In May 2018, I found myself yet again traipsing around Europe – this time doing the Stockholm, Oslo, and Hague route. I decided to swing by Stockholm, because I’ve never been, before going to Oslo for the International Bar Association Mid-Year Meetings, and then to The Hague because I was invited to sit as a Bench Judge and Memorial Reviewer for the 2018 International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition organized by Leiden University.
I flew from Amsterdam to Dubai on Emirates Economy. I was worried if I would make it in time for my Dubai to Manila flight because my transit time was only a little over an hour. Based on experience, an hour is barely enough to get off the plane, clear through security, and make a mad dash through the humongous terminal. Since my flight was slightly delayed, I asked a flight attendant if I could still make it to my next flight. She assured me that my Dubai to Manila flight would wait for me. I was stressed once I landed in Dubai because the plane was parked far from the terminals and it took a 20-minute bus ride for us to be dropped off at Building B.
I managed to get through security quickly and looked at the information screens for my connecting flight. Good thing the boarding gate was in the same building and I knew where exactly the gate was. When I reached the gate, the economy passengers were still boarding. A female ground staff tapped my boarding bass on the scanner, which made a loud beep. She pressed a button and a business class boarding pass came out. She handed the boarding pass to me with a respectful nod. Naturally, I skipped the queue. At that time, my Silver status had expired a couple of days earlier and I was damn glad I still had the ability to skip lines.
I was very pleased to board a new Boeing 777-300ER. It meant brighter and sharper screens. The entertainment controls were seamless and I could watch and listen to whatever I wanted with just a tap on the screen or the portable controller. Ever since I’ve started flying in business class, I noticed that I developed a sense of entitlement – even though I never paid for these upgrades. I felt a slight irritation whenever something on my seat was slightly off or the controls had a slight glitch. I also got a little annoyed if the dish I first wanted had ran out and I had to settle for my second choice. Yes, luxury had bred a monster in me. During these moments, I slapped my inner self so that I would rouse from the throes of ungratefulness and petulance.
I had champagne for my welcome drinks as usual. I was later surprised to see that their menu now offered breakfast instead of lunch and I was not asked what I’d like to drink before breakfast. After an hour, I was served Continental Breakfast consisting of bread, yogurt, slices of fruit, jam, and a cup of finely brewed coffee. This must be part of Emirates’ revamp of their food service for they wish to ensure that their passengers would not get hungry throughout the flight. It is considerably a better replacement to their light snack option. Plus, passengers would have a better appetite in the latter part of the flight, which would be a good time to serve the main meal.
The breakfast was pleasant. I did not feel pressured to eat a three-course meal first thing in the morning. I sipped my coffee while watching “The Greatest Showman”. The noise-cancelling earphones were a great help during the singing parts. After finishing the movie, I decided to go to sleep. I had set my seat to fully flat mode when I was asked if I’d like a duvet. A duvet makes the flight more comfortable. Despite the strong coffee, my body gave in to exhaustion and I promptly fell asleep.
I woke up because nature called. I jumped at the chance to once again generously sprinkle Bulgari eau de toilette on my wrists and neck. Apparently, I had woken up just in time because the crew had started the meal service. I was excited to try the food because I noted that the menu on this flight was totally new.
For appetizer, I had Smoked Duck served chilled with mango jelly, pickled beetroot, and asparagus. The duck was a bit tough yet tasty. The jelly, beetroot, and asparagus made a nice contrast to the smoky flavor of the duck. The salad had mozzarella balls in it. I was definitely hungry because the appetizer had accomplished its purpose, to whet my appetite.
My main course consisted of Chicken with Moroccan Spices served with tomato and lemon salsa, steamed broccoli and moghrabieh with olives. I paired them with Chateau La Nerthe Chàteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2016(dry and medium-bodied palate with flavors of honey, pear, peach and just a lick of spice). My only issue with the dish was that the sauce was a bit tepid. I would have liked it thicker, but then again, this was my first time to try Moroccan-inspired food. Everything was cooked well.
I looked at the dessert selection and decided to try the Passion Fruit Tart, the only item on the dessert selection that I haven’t tried. The first time I asked for it, it had run out. This time, when I ordered it, the flight attendant had to check first if it was still available, and since it was my lucky day, the tart was. The tart had a delicately balanced sweet-and-sour taste. The three dashes of cream added to the layer of taste. It went very well with the green tea. No wonder this dessert was a bit difficult to get.
This was the most pleasant flight on a Boeing 777-300ER I’d ever had so far. Service was excellent, as usual, and my experience was enhanced by the new entertainment and seat features. I slept well, the longest I’ve slept on a business class seat. Maybe, I was more relaxed that time because of my familiarity with the seat features. I was not pressured to try everything out. I already had a rhythm going on. Getting used to luxury is going to be the cause of my demise – very “Bonfire of the Vanities”.
I again wondered if it was going to be my last business class seat for some time. My heart once again sang to the universe, praying for a chance to fly business class on an Airbus A380. It is said to be an experience on a totally different level. The universe had granted my wish, many times, to fly business class on a Boeing, maybe it will deign to grant me this wish.
All I can say is, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.