When flying is a class above

We’ve all dreamed of maybe one day getting the chance to fly first class. JANINE MAY decided that celebrating a milestone birthday was all the excuse she needed. But was it worth the money?

ANYONE WHO says flying first class is overrated clearly hasn’t done it!

I’m not sure what was more exciting: knowing that I was travelling to my destination first class aboard Emirates or the actual holiday.

My “Festival of 50” was a month-long jaunt around Europe with my husband to celebrate my 50th birthday, plus an opportunity to see the world after our long two years of COVID shutdown.

We have all missed travelling so we figured let’s do it the “right way” and make it special. We work hard, we deserve it, you can’t take it with you when you go…we have all said these things to ourselves, but I’m not going to justify it. We like travelling, we like the finer things in life, we are doing it!

I knew it was going to be special and this feeling started at 4am at Sydney Airport when we were whisked past hundreds of people waiting to check in.

What might have been an hour wait was three minutes of calm and fabulous service.

After ignoring the laser stares from the waiting queue, we proceeded to the Emirates lounge where I sat in peace and quiet with a coffee and light breakfast.

Again, all queues were avoided on boarding and we were quickly ushered “left” to our seats. The Emirates A380 is amazing and it was hard to find anything on this aircraft not to love.

The Emirates “pod” had everything you could possibly want. Your own personal mini bar, snack basket, TV, interactive seat controls, Bvlgari amenities and toilet.

I loved having a shower on board, using all my Bvlgari amenities and Emirates pyjamas, then hopping into my bed made with sheets, pillows and duvet for a full eight-hour sleep. 

Having another shower an hour from my destination ensured that I arrived fresh as a daisy, with no jet lag and able to start my day in London as if I’d only been travelling a few hours.

I felt great and the Emirates staff ensured that I felt special, not just a “number”. Nothing was too much trouble for them, whether it was preparing a snack or a meal at any time during the flight.

Speaking of which, special mention must go to the meals, which were particularly delicious, presented beautifully and of restaurant quality.

I am a little embarrassed to list all my drinks and meals…no one could judge me in my pod, but here goes.

Champagne and warm nuts started the adventure and once we were up in the air, I chose a Porcini mushroom soup with sauteed chanterelles and crème fraiche.

I’m unsure how much time passed until I ordered a prawn cocktail, washed down with a summery cocktail. There were so many choices for mains it was hard to decide.

I was tempted by pan seared red snapper, Sicilian-style with nuts, celery and a currant vinaigrette and roasted veggies, but ultimately went with the seared beef tenderloin with tarragon and shallot sauce, steamed asparagus and potato gratin.

After one month away and currently cruising the Greek Islands I’m sad that my holiday is ending, but still excited knowing that the final leg home via Emirates first class is yet to come.