Monday, January 7, 2013

The Best Flight of My Life (Part 1)

Sometimes I pinch myself. Is this really my life? I have had experiences that I never would of imagined and it often boggles my mind. Why me? I'm a super average girl from a small town, and I lead a life that is extraordinary. I am truly blessed and I am forever filled with gratitude for the incredible life I lead. 

**Sorry for the tangent, but I feel like this post needed a prologue**

I have traveled pretty extensively, but this trip takes the cake...

First Class Suites on the A380, Dubai to New York on New Year's Eve. <---for the books, baby! 

How did I get so lucky? 
First of all, we did not buy first class tickets. I don't know how much it would cost, but I'm guessing it's pretty pricey. We are both Gold Card Holders with Emirates and have accumulated hundreds of thousands of miles with the airlines over the past 4 years. We are frequent fliers with several airlines, but I think Emirates Skywards program offers the best benefits. Gold card holders earn mega miles each time they fly, and receive fantastic benefits (one time I was bumped to first class at the gate!) . I also feel like a movie star when the Captain comes to my seat and personally thanks me for selecting Emirates. 

Now that we are living in Chicago and my husband is doing his MBA and I am not required to travel for work, we do not fly internationally as much. Although we are planning something spectacular for Summer (spoiler alert), we will most likely use another airline (since it doesn't make sense to go through Dubai). This means we were sitting on a whole lot of miles without any plans to use them for the year...so we decided to do something a little wild and upgrade to first class on our "long leg" of the journey back from Mauritius. Yes, it was indulgent...Yes, it was over the top...But we both loved every single moment of it, and it was a fantastic and memorable way to finish up 2012. 

Emirates First Class Lounge, Dubai

When we arrived in Dubai early in the morning, we didn't know if an upgrade was available (sometimes you can do it online), so we went to the Skywards desk and hoped for the best. We decided that if there was two seats available, it was meant to be...There was exactly 2 seats left in the cabin. Talk about luck! 

They issued us new boarding passes and we made our way over to the First Class Lounge. 



I usually have a "airport uniform" that looks presentable, but bringing a blazer on a vacation just to look chic in the airport seemed a little ridiculous. As you can imagine, I was slightly under dressed for this classy establishment. I rocked lululemon yoga pants, and a soft jcrew tee and a permanent smile plastered on my make-up less face. 


First up, breakfast. Emirates Business Class lounge has all buffet items, but the First Class Lounge has a beautiful dining room with table service and a menu and MANY buffets. Think of anything you could ask for....sushi, curry, bread, muffins, fruit, cheese, juice, meats, eggs.....anything and everything is there and it all looks picture perfect. I really wish I had the courage to photograph it, because it is glorious. The service is also five star. 


I got an array of random items from the buffets... some Italian Christmas cake, delicious French yogurt, walnuts, poached pears, berries, and some cream. I also tasted some items in the table's bread basket with the most delicious butter I have EVER tasted (square plate above). I am really glad I don't have access to that butter on a regular basis. 

After breakfast, I walked over to the spa and booked my complimentary treatment. I have no shame being "that passenger" that capitalizes on each and every benefit of my first class upgrade.  Free pampering, I'm there.
I booked the De-Stress Back Massage and had a fantastic 20 minute rub down in a seated massage chair (last time I had a massage in the first class lounge, my masseuse bragged he had given Nadal a massage a couple days earlier). It was so good that I booked my husband one with the same lady as I left.

After checking some emails in the lounge's comfy chairs, our flight was called. If you have been to Dubai airport, you know how massive it is and how long it can take to get to your gate. A glorious benefit of flying on the A380 is that the plane boards right outside the lounges and you can maximize the lap of luxury in the lounge.


The other amazing part is how efficient it is  (better image HERE) to board all the passengers on the massive bird. 


Hello Beautiful!


This post is getting pretty lengthy (clearly I love re-living this magical experience), so I am going to split it up. Be excited for all the details on the food, wine, amenities, and entertainment that ensued for the next 14 hours of flying time.

Other post about A380/Emirates love...

My first post on the A380
Cape Town to Dubai to London
Gatwick to Dubai and a Complimentary First Class Upgrade

What's your dream vacation? 
Mani-pedi or Massage?  

11 comments:

Kelly Janowski said...

I really need to read more about this so I can live through your experience. Despite traveling a ton internationally for work, I never scored the awesome upgrades you note.

And if I could get a free massage, you'd better believe I'd sign up for two :)

Who has no shame? -----> this kid.

April said...

this looks amazing! I am so jealous right now :) I would prob get a mani-pedi...i have no shame taking the free stuff!

Katie @ Peace Love & Oats said...

this sounds like a dream. Seriously.

Catherine Crain said...

I can't even imagine a flight like this, let alone an airport like this?!?! oh my goodness!

Gingerfoxxx said...

Sadly, any traveling i do for work is usually only in the midwest! That sounds like some amazing customer service though!!

casey said...

GIRL! oh my goodness, this is so incredible :) gotta love it!! i love those "pinch myself" moments..and this is definitely one! can't wait for part two :)

Christina said...

WOW! That is some amazing service! Its like a flying cruise ship. Im glad that you found an international airline that you enjoy. Whenever I fly to Greece to visit family we have the worst experience with Olympic airlines.

Ush said...

I have heard really awesome things about Emirates but never had the chance to fly it. Maybe someday! The first class lounge sounds amazing!! I was on an A380 from JFK to Paris on Christmas eve a few weeks ago and got upgraded to business class and it was the best business class I've been in! (I also fly a lot and get upgraded frequently, although I haven't reach first class levels yet)

Dana said...

Ahh I want to try Emirates so badly! Gotta love those upgrading with miles :)

Sana said...

Mani/Pedi for sure! I would love to fly first class for sure!

Heather @ pass the dressing said...

Sierra this is freakin amazing! Free spa treatment...well free is relative but whatever! Who does that? Emirates, that's who. I need to get on my accumulation! Thanks for the review and looking forward to more!

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