Quality flying

DEL-DXB-IAH/SFO-DXB-DEL - Dubai's Emirates is one of the best when it comes to quality and services
Quality flying

You know you&rsquore in good hands when your driver doesn&rsquot have to drive down to the airport to drop you off. No, Emirates send around a Mercedes, at their expense, when you fly beyond the business class curtain. It&rsquos a Boeing-777 on the short Delhi-Dubai sector as well, so even though the business class section is large, there&rsquos no line at check-in. The Emirates lounge at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is its own and well-managed, and I&rsquom in a pretty mellow mood by the time I board. A glass or two of champagne and a movie and a bit of a snack later, I&rsquom in Dubai. So far, so good, but the real test is to come. Houston, that fair and oily city in South Texas in the US, is a full sixteen-and-a-half hours away. Now that&rsquos a test.

Emirates pass with flying colours. Everything you&rsquove heard about the airline is true. From the friendly and quick service, the fantastic food, the super entertainment system&mdashmy neighbour watched only Salman Khan movies, and she claimed she still had options after we landed&mdashto the real effort they make in their lounges it all adds up to money well-spent, if what you&rsquore looking for is a comfy transfer and the chance to arrive at the other side of the world feeling reasonably alive. Their fleet is young and on these sectors, I flew my favourite plane, the 777 (I haven&rsquot yet flown an A380). The attendants are uniformly nice and attentive and keep the booze and food flowing and, if you&rsquore tired yet unable to sleep, will gamely try to chat as well. On the way back, in San Francisco, they surprised us with a lounge that actually gave on to the gate you finish your drink and snack, nod pleasantly at the smiling attendant, and wander past the sullenly queuing hordes straight on to the plane.

Were there any glitches Sure. The lounge at their home base, Dubai, can be a bit of a zoo, depending on the time you get there. The good news is that they&rsquore alive to it and renovations are underway. The beds are not flat, of the sort you may be used to from British Airways, for example rather, they are lie-flat, which means that they are like supremely comfortable La-Z-Boys. At these prices, you wonder why. But I suppose I can supply the answer myself. The rest of the experience is so brilliant, it doesn&rsquot really matter. I spent eight hours of the return journey asleep. Clearly the bed wasn&rsquot an issue.

Dubai is close and familiar and the connections onward are fantastic. Their rewards programme, Skywards, is apparently a class-leader. There won&rsquot be much to regret when you&rsquore on your way back home from the airport. In a Mercedes.

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