Our awesome flight on the A380 had come to an end, and we got off the plain and made our way towards our connection to the Maldives. As familiar readers are aware, I am quite into finding all the different ways to get to the Maldives with miles and points, and this routing with a sub two hour connection in Dubai is definitely one of the quickest if not the quickest way to get there. Which is great because we were feeling pretty tired now – it was about 7am local time but more like late evening on our body clocks.
We headed down towards our connecting gate and figured we would use whichever lounge was closest by to wait in. Fortunately there was a lounge just a few gates away, and after walking a good 15-20 minutes we got there:
It was quite a walk and the thing that struck me while doing that walk is the huge array of destinations Emirates serve. We saw flights to all kinds of places in all corners of the globe. These guys are really going for world domination. Everything from the big centers to Newcastle, Venice, Lyon, Cyprus, all over.
Anyway inside this particular lounge was nothing too special. There was a smoking area upstairs and the smell was coming down pretty strongly, but we were only there for 10-15 minutes just enough time to use the rest room, sit down to catch up on emails and get going again.
We left and went to our gate and we were actually seemingly running a little late on time. When we got to the gate it was a bit odd as they were saying “last call” but everyone was still sat at the gate. We were ushered straight through and walked down stairs and it became apparent it was a remote gate. This is where the fun really started. And I mean it – we laughed a lot on this bit of the trip. We got to the doors and the GA handling the door looked at our passes, saw First Class, and told us to sit down. So sat down we did. And sat and watched the whole of coach getting loaded on to one bus….
We kind of felt like we were put in the naughty spot and had to wait until everyone else had gone before we were allowed to do anything 🙂 Eventually we were called and lo and behold there was a whole bus waiting for us. Forget about Porsche or Mercedes transfers – we had our own First Class bus!!! And it was AWESOME:
It was just my wife and I on the bus… confirming my hope and suspicion that we were the only two First Class passengers for the flight. I loved the bus, it was so gaudy and pimped out. Emirates just do this bling thing so well! Now I was a little surprised by the bus journey itself… at some point I started wondering if we were actually driving all the way to the Maldives. It must have taken at least 15 minutes to get to our jet, and we must have passed a thousand planes, of which 997 were Emirates along with a couple of BA and a Virgin jet. But eventually we got to our 777 and got dropped off at the base of the stairs leading straight into the front of the F cabin. We were warmly welcomed on board again, this time with a British purser. He confirmed we were the only passengers so while we were seated in 2A and 2B he said we were welcome to sit wherever we wanted. I decided to get some snaps of the cabin. This is the old, non-suite First Class product from Emirates. So while we had just come off of their flagship A380 product this is their “worst” F product. But it was very, very adequate for our relatively short four flight to Male.
We were offered some Arabic coffee as a pre-departure drink and gladly accepted, along with some water. The Arabic coffee on Emirates is nothing short of fabulous and pairs perfectly with the dates they offer with it.
After a lengthy trek along the runway we were up in the air and en route. We had already been told we could eat whenever we wished and we asked to eat right away. We were getting kinda tired and figured it would be good to eat and then just relax for the rest of the flight. So off we go again…!!!
To start of course we got back on the Dom Perignon
I started off this meal with the Arabic Mezze, which always seems a good theory but I find I only tend to like a few items, the rest being a bit of an Arabic mess:
Yeah service is on a tray on this product… no big deal. I think of this as their “regional” First Class product which is more akin to a really good long haul business class product. Anyway for main course I took a “Gulf style prawn machbous” which was a nice way of saying a nice prawn rice dish with flavorful Arabic spice:
The food was ok, and I washed down the Machbous with some more Dom as the wine choices were not so exciting on this leg. But frankly at this point I was getting pretty tired and passed on desert and put the seat into flat mode. I am not sure if they offer any kind of turn down service but I was just fading at this point and just wanted to lie down.
I did grab another pillow from the empty seat across the aisle and put my head down and basically passed out. I woke up a couple of hours later when we were close to Male and one of the flight attendants had put a blanket over me, which was a nice touch. I really found the service very nice on Emirates, not as over the top smothering as Singapore Airilnes but much more warm and enjoyable than the more staid Etihad or Cathay.
Anyway we were approaching Male and so I switched into seat 1A (from 2B next to my wife) so that we could both have window seats for the scenic descent. I was actually quite excited as on all our prior trips we had arrived in the darkness of night, so this was my first chance to see the atoll’s on approach.
It actually made me think as we came in quite close to some of the resort near Male how noisy they must be now. Only two or three years ago there was nowhere near as many flights coming in internationally, and that growth is set to continue further. So I would think about that if you ever plan on staying at any of the resorts in Male atoll.
On landing the plane takes the whole length of the runway to slow down and then turns round and taxies back to the gate. Some nice sights along the way
There are no real gates, they were building a new international terminal but I read that hit some political problems. So all the planes just park off the runway and the airstairs come out for you. However this is the first time I have ever seen the airstairs coming out knowing they are JUST for me and my wife!!!
We were greeted at the bottom of the stairs and walked to the terminal, and looking back I see they did not let anyone else off the plane until we were there. They sure like to stroke the egos LOL. En route there is some cool plane spotting to be done
And so we had arrived, our fastest ever trip to Male. Our prior trips involved crazy routings through Asia and I have got to say getting there this “quickly” was awesome. I know sometimes it’s fun to be in the sky enjoying first class for a few days but frankly this was just the right balance between plane geek fun and actually getting to where we wanted to be. In the future I will have this at the forefront of my choices when looking at getting to the Maldives.
The Emirates First Class product is technically one of only two ways to get to Male in First Class, the other being Korean Air’s flight which actually stops in Colombo en route from Seoul. But in all honesty it is more of a high end business class product. Don’t get me wrong, very enjoyable and perfectly adequate for a route of this distance, but I would say once Cathay starts service with it’s A330 with the new business class product I think that will be the most luxurious way to get into the Maldives. But with that said I would recommend Emirates to anyone in a heartbeat. Great trip!
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