Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spending Christmas and New Year in Paradise: Male to Dubai via Colombo: Emirates First Class


It was time to leave paradise. We were driven from our water bungalow to the seaplane jetty on a buggy by our island host where our seaplane was already waiting for us. The seaplane crew was however no way to be seen (probably having a late lunch). It would be another ten minutes before the crew showed up and it was not a big deal since there was an air-conditioned room to wait in that had water and coffee.

Our flight back to Male was operated by the "Conrad" seaplane. The seats seem newer than the "normal" seaplane and there was air-condition on but overall, there was not much difference. We would be the only two hotel guest on the ride back to Male with another hotel employee who looked to be leaving Conrad for good also joining us. Things get slightly hairy before we took off as we overheard the captain complaining that some of the navigation didn't seem to work and he had to make several calls trying to resolve them. We did get on our way but I honestly wasn't sure if the original issues were resolved.

We safely arrived in Male thirty minutes later where a Conrad rep was again waiting for us. He escorted us to the bus that would take us to the main terminal where he handed us over to another rep who helped us with our bags to the Emirates check-in counter. There were no lines at the Emirates counter and the agent manning the first class counter was able to quickly to check us in with bags checked all the way to Paris in spite having two separate tickets - one for the Male to Colombo flight and the second for the Colombo to Dubai to Paris ticket.

We spent the rest of the time at the Plaza Premium Lounge that Emirates uses. The lounge is nicely furnished with views of the tarmac and has a pretty good selection of food. As with all other lounges in Male, there's no alcohol available and with the ice machine broken when we were, we had semi-cold coke instead.

We decided that it was not worth the extra cash for business or first class on the short hour or so Male to Colombo flight. We were seated in the bulk head seats that had plenty of leg room. I spent the time through the flight finishing up a book while enjoying music on Emirates' extensive IFE.


Cold Snack Plate

On arrival in Colombo, we browsed the airside shops looking for massages but there were more expensive than what we would pay. We then proceeded to the Emirates lounge where we took a shower, caught up on email and had a light snack.

We were back on the same plane that took us from Male to Colombo hours earlier but this time we would be at the front of the plane. We were delighted to find out that the plane was equipped with suites in first class. More often than not, Emirates operates the Colombo/Male flight with the "old" first class.

We decided to skip the cold plate that was on offer on the Colombo to Male segment and instead, just have the dessert and of course, with Dom and coffee. The attendants kept the champagne flowing while I enjoyed Liam Nesson running around in Istanbul in Taken 2. 

We didn't have to get of the plane while we were in transit in Male. I just continued with my movie. An hour later, two other passengers joined us in first class and we were on our way to Dubai. We were getting hungry by now and I enjoyed the lamb curry that I ordered.

We arrived in Dubai around midnight and parked at one of the gates in the new concourse. At that time, the gates weren't open for passengers so we had to be bussed to the terminal. Waiting for the four of us in first class, was a pretty swanky bus. Might even be more impressive than the Porsche or Mercedes that Lufthansa uses in Frankfurt!

First Class Bus
Instead of going through the hassle of getting a hotel room for our 7 hour layover, we decided to just crash in the first class lounge. I was pleasantly surprise to find some lounge chairs for sleeping that weren't there the last time we visited.

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