Flydubai has steadily increased its routes recently, with a strong focus on European and seasonal flights that offer connectivity to destinations without existing direct lines from Dubai. For summer 2023, this included adding a flight to Olbia Costa Smeralda airport (OLB), operating as a thrice-weekly service until September 30, 2023. This gateway to the northern region of Sardinia operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and is serviced by a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with 156 enhanced economy seats and 10 business class seats.
With flydubai’s close ties to Emirates, business class passengers benefit from access to the Emirates business and first class check-in at Dubai International airport’s Terminal 3. There are self-service and staffed check-in counters for both business and first class passengers. For a 7.25am departure, a 5.30am arrival is ample time to enjoy a swift check-in, with baggage affixed with priority tags to ensure they are returned first at the other side. Then, it’s straight through the smart gates. The full process from arrival to airside took just under 20 minutes.
The perks of the Emirates and flydubai partnership continue at the Emirates lounge. The impressively large lounge features several beverage stations where guests help themselves to hot drinks and water, as well as buffet stations serving hot Western and Asian delicacies and continental bites too. As it’s early morning, there are also pastries to-go for those in a rush; and for those with a bit more leisure time, a separate Moët & Chandon lounge is well populated with guests enjoying a pre-flight glass of bubbles.
Business class features 10 seats: two in a 2-2 configuration and the middle row in a 1-1 configuration. The seats are all designed in smart shades of grey with flydubai’s signature blue accents, with ample storage, a discreet tray table, a widescreen TV and plenty of sumptuous space to spread out. A plump pillow, headset and water are nice touches that await each guest. The TV is touchscreen-enabled, and there’s a vast array of entertainment available. Adjacent to the screen, a USB port ensures gadgets are fully charged upon touchdown. There are controls for both the seat – which reclines fully – and the footrest.
Seats 2B and 2E are the ones to book, as these come with large storage spaces and no neighbours. Also, you don’t have to pick between a window and aisle seat, as you can benefit from both.
Despite being on one of the first flights of the new route, the outbound flight was almost entirely full. Inbound was much quieter, which is to be expected, as operations had only begun the week prior. The friendly, professional flight attendants were quick to pass around welcome drinks of water and fresh juice, and hand out fluffy blankets. The entertainment selection was impressive, although more locally inspired content would benefit inbound travellers coming to Dubai, as this section was limited. Staff were quick to refill glasses and frequently passed by to check on guests, refraining from disturbing those who were sleeping.
Food and drink
Guests can choose from soft and alcoholic drinks. Snacks are also frequently offered, from bags of nuts and dried fruit to crisps. There were two hot main options, catering to vegetarians and meat eaters, both served with a warm bread roll, side salad and chocolate pudding. Sadly, the pasta dish I ordered was lacking in flavour, although the presentation on a white napkin over the tray table was a nice touch.
We were given a 30-minute warning ahead of landing, with all remaining drinks and blankets cleared 20 minutes before hitting the tarmac. A slightly bumpy landing had us arriving in Olbia around half an hour behind schedule at 1pm.
Flydubai’s business class offering impresses across the categories of comfort, service and entertainment. The food is the only area that needs a little elevating to align with the rest of the experience.
Words by Alice Holtham
6 hours 55 minutes
19.8 inches (when seated); 21.3 inches (in bed mode)
Internet rates in September for a one-way Dubai-Olbia flight start from Dhs8,260