Great escape from Dubai: work turns into pleasure at 35,000ft with Emirates

Frank Kane heads home for Christmas, along with tens of thousands of others at Dubai International Airport.

Powered by automated translation

This is a first for me. A “Notebook” composed, keyed and transmitted while aboard an Emirates flight from Dubai to London. So I am a technological genius after all – with a little help from the Airbus A380 of course.

Hold on a moment. The lovely stewardess Dee – from Bulgaria by way of Dublin – has just offered me a hot towel. I need that after a very early start on EK1, the first Emirates flight out of the Dubai Internatinal Airport at 7.45am. I must admit I approached this flight with some trepidation, and not just because of the early check in. Emirates officially classified last Friday as its busiest this year, with 80,000 passengers travelling out of Terminal 3.

But I thought that a few days nearer to the holiday might be even busier. The thought of early morning chaos at T3 was disconcerting, but my fears were groundless, very smooth indeed getting through. Any residual anxiety evaporated immediately I heard the words: “Mr Kane, you have been upgraded to business class.” Those lovely Emirates people.

Excuse me. I must have dozed off in the short time we were asked not to use electronic devices while the plane was taxiing for take-off. All electronics are back on again now. But I will continue after I have had some breakfast. Quite peckish after my early start. Light, but satisfying breakfast, and watched the first hour or so of Bridge of Spies, the Hollywood movie directed by Steven Spielberg. Tom Hanks, the lead actor who reprises his accomplished role as the liberal Yank with a conscience, is probably my favourite actor, and a reminder that Donald Trump is not at all representative of the United States.

Surprisingly, one of Mr Trump’s books – Never Enough (a vulgar guide to getting rich) – was on sale in the DXB duty free bookshop. I would have thought we would all have had enough of him by now. But most bookshops in Dubai disappoint me. The selection at DXB is predictable. Apart from Mr Trump, there is a huge display given over to Richard Branson’s The Virgin Way, while fiction was dominated by slabs of the Booker winner Marlon James with A Brief History of Seven Killings.

For one of the busiest days of the year, trade was surprisingly light at the bookshop. In stark contrast to the nearby Rolex and Vertu counters, where many people had obviously decided on upmarket festive presents.

Now I am going to watch the end of Bridge of Spies and then study the lunch menu. Always one of the great anticipatory pleasures of business-class travel.

It is a clear day over the snow covered Caucuses and eastern shores of the Black Sea, and you can clearly make out the Turkish city of Trabzon. The flight path on the cabin displays show we are not routed over Ukraine, and significantly we never touched Iraqi or Syrian airspace.

A perfect drink while I ponder the lunch menu. Dee – the poor girl is working over the holiday period on the London-Dubai-Singapore route – advises the chicken schnitzel sandwich, the speciality from Emirates’ partner Qantas. After the expert way she mixed the aperitif, I am going to take her advice. The sandwich was just right for an early light lunch, and now I am going to settle down to watch another movie. Lots of choice, but probably the Bill Bryson film about his Walk in the Woods. I would not mind some sport, but it is all Arsenal.

We are in London in two hours or so. Just enough time for a snooze.


Follow The National's Business section on Twitter