On the Ground: The Emirates check-in desk at JFK’s Terminal 4 is a step above the rest. A helpful and friendly agent at the business-class counter had me heading to the lounge in no time while a second attendant, looking after business- and first-class passengers, helped take my checked luggage through the mandatory security screening at JFK.
Pre-Flight: The Emirates lounge in JFK is the best I’ve seen in the country, offering plush leather chairs for relaxing and a full business center for any IT needs. A buffet was nicely displayed; I had a few snacks but wanted to save my appetite for the flight. My favorite amenity was boarding the behemoth Airbus A380 from the lounge. A direct passageway connected us to the upper deck of the aircraft, straight into business class.
In-Flight: The A380 is a special experience for those who love to fly. I especially enjoyed the way Emirates outfitted its business class. In the 2-4-2 configuration, every seat has access to the aisle, so you never have to bother another passenger. Each seat also has a spacious side table and minibar. The digital wide-screen TV and ICE entertainment system is one I wish I had in my own home. I could control it by touch screen, remote control or detachable mini-remote that controlled my seat as well.
The lounge in the A380 is an added bonus. I opted to have my dinner served to me, but if you don’t want to wait for the full dinner service, you can get small snacks at the lounge bar, which opens about 45 minutes into the flight. The snacks are available throughout the flight, and it’s a great place to get some extra space and stretch, or strike up a conversation with the global clientele of passengers.
For dinner, I started with smoked tuna and veal Carpaccio. Carrot and ginger soup followed; and I chose the chicken breast with rosemary-flavored jus, grilled ratatouille and a spinach polenta pancake. I took the Godiva chocolates served with my tea but passed on the raspberry panna cotta and the chocolate cherry brownie with mousse topping, although they looked delicious.
After the meal service, the flight attendants came around with mattresses for the full-flat seats. I was ready for bed and slept a solid eight hours. I woke up, grabbed a snack at the lounge and did some work back at my seat until breakfast was served. WiFi was available on board, making my connections with home seamless.
The Experience: It’s hard to find any flaws in the first leg of this flight. The crew was outstanding; the seats were comfortable; food was better than good; and the entertainment system had thousands of hours of TV, movies, audio and language possibilities to explore. Arriving at Dubai Airport Terminal 3 was equally as grand. Before I flew on to Hong Kong, I stayed a few nights in Dubai for business. My flight to Hong Kong had an equally great crew. On my return to New York, I transited in the Dubai Airport and had less than three hours to wait in a huge, business-class lounge with all the amenities a traveler could need. For travels to Asia from the East Coast, I highly recommend Emirates as a carrier if you’re not flying direct. It’s an opportunity to get a great flight experience, easy connectivity and a chance to explore Dubai if you choose to stop over.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food and beverages
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous in-flight staff
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress pad and comforter
- In-flight menu offering choice of three entrées
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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