FINALLY, YEARS AFTER THE A380 HAS TAKEN TO THE SKY AND CONQUERED IT IN SPECTACULAR STYLE, IT HAS FINALLY LANDED IN KLIA!
Kee Hua Chee being welcomed by the crew of Emirates inside the amazing A380!
One for the road..
The much talked-about bar in the sky
Kee Hua Chee takes over the bar in his inimitable style
But he was not alone
An extra pair of hands is always useful
One of two sofas in the Lounge Bar
Even a baby got into the act
Kee Hua Chee with steward from China
There are heaps of hot and cold canapes and finger food while drinks flow endlessly in Emirates' Lounge Bar
Only the best will do for Emirates
The superbly stocked liquor cabinet
This is the real high life at 36,000 ft high
Standing tall---well, at 35,000 ft
Kee Hua Chee is flat out in the most luxurious way imaginable
NOW EVERY MALAYSIAN CAN FLY THE STUNNING A380, THE WORLD'S BIGGEST COMMERCIAL PLANE ANYTIME TO ANYWHERE VIA DUBAI, THE HEART OF AVIATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST!
ONE WOULD HAVE EXPECTED MALAYSIA AIRLINES TO BE THE FIRST TO FLY THE A380 FROM AND ONTO MALAYSIAN SOIL BUT THE HONOUR GOES TO EMIRATES, THE WORLD'S FASTEST GROWING FULL-SERVICE AIRLINE AND POSSIBLY THE BEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD. WELL, MALAYSIA AIRLINES IS AMONG THE BEST AND SO IS SINGAPORE AIRLINES BUT EMIRATES IS LOADED WITH CASH AND UNENCUMBERED WITH DEBTS SO THIS BIG BIRD IS REALLY GOING PLACES!
AS IT IS, IT FLIES 3 TIMES DAILY TO MALAYSIA FROM DUBAI CAN YOU BELIEVE AND 5 TIMES DAILY TO LONDON AND WOULD BE HAPPY TO FLY 7 OR 10 TIMES DAILY TO LONDON HEATHROW IF NOT FOR UNAVAILABILITY OF BERTHING SPACE! THERE IS SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH SLOTS IN LONDON HEATHROW, THE WORLD'S BUSIEST AIRPORT WHICH IS PACKED TO THE RAFTERS WITH AIRLINES BEGGING FOR LANDING RIGHTS AND WAVING BUNDLES OF CASH.
Emirates is the world's first airline to introduce personal, customised, oncall entertainment which allows passengers to watch movies whenever they wish! Previously all airlines screened movies almost simultaneously so you had to choose one movie or if you had fallen asleep had to watch it halfway and then wait for it to restart to watch the beginning! Now everything is touch screen and if bits get boring, just touch it forward and it jumps ahead!
As I was sponsored by Emirates to fly from KLIA to Dubai and back on 12 January, I had the immense honour of trying out their First and Business Class and both are out of this inter-galactic universe!
It was all I could do to struggle to keep awake as the seat in Business reclined all the way down to a flat bed and ditto for First Class which came with a proper shower! Yes, a proper show with perfumes for men and women by Bvlgari and a complete Spa treatment. The shower room is as big as most hotel shower rooms unless you stay at Burj Al-Arab or Armani hotel in Burj Khalifa which are the size of a small flat! Anyway the shower room is nicely spacious and NOT a hole in the wall so there is plenty of breathing space and you don't get claustrophobic at all. There are special edition toothbrushes, comb, soap and shampoo plus hair-dryer so you emerge from the 7 hour flight fresh like a daisy and looking like you just stepped out of the bath which of course you did!
Naturally you pay through the nostril but you can rejoice in the naughty thought that as you shower and twiddle your thumbs in utter luxury, directly below you is the toilet of Economy. I am sure Buddha will disapprove of my gloating over the peasants below but then it is due to Buddha's blessings I get to travel Business in Emirates, famous for its service, style and space.
The Economy class is not to be compared with the cattle class most airlines call Economy as Emirates offer the spacious seating configuration possible so unless you are 7 ft tall, your knees will not be scraping the seat in front of you.
