The Journey Begins

Our journey through Spain begins with our flights from Brisbane to Barcelona. In preparing for this trip we decided that we really wanted to fly on an Airbus A380, mostly because we hadn’t done this before.

We were using our Qantas Frequent Flyer points for our flights and as we wanted to fly Business class, we were a little short on options so we ended up having to book flights out of Sydney. This wasn’t an ideal option, but to take the A380 we didn’t really have much choice.

Much to our disappointment, the plane we were booked in was changed to a Boeing 777 which we could have easily taken out of Brisbane in the first place.

Less than a week before our scheduled departure there was a sudden plane change out of Brisbane which saw the 777 changed to an A380. The excitement in Kath’s eyes was off the chart as it appeared there were Business Class rewards seats available!

Kath rang through to Qantas only to find out she was blinded by excitement and that only First Class seats were available. First Class you say…

After a little deliberation, we decided that we’d put in the additional points and not only change our flight so that we were flying out of Brisbane, but we also upgraded to First Class all the way through to Barcelona.

This may seem a little extravagant but they’re only points and this is a once in a lifetime bucket list kind of thing.

Needless to say, we were pretty excited and busting to get on our way. We confirmed our chauffeur drive collection and soon enough the big day had arrived.

Our driver collected us 15 minutes before our scheduled pick up time which suited us fine as you can never be at the airport too early in our opinion.

We arrived about 30 minutes before check-in opened so we stopped in for a pre-flight drink, before checking in through the dedicated First Class desk and made our way to the Emirates Business Lounge which offers direct access to the A380 via a dedicated boarding aerobridge.

The lounge is very nice, indeed much nicer and roomier than the Qantas lounge, which is also nice, but Emirates take it to another level with quality fittings. The drink selection is also very nice as is the dining and we enjoyed a pre-flight champagne and a couple of small bites. We didn’t want to fill up knowing we had the First Class service to look forward to.

Boarding was a quick process and we were escorted to our seats, 2E and 2F. Very much at the pointy end! We were immediately offered some champagne which we graciously accepted. Moet was on offer while on the ground, however as soon as the cabin doors close, Dom Pérignon is available. On offer was a 2009 vintage which was very well received.

Our cabin suites were very spacious and I’ve never before imagined I could have this much leg room available on a plane! There is an enormous screen as well as a smaller screen that controls the entertainment as well as the chair, lights and the door! Yes, there is a door. There is a writing kit, and just to take things to the slightly ridiculous level, there is an automated popup bar that appears and disappears at the press of a button.

Emirates offer an al-la-crate service when it comes to dining in First Class so we were able to place our order and dine whenever we liked throughout the flight. First Class passengers are also able to make use of the two shower spa’s in the First Class cabin which is an experience that is near impossible to describe.

Dinner consisted of the Emirates signature caviar entree for both of us, which was a culinary delight, and went especially well with the Dom Pérignon. Following this, I had the Chicken Ceaser and Kath had the Roast Chichen with cauliflower puree and seasonal vegetables. Mains were taken with a glass of French red wine exclusive to the First Class cabin.

After dinner, we both had our shower and changed into our moisturising PJ’s supplied as part of the opulent amenities tote bag. The tote bag also included the amenities kit and slippers. There were no socks however which was slightly disappointing. We requested some and they were brought up from Business Class.

Before bed, we decided to visit the bar which is an exclusive feature of the Emirates A380. The bar area is available to all Business and First Class passengers and is a wonderful area for passengers to mingle and share a beverage or two.

As the French red we were drinking was only available in First Class, our steward, noticing that we visited the bar with our wine glasses, hurriedly gathered the bottle we’d been drinking and brought it to the bar and advise the bar staff that this was for us. Such amazing service, unbelievably so.

We took a few happy snaps at the bar and the staff took a couple of polaroids of us standing inside the bar. The team on board are just so accommodating.

Off to bed and Kath managed to have a good sleep where I was struggling to find a comfortable position even considering the relatively spacious lay-flat bed. We did manage to achieve some rest though and after about 5 hours we were up again and looking forward to a quick breakfast and another quick shower to wake ourselves up before landing in Dubai.

We had a 3-hour stopover in Dubai which went rather quickly as we had to transit from where we landed over to another terminal. This process was relatively seamless but did involve getting onto a train. We arrived with plenty of time and as our inbound plane actually landed a bit early.

One of the advantages of flying Emirates First Class is that you gain access to the First Class Lounge. When I say “lounge” however, it’s more like its own terminal. It stretches for 100’s of meters and includes 12 gates all allowing direct access from the lounge to the aircraft. Upon entry to the lounge, we walked towards our assigned gate, which took over 5 minutes, highlighting just how big the lounge is.

Along the way, we came across the restaurant, which serves meals for all times of the day. So you could have breakfast, lunch or dinner or anything in between.  I had some waffles with berries and Kath had a hot breakfast.

Our plane to Barcelona was slightly delayed, but not by much. Before too long we were back on board in First Class, in row 2 again but this time we’d swapped sides. This was a slightly older A380 as the control screen was smaller and a bit clunky, not that it really mattered.

On our first flight, we didn’t watch any movies at all, mainly due to the fact that the selection was actually quite old and there was nothing of interest to watch. On this flight however the entertainment had been refreshed and there were a couple of movies worth watching. Before this, however, we made use of the shower one last time and changed into our PJ’s, mainly for comfort reasons.

We had a light snack which was the Mezze platter consisting of dips, breads and an assortment of traditional local foods. This was very tasty and something we’d been wanting to enjoy leading up to the flight. Of course, this was washed down with some more champagne. Was it ok to be drinking champagne at this time of the day? Who knows, our body clocks were all messed up, we just went with it.

All good things must come to an end and so we touched down in Barcelona to begin our journey of Spain. We arrived at the airport and after a short walk and short wait at customs, we were off to collect our baggage and locate our chauffeur driver.

The drive to our hotel was around 45 minutes and we were able to check in immediately. More on Barcelona in the next post.


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