After running around Melbourne for the day, I rushed out to the airport to check in for the next flight. I mentioned earlier that I'd been lucky enough to be put on Emirates after the scheduled Qantas place went out of service.
Well, I got to the airport and joined the queue, which turned out to be more than an hour long – it's just as well I didn't get there any later.
Then, a weird thing happens; as I'm checking in the Emirates guy asks “Do you have a shirt?” Huh? “A shirt – something with a collar.” Um… well, I do in my main bag..?
“Put it on. Just… put it on, ok? I got you a good seat.” I'm thinking WTH, I didn't know Emirates had a dress code, but I'm not about to argue, and I don't know what constitutes a good seat anyway, so I pull my bag out and hunt for a shirt.
“OK…” As he hands me the boarding pass, he quietly indicates…. I've been upgraded to business class! Business class on Emirates!
I don't wanna even think about how much that's worth, but I'm feeling pretty damn lucky at this point, bumped all the way up from Economy on Qantas.
So I head off and get de-skankied – Melbourne needs those shower rental facilities Asian airports tend to have (in fact it didn't even have running water in two of the four departure terminal bathrooms! – is an “out of order” sign too hard?), and sit there almost excitedly waiting to see what I'm up for.
When we board the plane it turns out to be a Boeing 777, which feel like twice the size of anything I've been on before. The nice thing about that is that the 777 is fast – it does the distance to Singapore in 4 hours less than the 747s Qantas uses, which is great as it means I get there just an hour later than originally scheduled.
Anyway, not long after sitting down I'm nattering away with my new friend in the seat next to me, an experienced traveler about Mum's age. She passes on a couple of travel tips, tells me about her journeys, we chat about the marriage scene today, Australian politics etc., and even attack a Sudoku together.
Neither of us gets much sleep though – despite having a very spacious cabin and good-sized seats, those seats can't go completely straight, which isn't too comfortable for sleeping in.
Still, the flight passes with nothing more dramatic than half an hour of turbulence in the middle of dinner.
The food, incidentally, was rather good – I wouldn't have thought you could get that on a plane. For the occasion I broke my rules about no booze & no seafood on planes, figuring these guys could be trusted with the latter and I could handle a little of the former. A glass of an '04 French red? Hell yes. Not going to get that again in a hurry!
Three-course goodness was on offer, though I was way too chocka to have dessert. I took a photo of the entree (lobster on a plane!) but by the time the turbulence ended and we had the main I'd had a bit too much wine to remember :).