Most people probably stay the night in town after their marathon. I may have done that once. It’s not because I dislike the cities or anything like that, it is normally because I am alone and I want to get back home. This trip was no different! In fact, in addition to wanting to get home, I was actually a little excited about leaving Dubai because of the different airport/flight experiences I was to have – starting with Emirates First Class Lounge!
Leaving the Hotel
After the race, I found a cab quickly and got back to the hotel. Since my race time was a lot slower than I had imagined, I knew I was going to have to hurry so as not to meet my chauffer that was being sent to take me to the airport. 🙂
I quickly showered and threw my things in my bag and went downstairs to wait for my ride. I walked outside and right on time was my Emirates Airlines ride – a chauffer-driven Mercedes. This is one of the perks of flying Emirates – in many of the cities they serve, they will pick you up from the airport and take you to the airport in one of their luxury automobiles. Sure, I could have taken a cab back to the airport, but with such complimentary door-to-door service from the airline, who am I to refuse something like this!
The chauffer and I had some great conversation on the short ride to the airport. I love to talk to people in foreign countries and the theme I found in my short time in Dubai was that most of the people doing service work come from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc. These people are really paid a very small salary and the rest is on tips. Even though they are making so little, they would rather live here because it is a better living then they could make in their home country. Most of them live alone because they cannot afford to have a family. They work 6 days a week, 12 hours a day at their respective jobs. In Dubai, they are only allowed to have one job, so they work at it as much as they possibly can to get the money they need. It was kind of sad to hear of these conditions but I found all of them to be kind people. Just keep this in mind should you visit Dubai and bring some tip money for these workers – they appreciate it!
When we arrived at the airport, I was let off at the Emirates Terminal – Terminal 3. The terminal was very wide open and very few people in line as this is specifically for Emirates passengers. Remember, this airport is the largest (square footage) building in the world, so I was expecting it to look empty even when it wasn’t. Check-in was fast and I was on my way to the Emirates First Class Lounge which I had heard so many things about.
Emirates First Class Lounge
When I went up the escalator, I approached the desk for the lounges. I was directed to go through one door and up again. When I came out on the floor, I was shocked at the size of the “lounge”. It was actually like an entire airport terminal! In fact, it is bigger than my entire home airport! What is really cool about this lounge is that it is only for first class passengers flying with Emirates so there will never be that many people in this lounge, even though it could easily hold hundreds of people.
I walked in and made my way to one of the food areas. There were many shops, sitting areas, food and drink areas throughout the lounge and I thought I would just take my time and take it all in. When I sat down in the food area, a waiter approached and asked if I would like something to eat or drink. I was a little hungry after finishing the race and told him that would be great. He told me what was available at the counter (some small snacks and such) and brought me a menu. Pretty incredible offerings for an airline lounge! Unfortunately, by this time, I was so hungry I just placed my order without taking a picture of the menu so I can’t tell you all that they had to offer. I just know what I ordered was great!
It had to be one of the best, if not the best, post-marathon meals I had every enjoyed! They offered desert after, but I was feeling quite full after this fantastic meal and passed on it.
The experience in this lounge was so unique because they serve so few people. All of the staff that I met knew my name and which flight I would be on. So, when I went to get up to go to the bathroom after the meal, the server rushed up to see if I needed something. I told him, no, I would be right back and went to take my backpack. He insisted that I leave it there. He said there is no problem leaving luggage anywhere around that I choose so that I do not have to drag it with me. I felt a little funny about it but he was so insistent to look out for my comfort I felt bad about telling him no and left it. First time I have ever been able to leave a bag in the airport unattended without fear of it being blown up on the sidewalk by security forces!
Below are some of the photos from the Emirates first class lounge from Emirates.
Inside Emirates First Class Lounge is their Timeless Spa which was also complimentary. I am not a big spa person, so I passed on that. But it was nice to know that this is available for people as well. Inside there, they provide beauty treatments, massage therapies, and hairstyling services. Pretty nice option!
After I was done at the food area, I started to walk around a little more to take everything in. If my foot had not been in such bad shape, I would have done a lot more exploring than I did. As it was, I missed their tremendous buffet (too full for more food, but would have like to get the photos!).
After a while, I heard the call in the distance for boarding of my Emirates flight to Paris. I got up to walk toward the boarding area and was stopped by one of the staff members who told me that I didn’t board yet. They said to sit down and they would come get me and escort me to the gate when it was time. That sounded okay to me!
A short time later, as promised, the staff member came back to escort me over and scan my ticket. From there, we got on an elevator to take us down to the 2nd floor (we were on the 4th) to the boarding area. We were met on the 3rd floor by the business class customers and then got off to walk to the plane. Because it was an Airbus A380, there were two levels for boarding, First Class being on the upper level. This was going to be my first time on the A380 and I was looking forward to it, as well as possibly being as excited as I have ever been about taking a shower! 🙂