The Emirates A380 is one of the most popular airplanes due to the technology involved and the sheer number of people that it can move. Take a look into the food that they are serving as well as the bar that dispenses cocktails at 36,000 feet in the air!
The night flight from Sydney to Dubai is a very popular one mainly because it allows people to arrive in Dubai in the early morning but it also makes Europe much more accessible and I will arrive in Italy at 11am.
I make my way to the Emirates lounge at Sydney airport where I spend two hours doing work and supping. I don't want to eat too much but the spread is generous and lavish. All airline lounges are not created equal and they can really range from a few sandwiches and a bowl of fruit to the sort of spread available here. There is Moet champagne if you want to start off your fight experience in style as well as a spread of dishes from hot food to cold plates.
I choose a crayfish salad with vinaigrette, a duck and pea pie and a smoked salmon potato cake. They're all very good and before I know it, the two hours is up.
The business class cabin on the A380 is large with three sections. I'm in the first section, seat 12G. The seats are in configurations or 1x2x1 and I settle in and survey my surroundings.
There is a little compartment where you can store your bag and shoes which is handy because it means that you don't have to put your bag in the overhead locker.
In the area to my left are help yourself drinks with bottles of Perrier, Pepsi, 7up and water. There's also a set of socks and a sleeping mask as well as noise cancelling headphones. There's also the console that controls the television and in flight entertainment. This can be undocked and held on your lap for easier access.
I'm already a bit tired as it's a late flight but I flick through the movies and order dinner because it isn't much of a review otherwise is it? ;) The man next to me tells the flight attendant that he doesn't want to have dinner and is going straight to sleep and he does. The crew place an extra blanket on him. They each introduce themselves to each passenger.
I wonder what I should do. Seek out entertainment, hook up to the on board wifi (it's $1 for 500mb which is a great deal) or wander off to the bar. I hook up to the wifi which is not too slow. There is a lag but I could still post messages to friends, snapchat and Instagram.
Then it's off to the bar. Bartender and crew Hanna is chatty and he suggests that I take a selfie at the bar. He offers me the EK hat and scarf and I get behind the bar and pose with the wine. I send the picture to Mr NQN. I order a Kir Royale and sip it in the bar. It's a popular place and on the way to the bathrooms so everyone gets to have a look at it. There's a bout of turbulence so we take a seat at one of the bar seats and clip our seatbelts.
By this time I'm thinking about food. Did you know that in the air, 30% of our taste buds are numbed? That's because the main senses affected in the air are salty and sweet due to the plane's cabin is kept at such a low humidity (around 10%) for safety reasons. This means saliva is more viscous and can't do its normal job of dissolving food over the tongue.
While sweet and salty flavours are flattened, sour, bitter and spicy flavours are enhanced. This is why curries and spicy food and Virgin or Bloody Mary drinks taste so good on a plane. To add to this sensory discombobulation, air also escapes the sinuses during this low air pressure so that our sense of smell isn't as efficient.
By now it's about midnight when dinner is served. I could have a 5 course meal but given how much I had at the lounge I go with a salad and a comfort meal-the chicken schnitzel sandwich (other meals are braised lamb shoulder, Thai green prawn curry or chicken biryani).
It's actually from the menu of partner airline Qantas by chef Neil Perry. His steak sandwich is apparently one of the most popular meals in business class. The schnitzel has melted Swiss cheese and is on soft ciabatta bread. The bread is a little thick for the filling and the best thing to do is add the creamy coleslaw inside the sandwich. But it's a good offering.
If I were really trying to be healthy I would have ordered the fruit salad on offer for dessert but instead I go the other way and order the chocolate and caramel dome,a half orb with a soft caramel chocolate mousse centre and a chocolate coating.
I chew on some melatonin tablets, knowing that sleep will come easily to me with these and then recline the bed completely. They will also make your bed with a mattress if you ask but I was so tired that I didn't ask. Those that are still peckish during the night can choose from light snacks like smoked chicken panini with potato salad, wagyu beef pie, spinach ricotta roll or chicken alfredo followed by a guanduja chocolate brownie with chocolate mousse and orange salad. Or they can help themselves to the food at the bar that consists of mini bagels, sandwiches, tarts, olives and crackers.
Nine hours later, I wake up when a neighbour turns on his light and queries breakfast and the aroma of savoury sausages and eggs starts to permeate the cabin. There are four choices for breakfast: two savoury and one sweet and a Continental cold plate. I like the sound of the gingerbread French toast with raspberry compote, diced apples and a gorgeous lemon butter.
This is delicious and the fruit salad that comes with it is sweet. The croissant is cold and they bring around a basket of hot pastries offering them to passengers. The orange juice is a good one with pulp and they bring around tea and coffee.
I get ready in the bathroom and change out of my pyjamas spending the next hour watching Silicon Valley before it's time for the next leg: exploring the $11 million revamped Emirates Dubai lounge and the six hour flight from Dubai to Bologna-stay tuned Dear Reader!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you feel that your sense of taste is affected in the air? Are there some things that you enjoy more on a plane?
NQN was upgraded by Emirates from a purchased ticket but all opinions remain her own.
Emirates flies from Australia to Dubai 11 times a day, including seven daily flights on Emirates flagship A380 aircraft. For more information or bookings visit www.emirates.com/au.