I am very fortunate in having a wife, Mrs CT, who travels the world with work and gains many air miles. For my birthday she has combined these with a generous cash top up, to enable me to fly to Dubai with Emirates Business Class. We are rendezvousing there, she from Melbourne, me from London, for a week in the sun.
So onto EK8, the 9am flight from LHR to Dubai. Flying time 7 hours, real time I arrive at 8pm. This trip is even more special as it allows me to travel on one of the world’s most miraculous aircraft, the double deck Airbus A380. And here she is, this one being special as it is painted in United for Wildlife colours.
Seat 23A towards the rear of the business class on the upper deck was more of a personal cocoon than a seat. All the tech you could wish for, 3200 different films, TV shows and sport, free Wifi (this would allow me to annoy my WhatsApp and Facebook friends whilst in the air), and three cameras mounted on the outside of the aircraft, one front facing, one pointing down towards earth from the belly and one mounted high up in the tail. I admit I am a bit of a techno geek and I was loving this already. The glass of Verve Cliquot whilst still on the ground, was welcome.
Ironically I was flying somewhere that boasted temperatures at this time of year of 34c, not so in good old London as it was so cold the aircraft needed a thorough de-ice before we went anywhere.
Back to these cameras. The forwarded pointing one was useless as the sun was so bright you could not see anything. The belly camera gave me a good shot of the tow vehicle and later on at 41,000ft a birds eye view of the mountains of Turkey.
The one feature of business class that I was keen to explore was the 7 mile high bar. Conveniently this was situated only 5 rows behind where I was sitting. No coincidence there. So after breakfast I went in search of beer. Now I can hear all the voices moaning at me that it is not right to drink this early in the day. One habit I have got into when flying is to set my watch to destination time as soon as I board. As far as I was concerned it was now 14:00. So time for beer and salty snacks which were of excellent quality and choice.
That is Annette from Paris retrieving a ice cold Heineken for me.
Suitably refreshed, back to my bed/cinema/IT centre to have a browse for anything worth watching. Alien Colony chosen or Alien 7 if you are counting the number of films in this franchise. Usual 15 crew in deep space to be picked off one by one in the most brutal and bloody ways imaginable. The ending “twist” is so predicatable it is almost laughable. 5 out of 10 at most.
Lunchtime! Prawns to start with an agreeable glass of Sancerre followed by steak and a lush glass of Margaux. No pudding as I was being good, well nearly, as I had the cheese and port instead.
I was offered a pre-lunch drink at my seat which I declined in favour of stretching my legs and paying another visit to Annette and her bar. G&T this time, no measures needed. My God Annette I wouldn’t like to go to one of your parties. Extra tonic was needed by me and my fellow bar mates before we fell down. May as well get a few pics whilst I was there.