May 222011

You may have noticed the title of this post, yes, the plan was to fly Lufthansa. Up early and to the airport for the final segment of our trip. We were flying LH first from DXB-MUC-LHR and then on another ticket I had to unexpectedly continue on LHR-IAD on United with a 2 hour or so connection in LHR. Piece of cake.

Check-in at DXB at the LH F counter was horridly slow. They had called some passengers over from another line, and it was an elderly couple with lots of issues to sort out. Nearly 15 minutes later a supervisor finally realized what was happening, and called us to the business queue to check-in. Not the best, but also not totally their fault.

We didn’t have a lot of time, so opted to skip the lounge in favour of caffienation at Starbucks, and then off to the gate for boarding. I didn’t spot it but when when we hadn’t started boarding 45 minutes before departure the other Mr Ironmanjt realised one of the engines on the A340 was open…and they were tinkering around with something. Not a great sign. Even worse when it was announce that there has been a “mechanical issue with the aircraft” and more information would be available in 2.5 hours. Um, say what? There goes my connection….

Everyone pretty much rushed the podium, and I cornered the manager who had made the announcement. I tried as nicely as possible to say “we’re Star Alliance Gold, flying first, and have a 2 hour connection in London which this will kill – we need to find another option.” He brushed us off with “everyone has problems” and “we’ll see what we can do.”

Expertflyer and iPhone to the rescue, I realised there was only one option that could save the day on the 1 in a million chance I could get them to agree to it. An Emirates flight leaving 90 minutes later nonstop to LHR on the A380 with 2 seats left in F according to Expertflyer. Back to this guy, show him the option on the phone, and he would “see what he could do.”

Ten minutes later, FIMs were printed out, and we were set! OMG the A380 is not just going to finally happen for us…it’s going to happen in Emirates First. Still don’t believe it’s real…and it’s departing from the same terminal just two gates away!

To the (extremely unhelpful) Emirates Lounge who refused to check us in, but would let us use the lounge. Ok. Only 30 minutes until the gate opens anyways. Over to the gate, get seats 2K and 3K…both windows…and life is good. This is really happening!

Flight EK 29
Dubai (DXB) to London Heathrow (LHR)
Depart 09:40
Arrive 13:30
Seat 2K
Aircraft A6-EDH Airbus A380 delivered 2009

On board, an amazing crew, and this was really going to happen!


First thing I noticed was the minibar in each suite:


Along with a makeup kit and vanity, snack basket, and notice the champers quickly in place:


Oh and btw, rollerboards are absolutely no problem – they not only fit in your suite, they have their own seatbelt!


I had to before we took off check out the legendary A380 shower…it couldn’t be for real…could it?



Yup certainly looks real to me! Time for takeoff, which was amazingly quiet, and soon we were on the way to London. The menu is very much “when you want, when you want, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and just eat multiple smaller courses instead of the mains, which honestly didn’t look that impressive to me. Oh, and plenty of Champers.

For a first starter, I went for the cavier and garnishes:


You’ll also notice the individual salt and pepper mills, as well as full bread basket at each seat. Next up, I went for probably the best salad I’ve ever had at 40,000 feet:


This was followed by a couple other smaller things I’m not remembering and must not have been too picture-worthy, and finished off with a great cheese plate:


After the amazing meal and finally getting to watch the Social Network, it was time to retire to the “Upper Deck Lounge for what else…more champers. The purser saw the horror of us heading back there, and made sure to follow with a bottle of the Dom so that the lounge would be suitably equipped for First passengers as well as business. Wandering through business, the load was clearly under 50%, and we were the only two in the lounge area.

We sat around for maybe an hour or so chatting (definitely long enough to finish the bottle of Dom that had accompanied us) and headed back in time for the grande finale of A380 first:

The Pre-Arrival Shower!

Not too much to say here. The shower attendant demonstrates how the thing functions, and it’s on a five minute timer which counts down, showing you exactly how long you have left, and what to do in case of turbulence. (Dry off if there’s time, and then dress and return to your seat if severe enough.)

Only thing I have to say about this, is how normal the whole thing felt as if it was completely natural to strip down on a plane and take a shower at 40,000 feet. It’s also amazing how quickly one dries in the zero-humidity air in a plane.

After a good long chat with the purser, who apologize for the two screaming infants in F (seems like the other 10 seats were all booked by the Crown Price of Abu Dhabi and his two autistic children and many helpers, wives, and nannies) and chatted a bit about what it was like to work for Emirates, we were touching down in London.

A quick bus over to T1 to catch United (which I will spare you the details of…only to say United Business – even though it was new config on the 777) and soon I was back in DC after a very long trip.

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