FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Emirates provides Business Class passengers a limousine service within an unlimited radius throughout the UAE. So, following a pleasant drive, I arrived at the dedicated Emirates First and Business Class terminal, to be greeted by a member of staff who led me to the check-in desk.
As Dubai airport is constantly congested, getting through the airport can be arduous. However, with the help of the efficient Business Class check-in system, I stepped out of my limo at 0355, was processed and passed through immigration and security within a staggering six minutes!
On the last occasion I visited the Emirates lounge, I was turned away as it was too full. This time, I was pleasantly surprised to find it practically empty. The functional lounge provides use of the internet via a Wi-Fi connection or their terminals, a telephone and fax within the UAE.
BOARDING: We were offered a choice of pre-flight drinks, a hot towel and a newspaper. Publications included Arabic and English local newspapers along with the Financial Times. We were due to depart at 1800. The doors closed at 1750 and we were airborne at 1810.
THE SEAT: On the short inter-Gulf flights, Emirates generally uses its Airbus A330-200s rather than the plusher Boeing B777s with the fantastic entertainment system. However, I was extremely fortunate on my A330 flight EK839, to be given seat 6J, the first row of Business Class.
What makes this row unique is that this is the only one in the cabin. The remainder of Business Class is to the rear, behind the galley. The seat pitch in Business Class is 48 inches with a 2-3-2 configuration.
THE FLIGHT: Senior members of the cabin crew Feraz and Nina, along with purser Steve, ensured that the passengers had everything they needed, despite the flight only being of 45 minutes duration. We were offered a menu and a wine list, with a hot savoury snack of sweet and sour seafood and Cajun breaded prawns and a 2004 Domaine Trimbach Pinot Gris white wine. Following the meal, we were given tea and coffee and hot towels prior to our landing.
ARRIVAL: We arrived in Bahrain as per the scheduled arrival time of 1815 local time. On arrival at immigration, I had to pay US$13 for a visa. I collected my luggage and was heading out of the airport by 1825.
VERDICT: Occasionally you take a flight where everything runs like clockwork. This flight happened to be just that – perfect from start to finish. With the attentive and enthusiastic crew onboard, it was apparent why Emirates is an award-winning airline.
PRICE: A Business Class Dubai-Bahrain return fare costs from US$967.