TRIED & TESTED
On Cloud Nine
By Ambica Sachin
Friday, July 13, 2012

A ride aboard British airway’s newly furbished First Class Cabin is nothing short of a holiday on air

At 35,000 feet above the ground, it suddenly hit me. There I was with my feet up, snacking on a smoked salmon sandwich and wondering what to watch on TV when it dawned on me that I could well be doing this in my own living room. Except for the dangling in air bit. 

But that is precisely what British Airways is aiming for — a luxurious combination of comfort, style and privacy that makes you feel at home as soon as you step inside their aircraft. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Substitute the step with a snooze — and my recent seven-hour trip aboard BA’s Club World Cabin to London’s Heathrow Airport seemed more like a dream. For though the trip from Dubai to London clocks around 3,399 miles, it was over all too soon.

A far different experience from my previous trip to London — when, squeezed between an Australian mother-daughter duo, I spent much of the flight either pressed against the seat to let someone take a washroom break or handing over the cookies I had brought along as a present for my niece to my hungry co-passengers. This time around, the quick mid-week trip to London proved nothing short of a magical ride on Aladdin’s flying carpet — minus the breeze, of course.

Khaleej Times

The highly flexible seat, which boasts of the ergonomics to mould itself to a person’s individual shape, meant I could lounge comfortably to catch my favourite programme on a large screen. Alternatively, the seat could be made to go completely flat — without grunts from an irate co-passenger whose dinner you managed to upturn onto his lap because you wanted to recline your seat or a TV screen which was pushed up against your nose because the gentleman in front decided to take a snooze.

The seating is designed to retain the maximum privacy — with an electronically controlled opaque screen that shields you from nosy co-passengers wanting to peer at your reading matter over your shoulder or worse, drool all over you while they catch forty winks at your expense. And no worries about waking up to find your heels have rolled under the seat either as a storage drawer ensures your private belongings can be stowed within reach.

The flat bed combined with a generous English breakfast encompassing a selection of breads and cold cuts ensured I got off the flight in a cheery mood despite the early hour.

Premium class

If you are planning a trip to UK this summer — to either escape the UAE heat or be part of the Olympic festivities — BA First class fare from Dubai to London starts from Dh28,830.

The return aboard BA’s First class Cabin was nothing short of a luxurious holiday in itself too. Launched in 2010, with an eye-popping £100 million price tag attached to it, the cabin combines sleek luxury with classic British service — and designed to ensure you don’t have to interact with any of your co-passengers unless you want to. So it feels more like flying in your own private air space.

The service here is more intuitive than overzealous so unlike other airlines, you might not find a steward hovering around you all the time. The downside is it might take some time before someone notices you poking around for that elusive button to lower your seat. Following a hearty dinner of fish in lemon sauce, we tucked into our cosy cabin and were whisked back to Dubai on a trip that can only be described as pure bliss.

ambica@khaleejtimes.com

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