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I’m Sitting Where? A Surprise Flight in Business Class

The boarding pass reader beeped and blinked red. A woman motioned for me to stand at the counter and started frantically typing on a computer. She eventually handed my boarding pass back to me, informing me that I was now in boarding group B. I nodded and wandered through the gate lounge. As I walked, I examined my boarding pass and stopped in surprise when I saw “BUSINESS CLASS” written across the top.

Business Class on Emirates

My business class seat, complete with reading light, thick blanket, and noise-cancelling headphones.

What had I done to deserve a business class seat? I had signed up for the Emirates Frequent Flyer program when I bought my ticket, so they weren’t rewarding my loyalty. In any case, I wasn’t going to question it!

I’m a reasonably cheap traveler. While I don’t fly budget airlines long haul, usually the most luxury I can expect is three seats to stretch out across so I can attempt to sleep. Business class was obviously head and shoulders above this.

As soon as I got myself situated in my seat, one of three in between the aisles, I was offered a choice of apple juice, orange juice, or champagne. As soon as the plane took off, I could adjust my seat to my comfort with a huge array of options. I could turn it into an almost lie-flat bed, sit straight up, or anything in between. I could adjust my lumbar support and the height of my legs…and I could even get the chair to give me a massage!

Playing with Seat Settings

Playing with the settings for my seat with my handheld touchscreen remote.

Aside from the massive amount of space in which I could stretch my legs, lunch was a highlight of the trip. Just before takeoff a flight attendant took my order; soon after takeoff I was furnished with a huge bowl of nuts and a glass of port straight from the Douro Valley (which also happened to be my destination!).

Lunch itself was a massive plate full of salad, freshly baked bread rolls and garlic bread, and honey marinated breast of duckling. Yum. I ate every bite and dipped my rolls in the sauce to make sure that nothing was left behind. The difference between this and the dinner snack I was served on the previous flight — some sort of fishy roll thing — was immeasurable.

Port and Nuts

My starter -- port and a plate of nuts.

Then the main came out. I could have gone with fancier options like a seafood medley, but I stuck with the tried-and-true grilled chicken. It was some of the tastiest grilled chicken I’ve ever eaten, with little potato medallions and green beans.

Because, you know, that’s not enough food for one lunch, I was served dessert — a delectable orange mousse with a chocolate wafer and kiwi fruit on the side. I didn’t think I was all that hungry by that point, but I finished it all pretty quickly…and the same went for the Godiva chocolate I was served with my tea.

Honey Marinated Breast of Duckling

Honey marinated breast of duckling. Yum!

Then it was time to watch television and nap, indicated by the lights dimming (and awesomely, being replaced by little dots of “stars” all over the ceiling). My in-seat TV screen was gigantic, which made up for the sheer distance between it and me. A little bit of me did wish that the seat folded out into a lay-flat bed like the one I had on my only other business class trip, but I was still able to completely straighten my legs, which is all I can really ask for. I dozed for a while, helped by the noise-canceling headphones provided to everyone in business class.

One thing I really appreciated — and I’m not sure if it’s an Emirates policy as a whole or just the business class flight attendants turning a blind eye — was that I was allowed to read on my Kindle for takeoff and landing. In both instances, I was so involved in my book that I forgot I was not supposed to be using an electronic device until we started taking off/the landing gear was put down. Even if they had told me to put it away, the in-flight entertainment system was available from gate to gate.

Tea & Godiva

An after-lunch treat: Godiva chocolates.

I’d have to say that the only problem with the entire trip was the fact that, in Dubai, I had to board another 7-hour flight…this time in cattle class, where I was fully aware of how little space I had compared to some people on the plane! But hey, one business class flight out of three isn’t bad!

Route: Singapore – Dubai (continuing flight from Brisbane)

Flight time: 7 hours

Seat pitch: 48” (vs 33” in economy)

What they usually charge: ~$2500 return

Have you ever been upgraded to business class for no reason? What was your experience like? Did it spoil you for cattle class travel afterwards?

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