Flying Emirates to India

Flying Emirates to India: Arabian lamps in Dubai airport

Arabian lamps on display at the airport in Dubai.

Riding the Emirates Magic Carpet

Staring out the airplane window at the orange-tinted lights of Dubai ranged around the blackness of the Persian Gulf. Above is a shy moon, half hidden, and one bright steady star. Perhaps it’s the star that always guides me when I go to India, the one I dreamt about when I was planning my first trip back in 2005.

We have just ascended from Dubai airport and we’re on our way to Delhi. It’s my sixth trip to India and it all feels very surreal in this moment. As I look out the window from my comfortable business class seat aboard Emirates flight 512, I am already getting that familiar feeling — that sense of magic — that travel to India engenders. This is a magic carpet, I think. It is easy to take jet travel for granted, but it is a modern miracle to be able to travel from Canada to India in less than a day. And it’s all part of the day dream that is my adventures in India.

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The Thief of Baghdad poster: A flying carpet. Flying Emirates to IndiaWhen I was a child obsessed with the 1,001 Tales of the Arabian Nights, I dreamed one day a magic carpet would whisk me away to exotic adventures. I must have dreamed well because that is exactly what is happening. I followed my bliss and traveled to India for six months in 2005-06; and then I pursued my passion by founding Breathedreamgo in 2009.

And now, after three years of hard work building up Breathedreamgo, I am being rewarded with a business class flight to India on Emirates, one of the world’s truly great airlines. And to my dreaming mind, it is not a coincidence at all that Emirates is an Arabian company.

Just now, a handsome young man named Shah, a member of the cabin crew, stopped by to say hello because he heard that a woman who writes about travel in India is aboard. His warm and friendly greeting made me feel very welcomed. And, again, I started to feel that special “India feeling” — which I haven’t felt in a long time. I have only spent six weeks in India in the past two years, and that was a year-and-a-half ago.

This trip came together very quickly and suddenly, and though I worked very hard to get ready to go, it feels like I am simply being swept along by destiny. I don’t feel in control at all. It’s like that line in The Exotic Marigold Hotel (which I watched from my private, seat in business class on the Emirates Toronto-Dubai leg): “India hits you like a wave. Resist and you will be knocked over. Dive into it and you will come out the other side.”

Millie Carlin presiding over the Emirates business class lounge with warmth and good cheer

Millie Carlin presiding over the Emirates business class lounge with warmth and good cheer

Well, I’m certainly not resisting this flight. Emirates’ service and amenities are spectacular and I’m taking advantage of all of it. The long haul (13.5 hours) flight from Toronto to Dubai was aboard an Airbus A380. It’s a huge, double-decker airplane. Economy is on the bottom floor and business and first class are up top — along with a lounge and two shower-spa rooms that are surprisingly spacious. (The purser, Jeevan Menon, gave me a tour.)

Business class seat aboard Emirates Boeing 777-300 from Dubai to Delhi

Business class seat aboard Emirates Boeing 777-300 from Dubai to Delhi

My seat was like a small hotel room, complete with a chair that folds flat at the touch of a button, a mini mini-bar and a good-sized television screen. And when I wanted to get up and stretch my legs, I walked to the lounge, where I was greeted by Millie Carlin, from Melbourne, and her beaming smile. The lounge has a fully stocked bar, bench seats, room to stand and tiered plates of small sandwiches and petit fours that Millie constantly replenished. To say I was really impressed with the service and amenities on my first-ever Emirates flight is an understatement.

I had heard via social media that many others are impressed with Emirates, too, and asked the purser, Jeevan, “What’s special about Emirates?” Jeevan has worked with Emirates for seven years, since he started his career, and is completely sold on the company’s commitment to diversity: since its launch in 1985, Emirates has always had a multicultural hiring policy. On board my flight, the cabin crew was composed of 15 nationalities speaking 17 different languages. He also talked about Airbus customizations for the Emirates fleet. The shower spas and lounge are unique to Emirates, for example. And he cited Emirates very visible marketing campaigns and growth opportunities for employees.

But I think the biggest compliment I heard about Emirates during my flight came from two Australian women who were also traveling business class, and who told Millie they were going a long way out of their way to fly from Toronto to Australia (via Dubai) because they wanted to fly Emirates. Perhaps they got that “magic carpet ride feeling” from Emirates too.

[NOTE: Although Emirates provided my business class flight, the views and opinions expressed are — as always — my own. If I don’t like something, I just don’t write about it.]

Emirates jet in flight.

Emirates jet in flight.

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11 Responses to Flying Emirates to India

  1. Doreen Pendgracs October 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Hi Mariellen: I haven’t yet had the pleasure of flying with Emirates, but I did fly Pearl (business) class to Dubai with Etihad Airlines and it was magnificent. The first class people had it even better if you can imagine with a 21 inch TV for each of them and their own personal space. (Etihad has 3 levels of service on its long haul flights.)

    How fortunate we are to be able to experience this excellent quality of service as part of our “jobs.” Safe journeys to you …
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..a diversion to Saskatoon for some fall coloursMy Profile

  2. Candice October 7, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    There is a BAR in first class?! Sold

  3. Shalu October 8, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    I have flown on Emirates before and I must say that they are one of the best I have flown on. Be it service, on board movies and music or food, Its first class. I have not been on their business class (perhaps never will) but I am sure its like a hotel room as you describe. Dubai airport is a good one, I remember buying gold but not any more, its too expensive.
    Shalu recently posted..State of Bihar – Places of interest and tourist attractionsMy Profile

  4. Edna Mouson October 8, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    It is beautiful, totally beautiful on the inside and I will not hesitate to fly emirates if I was traveling too. Awesome pic!
    Edna Mouson recently posted..kardashiantape.orgMy Profile

  5. Kanak Pal October 8, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Nice post! The Arabian lamps look just awesome.

  6. Mariellen Ward October 9, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    Thanks for comments all. Emirates really does put on a good spread! The bar is in business class, Candice, which makes it more accessible. It’s great to be able to get up, walk around, meet people, eat snacks …. and do that other thing people do in bars.

    Yes, Doreen, I do have the best job in the world. Very grateful.
    Mariellen Ward recently posted..Flying Emirates to IndiaMy Profile

  7. Dianne Sharma Winter October 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Magic carpet ride indeed! Emirates rocks it totally, their staff are all obviously well looked after as everyone I know who works for or has worked for that airline raves about it! Great food too

  8. Lesley Peterson October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Emirates sounds a comfortable and hospitable launch, Mariellen. The multilingual cabin crew you report would be a huge plus plus. I’ve witnessed huge problems on charter flights to Europe because not one crew member spoke the language of our destination country; in one instance, armed police ended up on board. A diverse and multilingual crew would certainly make me feel secure. Best wishes on the rest of your journey! Look forward to more posts.
    Lesley Peterson recently posted..ArtSmart Roundtable: Miami Art Deco architectureMy Profile

  9. Mariellen Ward October 26, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Thanks Dianne and Lesley. There is something special about Emirates airline!
    Mariellen Ward recently posted..One day at a yoga ashram in IndiaMy Profile

  10. Victoria December 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Hi Mariellen, What a lovely post. I have never flown with Emirates but it certainly looks worth it. India is one of my favourite countries and the description and image of a flying carpet is very apt!
    Victoria recently posted..Oh, but the Highlands are bonny!My Profile

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