While I'm mostly a fairly frugal traveler, I do believe there's times one should pamper oneself a little. Taking a taxi instead of the metro, enjoying a fine meal, good tickets to a play or musical -- you get the idea. It doesn't mean you don't try to get value for your money, but life is to be enjoyed.
As a rule, I just can't justify the cost of business class travel, which is generally 3 - 8x the cost of an economy class seat. As a fellow traveler once observed, "they get to where we're going about 2 minutes faster than I do...I can wait those extra two minutes". But when an opportunity presented itself to fly Emirates Business Class from Dubai to Colombo recently, I had to take advantage of it because I'd heard so much about Emirates air and wanted to experience it firsthand. Plus the price was too darned good to pass up. It was about US$700 (purchased when the airline had a seat sale) for round trip airfare comprising 8 hours of flying (4 hours each way).
Emirates flies two main planes on its international routes, the huge Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777. My planes would be the latter, an aircraft equipped with Economy, Business and First Class cabins.
What was the travel experience like? It was wonderful, including these perks:
1) Free trip from my hotel in Dubai to the airport and back again in an Emirates limo (okay, it was a Mercedes sedan, not the stretch type, but still very comfortable). Started the trip feeling like royalty and saved me a pretty penny (around US$60 RT in cab-fare, even factoring in the cost of a generous tip to my limo drivers).
2) Express check-in with larger cabin and check-in baggage allowance. The check-in baggage weight was important because I was going to be bringing back a lot of tea and small gifts from Sri Lanka, which can be heavy.
3) Free access to the best airport lounge I've ever experienced. Extremely bright and spacious, gourmet finger food, a Costa Coffee kiosk (free), showers, lots of publications, and plenty of room in which to relax and unwind. Even the Emirates lounge in the relatively small airport in Colombo was classy and a nice place to wait for my return flight.
(Dubai Business class lounge)
4) Priority boarding, with a massive comfortable seat (that fully reclines into a bed if you want), huge (probably 25 inch) television screen, noise reduction headphones. I felt like I was sitting in a La-Z-boy recliner, not an airline seat.
5) Wonderful gourmet quality meal, dessert and wine. Several high quality meal selections each flight and all the beverages of all types you want. Here's some photos of what I enjoyed on the two legs of my flight, both being lamb dishes, one roasted lamb and the other a curry...
...with two wonderful desserts. The black forest cake was exceptionally good.
6) Superb, genuinely concerned service from a top notch international flight crew. I lost count of how many times they asked if there was anything they could do to make my trip more comfortable (answer -- no). At the end of the flight the cabin service director came by and asked for specifics on the flight experience. When was the last time you dealt with an airline that cared that much?
I want to thank Emirates for a marvelous flight experience! I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and have to admit that it was terrific dealing with an airline which cared that I enjoyed traveling with them. So different than what I've gotten used to flying in North America.
Given the right opportunity, I'll be happy to fly Emirates again.