Flight 1702: Coffee Boarding


Shiraz in Shiraz

Coffee BoardingSydney
New South Wales
19 Apr 2017

Flight 1702

EK 415 A388

Scheduled: 0600
Boarding: 0530 Gate 57 Seats 2E/F
Pushback: 0552
Takeoff: 0613 to South
Landing: 1405
Gate: 1408


As it happened, my wife didn’t seem to be terribly upset by the idea of flying First instead of Business. She took it remarkably well, which isn’t always the case for my husbandly surprises.

Emirates has all their premium seats on the upper deck of their Airbus A380s. Fourteen First Class up front, the Business cabins making up 76 seats and a bar at the rear.

Coffee Boarding

The First seats are actually tiny cabins with doors that close for privacy. There are four window seats along each side and a block of three pairs in the centre. I’d picked the middle pair of these so that we could share the experience.

“Where do I put my bag?” my wife asked, looking up at the unobstructed ceiling. No overhead lockers, you see.

“Just put it at the front,” I said. Each “cabin” has a generous floor area, and even a mini wardrobe for hanging jackets – and clothing, if you want to remove everything. Some passengers do just that. Even at full stretch, the lie-flat seat doesn’t intrude into this storage space.

Coffee, Sir?

Coffee BoardingRydges had managed to give us a room with zero coffee, there hadn’t been any lounge time, and I seized on the offer from one of the flight attendants, a young lady of immaculate beauty.

“Um, white, no sugar,” I replied thoughtfully when she asked how I took it. A big mug arrived almost immediately, along with a biscotto.

This wasn’t how my research had indicated the welcome coffee was served, but I was asking no questions. Coffee was coffee.

She was back in a flash with the “proper” coffee. Arabic style in a flashy golden jug.

This was more like it, and I whipped out my camera. She smiled indulgently at me, an obvious rookie in this cabin.

She poured my coffee into a tiny cup and offered me a date.

Again I bit my lip. My research had indicated the possibility of dates in this particular cabin, and other passengers had spoken highly. I normally don’t like dates but comments such as “Yum! Like toffee,” from one reviewer persuaded me to give her offer a try.

And it was sweet. The black coffee wasn’t bitter at all. In fact, I cleared my table so rapidly, she came back for more, and I had a third cup. Uh, and a second date.


There were only three passengers in the First cabin. In fact, I only saw a literal handful of passengers on this flight, including us. When I visited the bathroom, a couple of times I saw Economy passengers waiting their turn for the facilities downstairs, gazing wistfully up at me. If I’d been thinking, I would have tossed them down a snack or a bottle of Scotch or something.

Coffee BoardingA young man stopped by my seat, in between rounds of coffee, and proffered a bag. “I’ve taken the liberty of selecting a pyjama size for you, but if it doesn’t suit, just call.”

Extra-Large. Humph. As it happened the sleeves were too long. Isn’t it strange in clothing sizes how if you put on a bit of extra weight, your arms grow longer?

The PJs came in their own package. A felted woollen bag with a button closure. Just right for a laptop.

There was also a pair of slippers, an eye mask, and an amenity kit in a leather case. More on that later.

I could also take a writing kit, a cosmetics kit (in its own little compartment with an illuminated and mirrored lid), a basket of snacks, and a row of (non-alcoholic) drinks, the last in another illuminated pop-up compartment.

In fact, the whole seat was way over the top. Apart from the grey of the seat itself, the “cabin” was decorated in faux burl wood with gold trim. There were little compartments for this and that everywhere, buttons and switches. Three different ways of controlling the huge entertainment screen.

A second chance in First

Second FirstOn boarding, I’d snaffled a newspaper from the rack on the airbridge. The Australian, which I’m no longer able to read at home due to my wife making sounds of outrage and dismay when she reads the political reports.

When I finally had the leisure to relax and read it, I was outraged and dismayed to find it was yesterday’s edition. A black mark, Emirates!

Then I considered. Yesterday’s edition also held a fresh copy of the Sudoku puzzle I’d attempted and failed. And there was a pen in the writing kit if I pressed the right button.

As it happened, the coffee must have sharpened my wits. I got it out. That’s a win.


Coffee Boarding

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