Footsteps in Sri Lanka…the journey there…

I thought this day would never come. The year has drawn to a manic close, and in typical client fashion, everything must be completed before the close of business for this year, not to forget that the Mayans have predicted that the world will end on 21st December 2012, God forbid. Note to self: if the world doesn’t end, we must visit this pyramid that has the world’s population so enthralled…

But I digress…our footsteps this year are taking us to the lush, green, jewel shaped country of Sri Lanka, the beautiful country that looks like a jewelled emerald earring, hanging off the earlobe of the southern tip of India.

The clink of the champagne glass aboard Emirates EK 720 to Dubai is our toast to a fabulous year of hard work, clients pleased, targets met and legal history made, and now our time for some well deserved RNR. It is my first flight aboard Emirates Business Class, and having flown Virgin’s Upper Class a couple of months ago to London, I cannot help but compare this flight with the one earlier, especially as M is a well seasoned Emirates Business traveller and kept raving about the service, and the cheese platter!!

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Sadly, the JKIA “first class lounge” is nothing like I imagined it to be, and I cannot for the life of me understand why people enjoy “checking in” to this lounge on Facebook. Oh well, each to their own. We board the plane, and in the boarding area there is no special call for business and first passengers which is quite surprising. Anyway, settled into our seats, we wait for our champagne, which is served as we taxi from the gate – this means we have but a few minutes to clink glasses, toast to a hopefully fabulous trip and down the precious bubbly liquid before take off!

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The service in flight is fantastic, and I cannot help but feel spoilt rotten as I settle into my comfy seat, and tuck into the warmed nuts and my second glass of champers, waiting for lunch to be served. The table is laid with starched, crisp white linen, and I indulge in my prawn salad, followed by a sumptuous chicken biriyani and then a decadent chocolate cake, with a heavenly cup of tea, all served in Royal Doulton crockery, made especially for Emirates. They even have little olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, and I am well impressed.

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Finally – time for the cheese platter that M has been raving about – I cannot believe that we are 35,000 feet up in the air – check this beauty out:

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We have a four hour transit in Dubai (watch me try to cram some duty free goodies in) and we enjoy every minute of being in the Business Class Lounge in Dubai International Airport – man, this place is like a hotel!! I need a whole post just to tell you about the food – there is everything from hot food to pastries to fruit – I really missed my mum and sister’s company here – we are foodies, and we would have enjoyed this transit immensely. Well, I did enjoy everything on their behalf!

Now, the point about telling you about my flight experience is to tell you about the Dubai – Colombo leg, which is the reason we chose to fly business in the first place. The connecting flight to Colombo leaves at the ungodly hour of 2.35 am, and we land in Colombo at 7 am, which means that this is a night flight, and in order to have a productive day in Colombo, we can catch some much needed zzz’s in the aircraft. Our research showed that Emirates flies their 777-300 Extended Range series aircraft to Colombo, which basically means that the business class seats turn into lie flat beds. M had experienced the night flight turn down earlier on in the year, and raved about it being brilliant. So, the thought of sleeping well in the plane, and arriving fresh in Colombo was the deal clincher for paying the extra price for a business class ticket.

We board the plane, and settle into our swanky “suites”, and knowing that we get served breakfast and not dinner, request the air hostess to turn down the seat and give us bed linen after take off. Imagine my surprise when the sourpuss (and she really was, I think it was the ungodly hour) curtly says to me that given that this is a “short haul” flight, they do not turn down and to make matters worse, they do not provide amenity kits on board!!!! I am gobsmacked. All you are given is a plastic packet with some eyeshades and socks – not even those little ear plug thingies that you would get even in economy!!! I was not impressed in the least, and I was so upset and peeved with this experience that I even wrote a whole TripAdvisor post on this flight, because this is not what I expected after paying full price for a business class ticket, because what was delivered could easily be termed premium economy service.

I feel that a disclaimer is necessary at this juncture – I do not write about my flight experience to show off in the least – rather to let you, my wonderful readers live vicariously through my experiences. Don’t get me wrong – other than the hiccups with the cutbacks that the airline is clearly making, I loved every minute of the flight to Colombo, but the point of this ramble is this: it is no secret that unless you get upgraded or pay for a business class ticket using air miles (neither of which applied to us), you do pay two and a half times the price of an economy class ticket. And having been in the “paid for it ourselves category”, the honest truth is, that pampering aside, this is a tad bit overpriced and if I could do this leg again, I would choose to fly economy and buy my coveted baby pink Lady Dior handbag and a couple of pairs of Loubeauties with the extra money instead.

So, the decision has been made – for any trips that are classified as “short haul”, we shall be flying economy, and buying me shoes and handbags instead.

Always looking for positivity though – we did get our first taste of Sri Lankan rice and curry, served as breakfast before our arrival into Colombo. And boy, was it spicy! I cannot wait to tell you all about our adventures in this beautiful country, I am so excited to be sharing this with all of you…please do read on!!

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