Business and First Class Lounge Series: Emirates LAX

First, I want to talk about why I am doing this new series. As you can see in past articles I traveled to India for a month with family and flew Emirates. It was my first time flying internationally in business class and lets just that that when you get a taste you never want to go back to economy class. I wasn’t set up to vlog at the time of my trip and wanted to focus on enjoying my trip as much as possible without needing to focus on cameras and editing 24/7. When I take my next long haul trip I do plan on bringing you along for the ride but until that day I would like to just share with you my thoughts on different lounges from around the world . Let’s get started shall we?

Business Class LAX

The lounge at LAX has a nice range of foods that range from hamburgers to more traditional Arabian and Emirati foods. The bar was quite packed with a wide selection of drinks to choose from. As you can see in the video the lounge is broken up into an “inside/outside” feel with the outside overlooking the international terminal (Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX) and the inside which is quieter and away from view of the gates. The lounge does have showers which I would have used had we had a few extra minutes to spare before boarding the incredible Airbus A380.  I enjoyed the quick snack we had before boarding the plane.  I was careful not to fill up in anticipation of  the tasty meals I heard were served by Emirates on the A380. We were fortunate enough to be there while it wasn’t crowded or noisy so I could give a quick tour with family on Facetime.

Overall, the service in the lounge was excellent. Next week I plan to talk about the lounge in Dubai as we had a chance to check out both of the lounges in the different terminals.

Emirates: Airbus A380-800 & Boeing 777-200 Review

These Business Class tickets were purchased through a travel agent and I received no compensation in any form for this review.

I have reviewed Southwest Airlines as a domestic airline and since I flew Emirates to India and Dubai I thought it was time to review an International Airline.

We flew business class, since my grandfather, who has flown all over the world, prefers to be comfortable on long flights. Since I have back problems this made for a very pleasant flight.

Emirates A380

The Car Service

We were picked up in a Lincoln MKT Town car and taken from my grandfather’s home in California to LAX and home again at the end.

It is a nice added feature to be picked up and dropped off when you travel with Emirates. They also took us to the hotel in Dubai and back again. Just one more detail that we didn’t have to worry about.

Limo from Emirates

Lounges

There is something peaceful about going through airport security and then heading straight for the business class lounge. Sitting there for an hour eating and drinking before a long flight really helps melt the stress. It is nice not having to deal with the crowds when in the international terminals. Emirates Lounge

You have to admit having comfortable chairs, great food, alcohol and free WiFi makes the wait for your flight more enjoyable.

The A380-800

The Airbus A380-800 was something I had been really looking forward to before this trip. Knowing that this plane is a double decker plane is just awesome to me. I love watching shows about planes and I have wanted to fly in one since they first came out!

I cannot talk about any other A380s from other airlines, but I can say this was the most comfortable plane I have even been on. I will be discussing the Boeing 777 in a minute. Emirates Business Class

We had the one, two, one seating configuration meaning one window, two middle and one window seat when you look across the plane from window to window. The four flights we had with Emirates we always had window seats.

The A380 had Wi-Fi 10mb for free which was enough to send a few tweets, FB posts, snapchats or texts from iMessage or WhatsApp.

They also offered 500mb for $1 USD, so you could watch YouTube or stream from your device. I just watched movies on the in-flight entertainment system.

Emirates Seat System

As you can see in the photo above, these are a few of the items that come with the business class seat

· Two USB ports

· One tablet that lets you control the [KB1] TV on the seat in front

· One remote that also acts as the game controller if you play any games on the TV

· Lay flat chair

· Two sodas and two different waters

· (Under the window) extra storage for takeoff and landing

· Free toiletry kit

· 2 meals with an offer of light snacks during the flight

· Alcoholic drinks and access to the in-flight bar

Emirates Tablet

Emirates out the window

Loading the A380, they have to use three jet ways. Two on the lower level and one for the top. As to how they are so efficient at loading a plane that can hold upwards over 600+ people in such a short amount of time baffles me!

I am not sure which version of the Emirates A380 we were on, but they have 3 sets of plane configurations. The first two planes offer the same number of business class and first class with 14 First class seats and 76 Business class. The Economy seats change from 399 seats to 472 seats all on the lower deck. The third plane offers 58 Business class seats and 557 economy seats with no first class. Part of the economy class seats are on the top deck. We never flew on this plane, so I don’t have any experience with this plane. I know our two flights had 27+ crew members working the flight, flight attendants as well as those in the cockpit.

The Lay Flat Beds

The lay flat beds were really nice. When the A380 goes into “night” time, the flight attendants bring out foam mattress and make your bed for you so you can sleep. I ended up staying awake most of my flights. I slept when I landed to help with jet lag. The beds were very comfortable and easy to fall asleep on, even for someone with back problems.

A380 Bar

Emirates Bar

Flying out to Dubai, no one used the bar. I was sitting in the seat just in front of the bar. I walked by the bar a few times to go to the bathrooms or to see what snacks they had laid out and no one was using the bar.

It was a different story on the flight from Dubai back to LAX. This bar always had at least a few people hanging out. The bar isn’t all that big and I had my back against a wall to take this photo. You can get quite a few people hanging and drinking together and have a nice little party.

Emirates Bar with party

Now I will say, Emirates, if you are going to call yourself a “bar” you should at least be able to make a whiskey sour! Since I couldn’t have a whiskey sour (and everyone in the bar agreed that it is a staple cocktail) I had to sip on my pretentious Glenfiddich Scotch, 18 Year.

On a side note: they do ask you, before takeoff, what drink you would like, then bring it to you shortly after takeoff.

The Emirates 777-200

We flew the 777 from Dubai to India and from India to Dubai. I have told this joke to a number of people but we rode in 4 Rolls Royce’s.

Emirates 777 engine

Okay so maybe we didn’t fly “in” a Rolls Royce, but they were the engines that flew us back and forth from India and Dubai.

The configurations for the two Boeing 777s seats were a Two, Three, Two set up. My grandfather and I sat next to each other. It wasn’t a bad set up, except when the flight attendant had to lean over to fix the stuck TV. It fixed itself and she almost got nailed in the chin as it popped up at the most inopportune time. SORRY!

The meals were the same as they were on the A380 since they are prepared in the same place. Delicious and tasty. They do offer bar service on the 777, but they do not have a lounge or bar in the plane. Boo hoo! This was only a four hour flight for us so, not really a “long” flight.

Emirates 777 seating

ICE: Information, Communication, Entertainment

On your TV, Emirates has access to their ICE: this is your access to your TV and gadgets. The selections you have are three on board cameras to watch while flying. You can see cameras from the tail, from under the cockpit and one under the plane aimed straight down. They also have world news and sports as well as info on the flight and location of the plane. Pretty cool to be able to track yourself across the globe.  We flew over the North Pole.

Communication wasn’t something I used or looked at. In hindsight that is something I should have looked at for the sake of the review. I know you can call from the plane and I see they have seat-to-seat messaging. Since my grandfather was next to me,behind me or in front of me by one seat I never messaged him.

Entertainment was something I enjoyed immensely! I got caught up on a few movies I had wanted to see and one movie I won’t admit to wanting to see. They have a few YouTube videos from Casey Neistat and a number of others who I didn’t know or care about. They also had some non-name-brand video games to play and TV shows.

Final Thoughts

Having car service to and from the hotel in LA and Dubai was very nice, the business class seats were comfortable, entertaining, offered great food and drinks. I loved it! I will not go as far to say they are my airline of choice just yet, as I would like to travel more on other airlines A380s.

Emirates is located out of Dubai, UAE. When you look down the line of terminals that Emirates uses, you will just see a long line of A380s and it is a beautiful sight to see.

The 777s we flew on didn’t have Wi-Fi and the TV screens and remotes weren’t clear or quick to respond.  It would have been nice to have seen an updated 777.

The flight attendants for both types of aircraft were AMAZING and always on top of everything. I am looking at you Lynn.

Emirates! You guys are awesome and I am looking forward to flying with you again soon. I plan to head back to India and plan on using Emirates to get there again!

 


Diamonds

$4.5 Million Dollar Diamond

Today was a very normal day for Grandpa and I. We held a $4.5 million dollar diamond today, like it was nothing.

I am only meeting 6 family members while I am in India.  I wish we had the time and the ability to meet more. They are truly the salt of the earth.

Tonight I am bringing a taste of my cooking to India.  I am cooking for the family, which is as it might seem to be, a hard task.  You see,  my family here are all Hindu and only eat Vegetarian. I am a red blooded American and I so love eating meat.  I don’t really cook much vegetables at all, much less “vegetarian”. On top of that, they do not use the milk of a cow.  They will use the milk of a water buffalo. We will see how dinner turns out.

Sugar Cane Juice

We have been drinking sugar cane juice since we arrived in Surat.  This is only a problem as we have gotten a taste of the good life and we don’t have sugar cane juice shops in Texas and California. This could prove to be difficult when we return to the sugar cane free lifestyle.

Tomorrow we leave for Mumbai on a train. I am not sure how I feel about that. On one hand I want to see Mumbai and continue my trip of visiting India.  Sadly, on the other hand I have home cooked Indian meals and amazing family that I am not ready to leave.

Train to Mumbai

I was unable to finish this yesterday due to timing so I am picking this up on the train to Mumbai.

Cooking and Sharing Tunes

Last night we were picked up by Uncle who took us to the market to meet up with my aunt.  Here we purchased the ingredients for dinner. I made a super simple pasta dish that I make back home. Grandpa and Uncle went to meet up with someone, so auntie and I went back to the house and cooked. This gave us an hour of time to get to know each other. I asked if she listened to music while cooking and she said she did but only when Uncle is gone. He doesn’t like that she is a stone cold rocker! *puts up the rock fist* Granted I didn’t find this out until she was listening to my iPod and started listening to 30 Seconds to Mars. This is also the woman who is training for base camp on Everest. Hardcore.

What I Miss from Home

So I am missing a few more things today, such as Dr Pepper and Fajitas. Cheese is used so differently here that am really missing that too. They say home is where the heart is, but I agree with the saying that home is where your devices connect to wifi automatically. Hotel wifi is spotty at best and trying to upload the photos is proving to be harder and harder the farther south we go.

It is curious how many people have been so intrigued by the fact that I work with firearms for a living. I figured most people would be like Americans who are afraid of firearms but is it quite the contrary. People seem to like them here a lot. Even the young ladies I have been talking with.

I guess an Indian wife might not be that bad, if I can find the right one.

Love and Marriage

Love and marriage has been a topic for the past few days between grandpa and I. We have been discussing a young lady who I fancy. It is hard for him to believe, based on the nature of the situation, that I have developed real feelings towards her. I trust him and take his counsel on a number of matters. On this, I think we have come to an impasse.

We talk about finding someone for me and that has been a running joke for the whole trip. I will say this, I leave it in Gods hands as to who I end up with. The Good Lord above has given me many people who I deeply care about, regardless of what we call them after the smoke has cleared.  I look forward to seeing what God has in store me.

Song of the day:

In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley

This has to do with a web series I have been watching for about 8 months now. I hadn’t heard the song until they started accidently singing it, not knowing it was a real song.

The ghetto back home and the poor there have nothing compared to the poor here in India. This place, although very poor isn’t a welfare country. People work for a living and don’t expect the government to handle their laziness. While they might not be pulling themselves out of poverty, they are at least working in one form or another.

Wait have you been reading this whole article just to find out about the diamonds? Sorry. I got side tracked.

So we met up with…..to be continued tomorrow……

Sugar Cane Juice and Models

(No photos, the internet in our Surat hotel is horrible and I just can’t get anything uploaded.  My apologies)

Complete Strangers, Instant Family

I am really loving seeing and meeting family from India. They are all so amazing. Last night we met with the Widow of my grandfathers childhood friend. Her daughters were there and drove a long way just to see my grandfather. We walked into the home and it wasn’t who is this stranger it was more of welcome to the family.

I have never felt more at home with complete strangers. By the end of the night they weren’t strangers, they were just part of my Indian family. As I stay here longer and longer the more family I am seemingly going home with. I like that.

Eating

I go through cycles of eating very little and eating everything in sight. About two days before boarding the plane for India, I knew I was about to start eating a lot less. Back home this really is never a problem.  I take care of myself and eat when I am hungry. Here I have started to run into the problem that when I am with family and I am not eating as much everyone is worried.  They are worried that  I am going to go hungry. The truth is,  I am just not eating that much of one thing,  but I am trying everything.

My family, god bless them, are wanting to help and find a way to fix this.  They are very concerned about my health and but I am happy and very healthy.

Signs That I am Growing Up

I have been wanting to turn on the American news stations so I can find out the news I want to hear about. Elections! Sadly Aljazeera will have to do until I get home.

The Pyro in Me

I am seeing all the fires that are set in India thinking back to my days of being a pyro. (Not really, I just liked started the campfires in Boy Scouts).  Then I smell the smoke and I miss my gas mask. Such a strange place.

The Ocean

Today we saw the ocean.  Then we met back up with my uncle who joined us in the Jungle and his family. I find it interesting that being on the other side of the world we do not have pictures of family like they do. We have albums with photos from years ago.  Here, they have  photos of my grandfather and grandmother when they visited in the 70’s posted on their wall. Kinda cool.

Today is Valentine’s day and I am without a Valentines! Not that it is a bad thing, but if anyone sees my grandpa and I, we just say I am his bodyguard 😉

India is Truly a Place Worth Visiting.

I have found that I have a place to crash any time I am in India seemingly anywhere.

Song of the day:

Polarized – Imagine Dragons

The Gir Jungle: Safari Time

The True Lion King Part 1 of 2

 

Monkey In Gir

Hello, I will be your guide today…..

Today is Thursday the 11th and I am in the Gir Jungle. Time: 1:22pm

Today I didn’t wake up feeling like P-Diddy. I woke up feeling more Kurt Cobain (post 1994). Grandpa has a cold and since we are sharing hotel rooms and really never apart, I have picked up his cold.

I Feel Another Rant Coming On

I would like to complain for a minute if I may. I was told by my grandfather that we are coming on this trip to find me a bride and yet all I have seen him do is ignore his one job. I am not bringing him on these trips anymore if he cannot even do the one thing he was charged with.

Complaint hour over.

Travel Day

So yesterday was a blow-off day. We spent the whole day flying and driving so I didn’t have much to write about. Sorry. We have internet in the room so I am able to keep publishing articles. In case some of you are wondering, I am writing the articles, uploading the photos to dropbox and having my mother upload the article to the website. That way, I am not spending my whole trip in front of a laptop waiting for things to load.

I had plans to vlog this trip, but with the speeds of the internet here, I decided I would rather not hassle with it.

Family Finally

We have met up with a family member of mine who lives in India. He is the one who planned the lion part of the trip. (Very nice man by the way).

This morning we woke up at 5 to head to the jungle. This is the best time to see if we could spot the lions in the preserve. We saw 8 lions (6 cubs and two large females), a pack of boars, a bunch of deer, a camel with the water buffalo, and a boat load of birds like peacocks.

The gentleman we met last night at dinner said they had not had any luck seeing lions, so I felt pretty lucky.

Luggage

I have been dreading this, but it is time to grow up and buy adult luggage. I have been traveling enough now that owning cheap cheap luggage is more hassle than it’s worth. Especially if you are going to be flying something like 28,000 miles in 7 weeks.

This trip has taught me that living out of a backpack and one checked suitcase works great for me. I will been in India and Dubai for almost a month and I would say in the two bags I have OVER packed.

I am really thinking about losing my skateboarders (fits a skateboard between the two pockets) backpack. I have used this for traveling for years. I think I should move over to a carry on size rolling suitcase with a small flat duffle bag that fits in an outer pocket for my new carry on.

Fortuna Audaces Iuvat (Fortune Favors the Bold)

I love this saying. I can be quite talkative in my own realm. Other times I like to be quiet and be with what I am working on. We had a second safari today that started at 330pm. Grandpa is sick and so he opted to sleep rather than join my cousin and I on our adventure.

Having no idea what animals might be active near the road, the safari started off slow but we stopped every now and then to take pictures of the deer, the trees and monkeys but hey we are here for the lions so come on!

Big Cats Ahead

After about 30 minutes we drove past a gentleman who had a big smile on his face and two thumbs up… if you have never been in the jungle that is slang for big cat ahead.

Fortune favors the bold is something that popped in my head while I was ruminating on what I was seeing in the Gir jungle. I can’t really describe why this has been part of my thoughts but it reminded me to always jump in feet first into everything you do in life.

Gir Jungle Lion

Ain’t she sweet?

Two Lion cubs in Gir Jungle

Two Lion Cubs out for a stroll

Lion Gotta Go

She is so BIG!

 

Chital Spotted Deer

Chital Spotted Deer

 

Water buffalo

Water Buffalo

Monkey 2

Monkey waiting on the side of the road for a ride?

Monkey 3

Never mind!

 

Indian Food

My family is Texan but they don’t really enjoy spicy foods. Before this trip my father and grandfather were worried about find me something to eat in India. To be honest, I think they were making Indian food out to be a bigger boogieman than it really is.

I walked into India with the goal of trying everything. Food, adventure, you name it: I want it! I would say that has paid off. I am now in love with Indian food. My cousin has shared with me that home cooked Indian meals are not as spicy as most of the places we’ve eaten at. Honestly I like the level of spice everywhere we have eaten.

