and-go snacks (flight to Dubai) - an in-seat mini bar stocked with flat and sparkling water, soda, and juice - a tablet in addition to the in-seat television - and a mattress pad for the flat bed (flight to Dubai).  The Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai was fantastic and uber-plentiful, and the food was much tastier than the airline's in-flight service (both come from the same catering facility).  

Stay tuned for the rest of my Middle Eastern journey, where I will revisit each city throughout my journey in words and pictures. 

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Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle