I just had my first shower on a plane flying 30,000 feet over Europe.  I cannot remember ever enjoying a shower as much as this one, and perhaps all the more so because of the 5 minute time limit, I savored every moment. As I write this I am having an absolutely ludicrously over-the-top experience.  I am almost embarrassed to write about it.  Here goes.

I am sitting in First Class on Emirates in one of the new A380 double decker jets on the 14 hour flight from Dubai to JFK.  I actually originated in Bangkok, but the Bangkok-Dubai leg is shorter and the plane has no shower.

Large video screen with snack basket

Large video screen with snack basket

To call this a “seat” would be inaccurate.  It is a private suite with a door that closes electronically when I want privacy.  Not that I need to close the door for privacy.  Already I can’t see anyone from my seat – although if I poke my head out I can see the hand of the guy in the row ahead of me.

Private bar that opens and closes electronically

Private bar that opens and closes electronically

Private lighted make up mirror and amenities that pops open

Private lighted make up mirror and amenities that pops open

It all started at 5:30 this morning when Emirates picked me up at my hotel in a shiny new SUV.  Private airport transfers are actually complimentary for all Business and First Class passengers. When I began my journey in New York two weeks ago a brand new black Cadillac Escalade picked me up at my home on the Upper East Side.  I am used to those Lincoln town cars but I am so much happier in a roomy Escalade, stocked with bottled water, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Writing kit, pyjamas & slippers, Bulgari amenities kit

Writing kit, pyjamas & slippers, Bulgari amenities kit

The Emirates First Class and Business Class lounges are like the old Concorde Lounge in the BA terminal where you boarded Concorde directly from the lounge.  You don’t have to go back out into the terminal and you remain in the rarified world from the moment you step into the lounge. You board directly onto the upper deck so you don’t even see the economy class passengers at all…and they have no idea what is above them.

Bathroom suite

Bathroom suite

First Class has two “shower suites” – 2 very large bathrooms with showers, Bulgari shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion, as well as a blow dryer and big fluffy towels. After your shower you can put on your pajamas and slippers and slip under your big duvet and sleep in total privacy.

Everyone loves to hate airline food, but the cuisine on Emirates is divine, which many excellent choices on both the food and drinks menus. I had caviar and blinis followed by seared tuna and asparagus, with freshly baked bread still warm from the oven. Lovely cheese and dessert and chocolates and after-dinner drinks are also available.

Caviar & blinis

Caviar & blinis

The upper deck is for both Business Class and First Class, and they share a wonderful bar/cocktail lounge which is loaded with snacks and manned by a friendly bartender.  They have two long sofas and a large standing area as well and could easily accommodate a dozen or two people. American carriers do not allow passengers to congregate since 9/11 so I was quite surprised to see this large area for socializing.

Upper deck with bar

Upper deck with bar

The service is impeccable from the moment you pick up the phone to call Emirates, to when your airport car arrives for you, to the check-in process at the airport, to the Business and First Class Lounges in the airport, to the in-air service on the flight itself.  A 24-hour journey to a time zone 12 hours away does not have to be painful.  In fact, it can be pure pleasure, which is the experience on Emirates.

I arrived back in New York relaxed and refreshed after my amazing experience – and no surprises for guessing which airline I’ll be using for my next trip to Asia!