2. Emirates Lounge at SFO
3. Emirates First Class San Francisco to Dubai
4. Conrad Dubai
5. Old Dubai, Ski Dubai, and At the Top
6. Emirates Terminal B First Class Lounge at DXB
7. Emirates First Class Dubai to Mahe, Seychelles
8. Four Seasons Seychelles
9. Air Seychelles Economy Class Mahe to Praslin
10. Raffles Praslin Seychelles
11. Island Hopping – La Digue
12. Island Hopping – Praslin, Cousine, Curieuse, St. Pierre
13. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa
14. Emirates Business Class Mahe, Seychelles to Dubai
15. 7-Star Luxury at the Burj Al Arab
16. British Airways Lounge at DXB
17. Cathay Pacific Business Class Dubai to Los Angeles via Hong Kong
18. 2014 BAcon Conference in Las Vegas + Mandalay Bay Hotel
19. American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS
_______________________________Without enough Alaska Airlines miles to take us home from the Seychelles, I had to come up with another plan. After running through a bunch of scenarios, the one that made the most sense would be to purchase tickets on Emirates from the Seychelles back to Dubai, and continue on a separate Cathay Pacific ticket back to the US via Hong Kong.
As an added bonus, I had a sizable stash of Emirates Skywards miles credited from our stay at the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa that I used to upgrade us to Business Class.
Now that we were 1.5 weeks into our trip, jet lag was long gone and meant that the 8:40AM departure would be painful. The wake-up call rang at 5:30AM, followed by a knock at the door a few minutes later to collect our luggage.
At least they came with breakfast and coffee in hand. Since we’d be departing before breakfast, the hotel was nice enough to pack us a continental breakfast of pastries and yogurt to-go.
We jumped in the taxi, and drifted in and out of sleep until reaching the airport shortly after 7AM. We didn’t have the chance to explore downtown Victoria at all, but at least I was able to snap a drive-by photo of the mini-Big Ben statue.
After checking-in and passing through security, we headed upstairs to the Salon Vallee de Mai lounge where we were able to relax, and most importantly, grab a 2nd cup of coffee. There were just a handful of commercial flights leaving during this time of day the lounge was very empty.
The lounge featured plenty of seating and there was a small selection of cereals, pastries and fruits available for breakfast.
The wifi speed was surprisingly quick, but I passed the time with a different form of entertainment and enjoyed the great views of the tarmac.
About 30 minutes prior to departure, the boarding announcement came, and we joined the great migration downstairs to the gate. Our return flight to Dubai would feature the same A340-500 that we had taken down to the Seychelles, but this time we’d been demoted to Business Class.
The Business Class cabin had a very similar color scheme and style, and is configured in a 2x2x2 layout. With such a light load today there was nobody else in our row.
Upon taking our seats, initial impressions was that they were quite spacious and comfortable. However, later on into the flight as we tried to recline and sleep, we found the seats to be quite oddly-shaped and awkward. They seemed to fold up in something like a cradle that had me contorting my body in three different directions with a dip in the lower back, and then a hump around the knees. Even my wife who could find a way to fall asleep on a park bench was having trouble getting settled into these seats, so we just sat upright for most of the flight.
The IFE system? Just as hard to use as the one in First Class. Oddly, the touch-screen on these seats was better and more responsive than the ones in the First Class cabin.
It was a moot point for me anyways, since I had everything I needed on my iPad backup IFE system, and spent the next few hours with Jax Teller and the rest of the Sons of Anarchy.
About 30 minutes into the flight, the meal service started with a hot towel and drink service. Even though we had nibbled on some pastries earlier that morning, I was starving and was more than ready for a hot breakfast. I couldn’t turn down the scrambled eggs option which proved to be great.
Overall, a very good flight for our first experience with Emirates’ Business Class. However, while the seats weren’t necessarily an issue for the 4-hour flight, if these are the same ones in use on longer-haul flights then I wouldn’t say that they are competitive with the lay-flats offered by Cathay Pacific as an example.