‘EK’ these are the two alphabets that a majority of frequent fliers swear by when it comes to long haul flights. EK is the airline code for Emirates Airlines, an airline that is synonymous with luxury and comfort. After all, it is the airline that introduced showers and a bar on its A380 aircraft. So why EK? To know this I flew business class on a 20-hour flying journey from Mumbai to Fort Lauderdale, USA via Dubai, the new route made Emirates the first airline to fly to the sunny city from India.
The Emirates experience does not start after boarding the aircraft but from your home itself. Business class passengers are provided complimentary private transfers to the International airport. In Mumbai, a Mercedes C-Class will pick you up from anywhere within a 50 kms distance from the airport, and even drop you anywhere within 50 kms of the airport at your destination. An extremely convenient service that can be arranged with a quick phone call. After a check in at the dedicated business class counter and priority immigration, I rested for a while at the GVK Lounge for my three and a half hour flight to Dubai International. As I flew the Boeing 777-300 from Mumbai and Dubai I shall be describing the flying experience in my onward journey from Dubai.
With a 2 hour layover, I decided to head to the Emirates lounge at Terminal 3. Spread across two floors the lounge is massive, one of the biggest I have seen, so big that it needs a map and it takes 12 minutes to walk from one end to the other. Finding a quaint corner in this amount of space was an easy task, spread across the lounge are stations helmed by talented chefs dishing out tasty food. Being Emirates there is no shortage of options, apart from the hot and cold stations you can choose between gourmet health food, a coffee station serving signature Costa Coffee drinks with light bites and a Moet & Chandon champagne lounge a chic bar serving bubbly with unique canapes. The Emirates lounge offers a relaxing and pampering experience and sets the tone for what would be a lovely flight.
Business class on the Emirates 777-300 is located in front of the plane between the first and economy class. The business class cabin has 42 seats divided into 2-3-2 configuration, not the ideal setup as everyone does not get aisle access. For this ultra long haul flight of around 17 hours, I opted for an aisle seat and not a window. The seats are comfortable and offer a decent amount of space, activate the privacy divider and you would be in the comfort of your own little pod. The seats can be reclined into a flat bed though not full flat but an angled one, being 6.2” tall I could not fit in it completely, nonetheless, after a while it was comfortable.
Each seat came with pillow, blanket and a pair of noise canceling headphones. The seat offers two USB ports and an electrical socket (redundant after the US travel ban). Before take off, attendants handed the amenity kits. Featuring Bvlgari products in a classy pouch the Emirates Business class amenity kit is hands down the best in its class.
A definite highlight flying Emirates is the in-flight entertainment or as the airline calls it ICE (Information, Communication, and Entertainment). You have access to thousands of hours of the latest in Hollywood, Bollywood, Regional movies, TV shows, documentaries and a lot more in a very easy to use interface. Along with the touchscreen and a wired remote control one can control the system using a detachable touchscreen tablet; Did I tell you that the seat has a massaging function too? Sipping a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut with warm nuts and watching the newest Star Wars while getting a back massage, it just could not get any better than this. Although I was too pampered to do any work on the long flight, but should you decide to go online there is in-flight WiFi at very reasonable rates. A wonderful sleep aid is the Emirates Starlight, an array of LED’s that light up the ceiling stimulating stars.
Then there is exhaustive a-la-carte dining menu to choose from delectable Indian, Western and Middle Eastern preparations. Their three-course meals can teach fining dining restaurants a thing or two. Like with everything on the flight the service is of high quality as well, the onboard staff is friendly and on their feet to help at any hour.
Crossing through a dozen time zones while being pampered and spoilt for choice for 17 hours it was touchdown at Fort Lauderdale. Relaxed and refreshed as I exited the aircraft I understood the importance ‘EK’ has on fliers across the world.
Return airfare from Mumbai to Fort Lauderdale costs around Rs 250,000 in Business Class and Rs 51,000 in Economy class. To book visit Emirates.com or call +912233773377
Note – The writer was invited by Emirates, but all the opinions expressed herewith are his own.