Highlights: Chauffeur Pickup, Qantas First Class Lounge, Emirates A380 First Class, Showering at 40,000 feet, Chatting in A380 Bar, Dom Pérignon, Emirates Bed
The first day of my Africa trip was finally here 4.5 years after I started planning my 2014 trip I was finally going back to Africa to experience all these new countries and revisit South Africa. In theory today was supposed to be about luxury and relaxed travel and on this occasion it definitely was!!
Let’s start with a chauffeur pick up with nice Hyundai Genesis. While the driver showed up 15 minutes early he had no problems waiting ‘take your time we are in no rush’. Having a direct car pick up to the airport makes travel a lot less stressful, score a win for the Emirates First Class package. One down point is Danelle and Andrew’s young cat Indie disappear so no last minute leg rubs from my new favourite pet.We arrived at the airport earlier than I expected at 3.05 pm after a quick 25 minute ride to the airport. Obviously driving in non-peak times is a lot easier. The Emirates First Class check in counter open 3 hours and 30 minutes before departure time and I was happy to receive my complimentary Dubai Connect Hotel vouchers to stay at the Roda Al Bustan Hotel.
Past security and the eGate Customs & Immigration barriers it was time to visit the Qantas Melbourne First Class Lounge (see review here). After visiting the Qantas Sydney First Class Lounge in June I was able to compare the two. While the Melbourne Lounge is great the lack of Spa Treatments during the day (they are only offer early morning and in the evening) and the smaller space (which is understandable given Sydney is Qantas’ International hub) I’d have to say Sydney lounge is better. But really we are talking first world issues if you are disappointed at the magnificent Melbourne lounge. The Lucky Duck noodles with cashews was superb.
Next up was the Emirates First & Business Class Lounge (see review here soon). While my first class ticket with Emirates meant I had access to their lounge I knew from reviews that the Qantas First Lounge was better and that turned out the be the case. I did like the water foundation, it was very smoothing, and the views of the airport in the comfortable chairs, but not waiter service!! I know how spoilt has this former backpacker become 🙂
But the highlight of today was always going to be the Emirates A380 first class flight. After a quick visit to the Qantas Business Class Lounge (I was stretching my legs) I found myself one of the first to board the flight from Gate 10. The air bridge for First & Business class passengers takes you to the top floor of the plane and at boarding I turned right into heaven (luckily business passengers don’t get to see First Class suites – LOL).
The first experience starts with being escorted directly to your seat. Then the Dom Pérignon appears followed by the amenities kit that seemed to hold more items than my day pack. My hostess recommended I change into the provided pyjamas in the massive bathroom before takeoff. What could I say but yes ma’am. Sitting in my seat / suite drinking Dom Pérignon in my amazing pjs surrounded by flowers I briefly considered my backpacker economy flights, but no I couldn’t go back, I can’t go back, I won’t go back – damn it I’m already spoiled future travel 🙂
I’ll go into more detail in the flight in my review here but I can’t miss talking about the shower and bar area. Just after take off you are asked to book a time for your shower at 40,000 feet. I was the second person asked and as there are two bathrooms I could the pick of the times. I went for two hours into the flight, after dinner which included caviar, vodka, and beef tenderloin (menu here). You get 5 minutes of water during your 25 minute ‘appointment’. You can stop and start the water when you wish and there is a 1 minute warning stop. The floor is also heated. It was fantastic, I mean the bathroom / showroom almost felt bigger than my bathroom back home!
I also visited the First/Business Bar area at the back of the First and Business Class area. This meant I had to walk past all the business class passengers, looking at their seats the non snob in my thought these look amazing, fully flat beds, lots of space, but the new snob pitied those ‘unfortunate’ people!
The Bar area is actually quite large and it appears beyond it is a staff lounge area. I was already feeling the effects of the wine and mojito so only soft drink on this visit but I did get to serve behind the bar for a few minutes which was awesome. The hostesses were great in the bar area, they seemed to like talking about their travels and seemed happy to be working this ‘short’ 7 hour 50 minute flight.
We did hit air turbulence while I was in the bar so I had to sit down on one of the lounge floors and put on a seat belt but in a small way that added to the experience 🙂
I then asked for my seat to be turned into a Emirates bed. It takes a hostess a few minutes to provide the turn down service. Once I was inside my new bed I closed the doors and I was in my little cocoon finding some sleep after watching the stars on the plane roof. The bed was soon comfortable, I could have slept for hours and hours, unfortunately this was only a ‘short’ flight.
Before I knew it I had to get up and change but into my regular clothes as we were approaching Singapore Airport. Day 1 had come to a close but I only had a short 1 hour transit in Singapore before my next first class flight to Dubai.