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The A380 - a magnificent flying machine

 

ERIC SCOTT July 14, 2010

 

I HAVE flown with many airlines to many parts of the world, but there is one flight I would have to recommend for the “bucket list” – one of the things to do before you die.

It is a business class trip on the A380 super jumbo.

My wife and I flew Emirates from Dubai to London and believe me, with luxury like that you won’t need to travel First Class. The whole experience was just mind boggling. Just to look at the plane is awe-inspiring with its double-decker size.

The fun started at the Abu Dhabi Sheraton Hotel where we were staying when the limo picked us up to drive 130 kilometres to Dubai airport (the limo is part of the Emirates business class service all over the world). There we checked in hassle-free on the red carpet and moved on to the huge lounge at Dubai airport, which has every conceivable comfort and amenity from the best champagne to restaurant style meals and internet facilities. So by the time the boarding was called we were nicely relaxed.

When it was time to board there was no catching lifts down to the terminal or joining long queues, no we went direct from the lounge to the classy top floor of the plane through our own entrance.

We didn’t even see the economy cabin. But then there was too much to see in business class. The seats were a work of art in themselves, and were enclosed to the point of almost perfect privacy.

The chairs were big and deep and comfortable – with a built-in massager, a huge TV screen with masses of movies and 1200 different channels, nicely blue-lit, is your own mini-bar of soft drinks and water. These marvellous seats extend into a flat bed up to 79" long and every seat has access to the aisle as well as a privacy divider. Great if you have a row with your partner.

And there’s every business device you can think of, including an in-seat power supply for laptops, dual port USB and extra-large table for your lap top. This also makes meal times feel like you’re in a restaurant.

So, after settling in and a couple of glasses of Moet Imperial Brut we were ready for take off. Usually at this point my wife grips my hand tightly and closes her eyes. But with all the fun and games of checking the workings of the seat, with barely a flutter the plane was in the air. My wife didn’t even know we had left the ground. That is how smooth this super plane is.

Wit the seat belts sign off it was time to check out the other marvel of this plane – the bar at the back of the cabin. It was somewhat surreal to be standing sipping champers and chatting to an Aussie barmaid at 30-odd thousand feet.

Then it was back to our little haven for dinner – and if you hate airline food, you’ll think again after experiencing the Emirates menu. Fresh and unfrozen, the five course meal was delicious with matching wines from France and Australia.

I settled in for an appetiser of delicious marinated Asian seafood - scallops, tiger prawns, and poached salmon drizzled with Oriental dressing. My wife went with the honey roasted duck. For the main course we both stayed with the fish (and the Moet) which was steamed fillet of garoupa topped with julienne of vegetables with a light basil sauce, buttered broccoli, turned carrots and tagliatelle noodles.

For desert we had a choice of White chocolate and orange mousse cake or pear strudel served hot, with vanilla sauce, we skipped the cheese board and ended up with a nice cleansing selection of fruit. An excellent cup of coffee and a cognac completed meal as good any you’d get in the signature restaurant of a five star hotel.

We gave the flat beds a test then. There are so many different angles to choose, one for sitting, one for watching TV and of course one for sleeping.

It was literally luxury to dream about. The cabin crew were attentive with being intrusive and on hand at the press of the button that is often ignored in economy.

The plane is so quiet that the usual nagging drone of the huge jet engines is hardly audible and taking a nap was no ordeal at all.

After the nap London beckoned and it was time to land. The trip seemed all too short and for the one and only time on a long haul flight my wife wanted to “do it again”.

The A380 is that sort of plane. I have made up my mind that on the next international trip, I will go where the A380 goes for every leg of the trip.

And just for the record, this was no PR trip; I bought the $16,000 worth of tickets myself and considered it to be worth every hard-earned cent.