07.11.2008 - 08.11.2008
WoW! What can we say. Our 1st class upgrade “miracle” happened!. We paid £240 each – the cheapest flights we could find, from Cairo to CapeTown, South Africa) – a bargain actually, to then find the tickets as far as Jo’Berg were marked as 1st class. We are still mystified. 1st Class was full on both flights (Cairo to Dubai, then Dubai to Jo’Berg) so it can’t have been to make room in economy. Truly odd, and definitely a once in a lifetime lucky experience. Business class on both flights was not full either…. only a few people (they bumped some business to 1st – one assumes it makes the catering easier).
When we initially got to Cairo airport the check-in desks were unmanned and unmarked. We just stood right at the front of the 1st desk out of about 8 and waited. Big lines soon formed at all the desks. A mature Australian couple got chatting to us (they wouldn’t stop, in all honesty) and we discussed our travelling, and our plans, and our rucksacks, etc etc (the chap joked that they looked like ideal bomb carrying bags). Eventually the desks were manned, and I asked the woman at our desk if it was for 1st class – yep! It was. The Australian couple never said another word. I think they were stunned into silence. Remember I’m in jeans and a t-shirt and K is not faring much better, and we have rucksacks and daybags. It was hilarious :- ) We checked our bags in and wandered off, leaving a million people behind us who all had to side shuffle into the next queue as they’d all inadvertently queued for 1st class and had to move. Classic stuff.
After chilling in the (frankly not very impressive) 1st class lounge we boarded our flight. Totally amazing. There is a BIG difference between business and 1st – apart from the seating, the service is pretty much one on one. We reclined, activated our massaging chairs, and watched some TV on our giant screens whilst perusing our 7 course menu. We both had a seafood starter affair, and I followed up with a fillet steak, all washed down with oodles of Dom Perignon 2000 Vintage and a few glasses of a 1998 St Emilion Grand Cru Classe. K enjoyed the cheese selection afterwards and I gorged myself on chocolates.
Our waitress had clearly clocked that we were not regular 1st class travellers and asked if we were on our honeymoon :- ) – she was great and loved that we were loving it all. They must tire of grumpy execs after a while. I had to stop her topping up my Champaign after a while!
During that 3 and a half hour stint we managed to stuff ourselves, clear what must have easily been a bottle champers to ourselves, a good bottle of red, and collect lots of eye blinds, toiletries, etc. Dead cool!
We had 4 hours to kill in Dubai’s new terminal 3 but as they had a dedicated 1st class lounge it was an easy task – more akin to a private, free hotel.
Then we had the next 8 hour leg to “endure” :- ) - hell, can you tell I’m oozing with smugness?
This was where the extra space came into it’s own. We had “near flat” beds on our Jordanian business class flights to Bangkok in January, but this was far better. Totally flat, and they give you a mattress to put over your seat. It really does make a proper bed. I went to “bed” almost immediately and woke up 6 hours later feeling fresh. K stayed up a bit longer. Free Dom Perignon was making it hard for her to give up just yet!
I finished off the flight with “breakfast in bed” – you ever had a fillet steak for breakfast? Nope? Neither had I up until now. Why have sausages when you can have steak? Odd, but nice. Kirstin woke up and said I looked like “Little Lord Fonteroy” eating by breakfast . lol.
(Anyone say “leg-room”? - and that’s not a video game in front, they have a “nose cam” so you can watch the take off and landing from the pilot’s perspective – you can also watch a “belly cam” that looks straight down – so I had K’s screen set to that so I could watch both!)
Really totally amazing service, and both have our bags stuffed with freebies lol. I looked up the listed 1st class price for our tickets, on the same site as we got our “lucky ones”, and they come in at $12,000 – Each! depending on the time and date. You can do it for as "little" at $3500 each if you fly odd hours.
Well, now we’ll have to get used to slumming it again. After whisking through Jo’Berg airport…..
(Welcome to South Africa)
We boarded out last 2 hour flight to Cape Town. This bit is economy – we assume because the 1st 2 flights were Emirates, but this one is South African Air. I’m typing from our tiny seat now. My bladder is full, babies are crying, my knees are in the spine of the guy in front, and I turned down the meal offered. I just could not face ruining the memories just yet!.
(Just a bit of a contrast…)
Very smug and content, looking forward to arriving in our hotel in Cape Town and then starting our African adventure.