After taking a flight on Emirates, I never want to fly a domestic airline again

Aviation, Uncategorized

after-taking-a-flight-on-emirates-i-never-want-to-fly-a-domestic-airline-againI recently booked a flight from New York City to Milan for a quick getaway. Faced with the choice of flying Delta or Emirates, both of which had round-trip economy-class tickets for about $800, I quickly opted for the Middle Eastern airline.

Emirates, which is owned by Dubai’s government, has exploded onto the US market in the past several years. It is regularly rated one of the top airlines in the world, and I was psyched to experience it on the eight-hour flight.

The trip did not disappoint. I ate salmon and saffron risotto, drank complimentary (and surprisingly decent) wine, and watched a bunch of movies, including the recent Oscar winners “Birdman” and “Whiplash.”

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

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Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

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The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

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Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

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But I wasn’t prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

 But I wasn't prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

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At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

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My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I’d hoped to fly on one of Emirates’ impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I'd hoped to fly on one of Emirates' impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

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And one thing’s for sure … I lucked out with the view. That’s one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

And one thing's for sure ... I lucked out with the view. That's one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

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Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow …

Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow ...

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And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

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The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

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I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates’ cuisine (Saveur’s experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn’t want to miss it.

I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates' cuisine (Saveur's experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn't want to miss it.

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Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

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After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I’d picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep …

After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I'd picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep ...

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But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn’t half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn't half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

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Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

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The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

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It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

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Here’s a closer look at lunch.

Here's a closer look at lunch.

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I was ready to take advantage of “Ice,” Emirates’ entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

I was ready to take advantage of "Ice," Emirates' entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

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There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like “Birdman,” “The Theory of Everything,” and “Whiplash.”

There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like "Birdman," "The Theory of Everything," and "Whiplash."

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There was also a program that let customers call one another’s seats. I was flying solo, so I didn’t try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

There was also a program that let customers call one another's seats. I was flying solo, so I didn't try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

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The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

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I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

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Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our “snack” — “pizza margherita al pesto.” I had high expectations …

Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our "snack" — "pizza margherita al pesto." I had high expectations ...

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… but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn’t taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I’ve eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

... but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn't taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I've eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn’t have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn't have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

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4 Comments
  1. riz

    ” You never flew with KLM “

  2. Ameer Hamza

    Middle Eastern and Asian Airlines are way better in term of service and warm hospitality than American and European airlines.

  3. GRao

    Looks like tje author flew Emirates for the first time… most of these amenities are common with major middle eastern airlines… and definitely nothing new for Emirates for many many years now. Many of the touch screens have actually gone bad and not replaced. Some planes are cramped in Emirates also. I am a vegetariqn but the last time I flew from NYC to Dubai the attendant was pushing me to try the food that was not vegetarian as they had run out of the Asian Veg special meal I had ordered while booking. So while the experience is definitely better than some airlines it is definitely not out of the world.

  4. Riz

    if you are a white you would get the warm hospitality.. otherwise they treat you like a shit..

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