Just as a lark I priced first class air on Emirates from New York to Beirut this coming December. Lowest price is US$36,346. That’s for two of us, of course. And includes tax. Still, it’s not happening anytime soon.
Which means my one, precious three hour (more or less) first class flight from Dubai to New Delhi is going to remain a luxe but lonely memory.
How it happened is an embarrassing story. I’ll just say I am a severe claustrophobe and flying in the back of the plane freaks me out. Like hurtling through space in a lipstick tube. There are not enough drugs to get me in the back row of a plane.
Which of course was where we were seated on a fully booked Emirates flight to New Delhi in mid-December. How I let that happen I can’t say. I am usually obsessive about airplane seating but I am used to Delta and we keep our status on that airline precisely to avoid situations like this. Something must have been distracting me in November. I don’t know what.
Full economy and business cabins. Two open suites in first. Jerry thinks I am a lunatic and doesn’t care where he sits. Tom and Gale are not neurotic either. I clearly am. I upgraded to one of those suites. I won’t tell you what I paid but it was much less than $36,000. Much.
And, I have to tell you, it was the best flying experience of my life. They had to drag me off kicking and screaming. At least, they would have were I just a tad more neurotic.
Before we took off, dates stuffed with almonds, coffee in a brass urn, scented face cloths. Van Morrison playing softly in the background. Really.
The first class cabin has suites. With doors. Lined with gleaming wood and soft leather. Three windows of my own. The most luscious seat ever and it reclined to an amazing flat bed. Perfect pillow, cozy soft blanket.
All the comforts. Lights that dim. A minibar (no booze.) Full screen TV. Dressing table/desk with a lighted mirror and some top notch pamper stuff. iPad controls and actual lamp within easy reach. A stationary box and pen should I want to write an actual letter. (Yes, I stole the pen though I did not clean out all the amenities.)
Not a tough choice. I had the traditional mezze and a paneer masala that came with a potato eggplant curry, dal and rice. It was OUTSTANDING. Best airplane meal I’ve ever had and of course, my favorite foods.
I skipped dessert. It was painful but I was determined to get a nap in before we landed to breathe in the acrid scents of New Delhi, a world away from my three magical hours in the sky.