It is often said the food in Emirates' Economy is equivalent to many other airlines' Business Class and this I can vouch for as even a superstar journalist of universe class calibre occasionally get dumped in Economy and yes, I have flown Economy in Emirates and thoroughly enjoyed it. The food is world class and I never bother to diet when confronted with such largesse. I always believe the best way to succumb to temptations is to surrender and give in straightaway!
My seat is so full of hightech wizardry I had to ask a stewardess to show me what the bells, whistles and gimcracks were meant for. I had a reading light which focuses only on the page instead of lighting up the entire aircraft so to speak. There were 3 buttons which I could press to adjust my seat till it reached 180 degrees and I was as flat as the runway. The length of the bed is 80 inches or 2 metres which should suit most homo sapiens. I am only 178 cm or 1.78 metres so I was perfectly fine!
A double compartment contained comfy socks and eye pads plus a mini-bar with coke, 7-up, cranberry juice and Voss, the most expensive and exclusive mineral water!
There are 1,200 movies, music, documentaries and games to choose from so sleeping is not an option. In fact, this is the best time to catch up on the latest movies like Rise of Planet of the Apes which I saw twice as it was so good, Warriors, Kungfu Panda and Columbiana. I went through a dozen movies by fast forwarding them so I could enjoy the juicy parts---yes the on-demand movies are like your DVD at home---just press on the bar to go forward or backward! So ultra cool!
As for food, one could eat till the Plimsoll line as the offerings were so sumptuous. This is not the time to even think of dieting unless you fly First or Business every time every month! If not, thank Jesus and Buddha you are seated in Emirates First or Business and enjoy!
And the Bar! Yes, there is a full service bar exactly like Sex and the City Part 2!
Hang around the bar and flirt with the steward or stewardess or lounge on the two sofas, one on either side. The baristas are your stewards and stewardesses who are happy to take your photos behind the bar brandishing bottles of liquor if you so desire to be like Tom Cruise in Cocktails. This bar also allows passengers to mingle and chat with each other so if you fancy the hunky guy or sexy vamp or cute gay, this is the time to make small talk. Who knows, by the time you land, you might already have your accomodation sorted or have confirmed your tour guide!
Since everyone is on Business or First, all are on the same playing field and barriers you might raise at sleazy joints or ordinary bars on land are lifted as presumably your fellow passengers could not be poverty-stricken, desperate con men or women on the prowl for rich victims.
I did make a few nice contacts but had no time to meet up as my itinerary was packed solid in Dubai but I know quite a few productive friendships had sprung from such casual encounters 35,000 ft in the air. And this is no airy-fairy tale!
Emirates, as you may have guessed, is the national airlines of Dubai and owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai. However, it is said Investment Corporation of Dubai is 99.67% owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Vice President of United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. Emirates the airlines does not enjoy free petrol as popularly rumoured as petrol has to be refined into jet fuel and Emirates pays for its fuel like any other airline and its board of directors is expected to perform and produce results. In other word---profits!
So far Emirates is flying skyhigh as profits are massive and prestige is sky-scraping. In fact, Emirates has ordered 70 more A-380 planes and is now flying only A380 and Boeing 777 which is actually smaller than Boeing 747. Eventually Emirates may be the world's first and only airlines to fly an entire fleet of A380 superplanes! After all, unlike MAS and very like SIA, Emirates does not have any domestic route since it is a small emirate and short hauls are also non-existent! So it concentrates only on long hauls and can utilise A380s to the max!
Emirates' Business and First Class are the epitome of luxury
I had my own mini-bar
At 2 metres long, my feet could not even reach the end of my flat bed
In the lap of luxury
Decked in jewels and Louis Vuitton bag aboard Emirates, this is the only way to fly
See what I mean?
My blanket and lightweight mattress are stored next to me
I drink nothing but Moet and Chandon and of course Dom Perignon
One of many courses!
I could place my Louis Vuitton on the floor and never got asked to stow it in the seat in front of me or in the overhead locker!
These two are from mainland China
The Sky Bar with free-flow drinks and food
Top of the class Business Class in Emirates
Complimentary canapes and drinks
Moet & Chandon champagne---only the best will do for Emirates
For information and booking; www.emirates.com