Today was the day. About a 6:30am alarm, needed as much as a kid needs a wake-up on Christmas morning, went off, and NSPwife and I started getting everything ready to wake up NSPpeanut. We spent the night at NSPwife’s parents’ house in northern Virginia, making the easy 20-minute drive from their house to IAD:
I packed majestically. You literally could have fit everything I packed into a backpack, with the exception of my DJI Phantom 3 drone. NSPpeanut, however, packed like she was orbiting Mars:
Yes, we were truly a disaster, and I knew we would have to rely on mini-van taxis wherever we went. Sigh.
First Class check-in was a breeze. They advised us that the plane was extremely empty, and that rather than a bassinet seat, they could give NSPpeanut and NSPbabysitter an entire 5-seat row. Awesome. The check-in agent said we did not qualify for lounge access given our ticket type (not true), but I wasn’t overly concerned, as the lounge Emirates uses in Dulles is the Air France lounge which is a member of the Priority Pass network, and we adjusted one of NSPwife’s AMEX Platinum’s authorized users for the trip to NSPbabysitter. There was no line at security, and less than ten minutes later we were all sitting in the lounge, directly across from our gate, enjoying breakfast, coffee and champagne.
It was getting close to boarding time, so we packed up our things and were about to leave the lounge. The Emirates attendant mentioned that we weren’t boarding yet, so I asked her if she could confirm that the entire row was still available. I handed her all four boarding passes, at which point she looked incredulously at me and asked why we didn’t present our First Class tickets earlier. Apparently there is a first-class section of the lounge, albeit small, that provides better alcoholic beverages. She then showed us in there and said she would let us know when it was time to board.
We hung out for about 20 more minutes – the plane seemed to be boarding fairly late, and then we were escorted to the front of the boarding line. They let NSPwife and I head directly back to economy class to settle in NSPpeanut. There was, however, one. Major. Problem. “Bunny” was missing. We looked everywhere, and NSPwife went charging back to see if she could go into the lounge to find “Bunny,” NSPpeanut’s best friend. Emirates, of course, couldn’t let NSPwife off the plane, and the flight attendants, babysitter, all passengers in economy, and NSPparents were going to have to face the soon to be presented wrath…but more on that soon.
30 minutes later, NSPpeanut wasn’t happy when we left her, but the 2006 Dom wasn’t going to drink itself. I settled into the First Class suite, ordered my champagne, and explored the suite.
Pure bliss. Delicious, bubbly, bliss. Emirates A380 planes have phones in all seats, and you can call each seat. PERFECT. NSPwife could check-in whenever she wanted, without even having to get up!
Take-off was the smoothest I’ve ever experienced. As opposed to the Boeing 747, which feels like it is fighting every bit of God’s intended gravity to launch towards the heavens, the Airbus A380 seemed to lift its wheels off the ground at about 50 MPG and just glide up on angels’ wings. A very cool, and unique, experience.
I decided on Caviar (of course) for my first dish with a filet for my main course, and they offered a very good amuse bouche:
NSPwife and I stopped at the bar for a drink:
We then headed down to say hello to the baby…a big mistake. It would set off a terror unknown to mankind. So bad that the attendants asked if NSPbabysitter could take her up to the Business Class bar to hang out with us, and maybe that would calm her down. Done.
We hung out upstairs for quite some time.
And then decided it was time to take a nap. I woke up about 1.5 hours later only to find NSPpeanut inside the suite with NSPwife.
Uh oh. This wasn’t good. The look NSPwife gave me could have killed. NSPpeanut was not welcome on the plane. And nothing could soothe her. She wanted Bunny, and if she couldn’t have him, there would be hell to pay. While she was fairly subdued in the suite, the Purser asked us to take her back down to economy. We did, but I had to head up for my shower. NSPwife wanted to cancel hers.
The shower was unreal. A heated floor. Running water with great water pressure. The five minutes of water was plenty…in fact I finished washing up in about two minutes, and then just relaxed until the water ran out.
I convinced NSPwife to go take a shower. While I was sitting on the floor. Of economy. Trying everything in the world to have NSPpeanut stop screaming.
With about an hour to go, NSPwife and I moved back upstairs. The NSPpeanut had simmered down, slightly. I had a quick “breakfast” – which was fairly good, although not great, and relaxed until we landed. I will say, however, that the cappuccino was delicious:
Upon landing, they gave us an extra fast track immigration voucher for NSPbabysitter, so we could get NSPpeanut out of public as soon as possible:
Overall, I can’t speak more highly of the flight attendants. From the ones in economy trying to help in every possible way, to the business class “bartenders,” service was phenomenal. While the First Class attendants weren’t quite as attentive as Cathay Pacific, and the food quality not quite up to the level of Etihad (with an executive chef on the plane), the service really made the flight stand out. We were looking forward to another A380 experience in 50 hours on our way to Mauritius.