Short of winning a competition or marrying a millionaire, most of us will never fly first class. However, as rewards and frequent flyer programs allow you to cash in and upgrade, flying business class is becoming more attainable. So just how much better is it? Here’s how flying business will turn the travel to your destination into an adventure in itself.
Ice, ice, baby. No, not frozen water, but rather the high tech entertainment system that Emirates’ Airbus A380 packs. ICE – aka Information, Communications, Entertainment – offers everything from games to daily headlines, refreshed throughout the flight, alongside TV series box sets (there’s more than 1700 channels to choose from). So you can literally switch off and immerse yourselves in a Walking Dead marathon while curled up on your freshly installed mattress and perusing your personal mini bar. Yep, who needs a hotel room, right?
And if you’re always connected, like I am, you’ll probably spend hours chatting to your unlucky (read: envious) friends on the ground. That’s right, ICE also allows you to send and receive emails and texts directly from the touch screen.
Psst … there’s also three cameras mounted on the outside of the plane to watch takeoff, landing and everything in between. Joy!
WiFi and mobile phone capabilities
Wi-Fi in the sky is fast becoming accessible, but Emirates is doing a great job of making it more so. It’s free for the first 10MBs, and you can customise your browser to browse without images if you’re looking to eek out every byte. It’s also charitable, with cost of anything you use over the first 10MB going to the Emirates Foundation, an organisation that funds education, medical care and housing for disadvantaged children.
No-one would accuse the Wi-Fi of being lightning fast but at 40,000 feet I’m still impressed that Instagramming my Peking Duck Salad and Braised Beef dinner wasn’t a problem.
A newer iteration of connectivity in the sky, which is hard to fathom after a lifetime of being told to turn off all electronic devises or switch them to airplane mode, is that on the Emirates A380 Airbus you can use your mobile phone as normal with data and phone roaming services on offer.
That’s going to take a little getting used to for me but it would be handy for the constantly travelling businessperson I’m sure.
You’ve probably seen that PR shot of the beautiful Emirates cabin crew lady standing behind the lavish, fully stocked bar and thought, ‘It would be nice to travel first class one day and see that’. Well, good news: this beautiful bar is actually in Business Class.
Oh, and the view from the top is amazing.
Funnily enough, the First Class bar doesn’t boast nearly the same amount of space, edible treats or presence on the plane. This is because most first-class passengers prefer to stay ensconced in their palatial suites, with on-demand dining and Dom Pérignon, not to mention the showers. Did we mention the showers?
First Class finery
The Emirates A380 Airbus is the only vehicle in the sky to have not one but two Shower Spas onboard. A First Class passenger can simply book a time to have a shower, blow-dry their hair, and keep their toes toasty on the heated tiles.
Timeless Spa and Bvlgari goodies are laid on thick, and while stating a maximum capacity of two, the area could easily accommodate twice that. Trust us, we tried it!
While the Shower Spas aren’t available to Business Class passengers, the Bvlgari his and hers cologne in the bathrooms and the assorted products handed out before takeoff in Business kept me feeling (and smelling) pretty sweet.
Maybe taking a shower at 40,000 feet truly is most people’s final frontier.