Lady Penelope f lies home f lat out
Airline: Emirates Date: February 5 Flight no: EK412 Route: Dubai-Sydney Departure time: 10.45am (30 minutes late) Seat: 8G Class: Business Aircraft: A380. THE business-class seating pods on Emirates feel like mini entertainment arcades, with their buttons and switches and dataport technology; or, perhaps more appropriately, tiny cockpits. I fancy I am as gadgeted-up as Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds in her customised Rolls-Royce (numberplate FAB1; colour pink) with its pop-out water skis and radar-assisted steering.
Clearly the altitude is going to my head, but telly entertainment with heaps of old-time fave series is very much a feature of Emirates’ flights and on this 12,056km journey I will almost end up squareeyed, thanks to the airline’s comprehensive ICE entertainment system.
I know the precise distance of the journey thanks to the Airshow channel, a must-watch for planespotter types. It is oddly mesmerising gazing at that little plane edging its way purposefully across the globe. But don’t reach Sydney too soon, please, as I have a Modern Family marathon to giggle through.
The crew speaks a wide array of languages, the purser tells us, from Romanian to Swahili. I have been in Kenya for 10 days and, should the need arise, I can declare in the local dialect that I have enjoyed myself very much: Nimependezwa sana.
Lunch is served about two hours after take-off, starting with little canapes ( oily olives and mini-peppers stuffed with feta cheese) and appetiser of Arabic mezze or honey and ginger-cured salmon. There’s a selection of five main courses, including vegetarian, low-kilojoule and reduced-fat options. The slowbaked tilapia is perfectly adequate if a little dry, served with fennel in a thyme broth with Provencalstyle vegetables and wild rice pulao. I don’t have dessert, although the blueberry crumble cake looks fine, as does the trolley’s vast cheese selection.
Coffee lovers should note that espressos and cappuccinos are available; snacks served at any time include vegetable fried rice, cornish pasties ( with chicken tikka fillings, oddly) and, from the ice-cream menu, interesting choices such as quince or pineapple.
After overdosing on back-toback episodes of the hysterical mockumentary series Parks and Recreation ( which Channel 7 chooses to show just after midnight at home, for some unearthly reason and, hello, Rob Lowe has been a recurring guest star), I exit Pawnee, Indiana, and ask the attendant to make up the seat into a lie-flat bed. Which she does in a practised snap, with mattress overlay and plumped-up pillow.
At hand on a shelf in a corner of the pod is a beverage cabinet with bottled still and sparkling water and soft drinks, which is a nice idea and means less call-button pressing, but of course the bottles and cans are at cabin temperature and not particularly palatable.
I sleep very well although the aisle position means I am bumped a few times during the ‘‘night’’ by passing passengers. I recommend asking for a window seat for optimum privacy, as you are tucked away completely. Couples or friends or colleagues travelling together could request a centre pair without the modular panels that separate single seats.
I eschew breakfast in favour of a detox drink of carrot, celery, apple and ginger. We land at 7am and I feel surprisingly rested. Nimependezwa sana. Tip: Emirates has particularly generous baggage allowances of 30kg in economy and 40kg in business. Best deal: The airline has stopover packages in Dubai from $US39 a night, depending on the season, and regular onward connections to ports in Africa such as Nairobi. More: 1300 303 777; com/au.
emirates. About My Last Flight is an occasional column by T&I staff and key contributors.