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Ever wanted to see the inside of a luxury aircraft, but don't have the dough to make your dream a reality? One of our normally frugal writers decided to splurge and take a business class flight on an Emirates Airbus A380. Surprised by the wide array of perks the flight offered, she documented the best parts of the trip. Take a look at her photographs of the surprising amenities, like an inflight bar lounge and shower, which make this plane seem more like a hotel. It's not quite the same as boarding the plane yourself, but unlike the flight, reading this article won't cost you a penny and you're free to move about the cabin at any time.
When you choose to travel, what is most important to you? For me, keeping costs low is my top priority, but last week I decided to change my thinking and booked a trip based on service alone.
After browsing the Emirates home page and looking at all of the pictures on the site, I decided that it looked more like a hotel than an aircraft. Convinced by what I saw, I booked a flight on an Emirates airbus A380. It's been about a week since I came back from my trip and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed by the flight. Here are the highlights:
■ The plane has a bar lounge!
Both first and business class cabins of the Emirates Airbus A380 have bar lounges. Unlike my fellow passengers, I couldn't sleep, so if I got hungry I could just go to the bar lounge. There were cup o' noodles, sandwiches, chocolates and other light snacks, and of course a large selection of alcoholic drinks to choose from. To top it all off, the staff was very friendly and easy to talk to, just like at an actual bar.
▲ The bar lounge seating looks like it belongs on a spaceship.
■ The ceiling of the plane looks like a planetarium!
Shortly after we boarded the airbus, the lights dimmed and the ceiling began to change. Then, stars were projected onto the walls of the aircraft. It was beautiful! When the lights slowly come up, they start off looking like dawn and slowly get brighter and brighter. Since I couldn't sleep, I had fun watching the changes.
■ There's an electrical outlet near your seat and WiFi in the cabin
Nowadays, many people bring their personal computers on a plane. The time sitting on the plane won't be wasted if you do work while you fly, but your computer's battery life is always a factor. However, that's not a problem if you're on an Airbus A380.
Every seat, regardless of class, is equipped with an electrical outlet and anyone can use Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi isn't free unless you are a first class passenger, but it only costs $10.
■ Each seat looks like a private room
The first and business class seats are designed in such a way that you will practically never see the person next to you. It's almost as if you have a private room. If you want to share your "private room" with another person, there are two-person configurations as well.
The first class area is composed of true private rooms. You'll be able to relax all by yourself.
■ Seats can change into a massage chair or bed
All first class and business class seats are equipped with massage functions that can be used at any time. Also, before the lights are dimmed, a cabin attendant will lay cushy sleeping bedding on your chair so you can sleep peacefully. First class cabins have beds similar to those you use at home, but the business class seats recline all the way down… I slept like a baby!
■ There's a waterfall inside the plane!!!
When I overheard a flight attendant saying the airbus had a waterfall, I didn't believe her. She then took me to the bar lounge and there it was, an actual waterfall inside the plane.
■ Take a shower at 4,000 feet!
The coolest part about the flight was the shower. I was expecting it to resemble the small, coffin-like restrooms on any normal plane, but it wasn't anything like that. The shower on the Emirates airbus was surprisingly roomy and even came with Emirates-brand shampoo!
▲ There is even an orchid flower arrangement in the shower booth.
▲ First class freebies!
■ The food was amazing!
It was hard to choose an inflight meal because there were too many options. In total, there were 18 different sets including an "Oriental" vegetarian set, Jainism vegetarian set, and even a set for passengers with diabetes.
I ordered the low-salt entrée and my husband had the meal for people who are lactose intolerant. Both were delicious! Many low-salt airplane meals that I have tried in the past were disgusting, so Emirates' tasty low-salt entrée was a pleasant surprise.
▲ The sushi was unexpectedly spicy, but delicious.
■ You can even insert your USB memory stick and view documents on the seatback screen.
It's a simple function, but I was so surprised to find that I could plug in my USB stick and look at pictures using the seatback screen. It's probably more useful for businessmen, but I still think it's a cool feature of the flight.
■ Free champagne at any time
Business class passengers can enjoy complementary Moët champagne. First class, meanwhile, can sip on Dom Pérignon.
■ A beautiful view
The Haneda to Dubai flight goes right over the Himalayas. This is a picture I took with my phone.
From Japan, this wonderful flight on the Emirates Airbus A380 is only available from Haneda to Dubai. For those who don't have any plans to visit Dubai, there are plenty of connecting flights to Europe that you can choose.
■ Free Beauty Pack for women
Women who ride in business or first class receive a complementary beauty pack (perfume, hand crème, etc.) in a Bvlgari pouch.
■ The Emirates business lounge at the Dubai airport is kid friendly
I recommend Emirates business class for passengers traveling with small children because the business lounge is complete with a "kids' space." Not only do they have a playground, but snacks for children are also available.
Even though my flight on Emirates was more expensive than flights with other carriers, the time I spent on the airplane felt more like a stay at a hotel. Taking the Emirates airbus A380 was a New Year's present to myself and now I'm feeling refreshed and ready to take on 2013.