Beyond the Triangle

First Class Fantasy


images-1Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

They say money can’t make you happy. But, really, they are wrong. The absolute luxury of boarding the first class cabin of an Emirates Airbus 380 surpasses any flight I have ever taken.

And that’s before we have even left the tarmac.

The interior of the plane looks more like a Bentley than a jet. My personal TV screen is enormous enough to entertain my whole family.

“They’ve got Planet Earth Two,” says my husband, smiling and clearly relieved that I, not us, will be sharing in the delights of Sir Richard Attenborough’s spectacular images of our beautiful world as we begin our own personal trip around it.

I am not writing an ad for Emirates but I would. It is fabulous.  My chair bed is enormous and even offers a massage feature, usually only standard in a South Asian nail salon where, unlike our attentive airline staff, “pick your color” is the extent of the interaction between client and service provider.

A friend of mine described her experience with the airline as completely over the top, after securing a cabin that featured a king size bed and a shower!

I held no envy for her experience as my perfectly proportioned, luxuriously outfitted cubby hole was equally, delightfully spacious. But then, lo and behold one of the many beautiful and painfully polite flight attendants inquired about my interest in freshening up during the flight.

“Madame, would you like to reserve the shower? We have two,” she said.

London to Dubai takes less than 8 hours, not the whole week-end, so, as delighted as I was with the prospect of a shower in the sky,  I politely declined her offer but made a special note to tell my posh friend about our shared experience.

Even before we leave the ground I have already received a hot towel, tea, slippers and a whole basket of edible goodies plus a bar full of soft drinks and stationary pack complete with a handsome leather pen gifted to us by the airline.

Honestly, if this had been the extent of our round the world vacation it would have been impressively satisfying. It also further fortified my new found position that trips versus trinkets is the way to go for both anniversary and birthday gifts.

OMG: I have just seen the day’s menu.  Lunch starts with Caviar. And they are serving one of my favorite chardonnays, a glass of which is poured for me at 10:30 in the morning. “It’s cocktail hour somewhere”, says our steward, Juan, who advises us that should we need anything further during our flight all we need do is press a button for room service and, like a genie in a bottle, he will appear.

I am overwhelmed and then worry – but just for an instant- that this trip, even the first leg of it, is costing a fortune.

“You can’t take it with you,” my husband reminds.  What a great chap he is. Good husbands will calm you like that.

Even the cabin crews are stellar. They hail from 22 different countries and give service with a capital “S” which is fast becoming a lost art. It made me think that, aside from the luxurious surroundings, their basic, polite service model, like the simple ingredients in baked bread should not be hard to replicate anywhere.

But, alas, it is.

Just the other day a hostess welcomed a friend and me to a breakfast spot, smiled and said, “I hope you enjoy your meal.” I thanked her and before she left our table I asked if she could bring two coffees while we waited for our waitress. “I’m much too busy to do that,” she replied.


Busy doing what? Writing your thesis? Conducting open heart surgery? How tough can it be for restaurant staff to serve restaurant food to restaurant patrons?

Puzzling and uninspired customer service to say the least.

It would have cost her nothing to have suggested that we were just as important as whatever else she was doing. Good service should not be a luxury, said by someone sitting smack dab in the middle of tres luxe circumstances, I know.  But it’s true. Good customer service is about professionalism. And all customers can recognize it. Whether they’re sitting at the back of the bus or the front.


NEXT UP: Coming Down To Earth.


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