Speaking of Food

I have to walk to dinner, now so I will sign off here. Well, one last thing I want to share. This is the song I am listening to right now. This has nothing to do with India or anything else, but I am in love with the song and I want to share it with you.

The Dangerous Summer – The Permanent Rain

Youtube the song if you are interested.

Lion The End

The End

LAX to Dubai and on to India (Delhi)

 

Emirates A380

The A380

Okay, my grandfather surprised me and didn’t tell me that we were flying business class to Dubai and then on to Delhi. I have flown first class once before, from Dallas to Cabo San Lucas, when I was 17. THIS WAS NOT THE SAME!

Anyone who likes or follows planes knows that the Airbus A380 is a monster. If they haven’t seen it or flown on, they know that it is a “bucket list” plane. Why?

· It holds 500 people!

· It has TWO floors!

· It requires 3 jet ways to load the plane!

A380

Okay so maybe I am just a bit excited right now, but you would be the same in my place.

The Triple 7 (777) holds 360 people so you can see the A380 is a beast and a wonderment to our ability to build planes that are bigger and more awesome.

After the flight from LA to Dubai, I am currently in the 777 flying to Delhi Airport in India and I have to say, this is an old plane. The 777 is a twenty-year-old design and it’s just not as nice as the A380.

The 777

The plane is a cigar tube with wings. If you have ever been on a flight with someone like American for non-international travel you can pretty well figure out what first and business class looks like on the 777. A wall to divide the classes and not much else. screen timeelse.

First VS Business Class?

I was texting with family while I was on the flight to Dubai. They asked what first class had that business didn’t and honestly I am not sure. I know first class has a shower but the seating pods were the same. I know they had to pay for Wi-Fi just like the rest of us but I don’t know what the difference really was. I will have to look it up at some point.

The Food

Wow, okay, so let’s talk food. I told my peeps (that is gangster for people because I’m AN OG!) when I get home I think I will be thinner. I figure due to the change in how and what I eat. After eating on the A380 I think I might become fatter. WOW! the food was amazing. Side note: I am smelling the food served on this four hour flight and I am getting hungry again for dinner. (FYI I just ate breakfast 2 hours ago on the last plane).

Breakfast

Emirates

I don’t want to give away too much in regards to my upcoming review of Emirates but I will say this… if you are taking a long haul they are worth looking into.

I understand that most people cannot afford business or first class (myself included) but trust me when I say that as someone with a bad back, I have never slept so well or been in so little pain after a flight. It is crazy. This is because the seats aren’t cramped. They are open, you have room to move around in and you can make a nice little nest for your flight.

Dinner

My Final Thoughts for Today

I have the coolest grandpa ever. We are somewhere in the sky and I am just so blessed to be on this trip. I give my thanks to God and to my grandfather because if this trip was not meant to happen God would have shown us that. The skies have been clear and we are ready to take a trip of a lifetime.

Traffic In India

Traffic outside the airport in India at 3am.  Crazy, right???

India – (Not) The Final Frontier

Stardate: 212016. Bags are like 99% packed…. I think. Just remember everyone, if we forget something on this trip, we are blaming Kevin. Sorry Kev.

I now have a will. I’m now “that guy”. While talking with a family friend he made a comment saying that after a week of India I will want to be home. I think since we aren’t staying in one location for more than 1 or 2 nights, I won’t be sitting still long enough to even think of home.

Tech Free? Not!

I am bringing my phone and laptop so I can keep in contact with family and blog/vlog. Part of me wishes I could just let everything go and just be there. No camera to take pictures, no phone to call family, no laptop to upload pictures and content.

It isn’t because I don’t want to be in touch with people. It’s that I want time that belongs solely to me and my grandfather. I know that the essence of this trip really is that, but it would be nice to just be tech free for a day or a trip.

Just Ready to Be There!

My family Is being awesome about my leaving. I am trying to tone down the true level of excitement I have so I don’t burn them talking about it. As the hours tick closer to takeoff, I am just ready to be there.

I have some goals for this trip

· Come home with a pet Himalayan Blue Sheep

· Do not come home half eaten by the tigers

· Do not get bitten by any snakes

· Take amazing vlogs

· Spend time with family I have never met

· EAT ALL THE FOODS (insert meme here)

· Do not come home with a bride

· Figure out how to make yearly work trips like this

The Food

I made a bad decision last night and decided to look up different foods in the regions we will be staying. I did this on an empty stomach and I was ready by the third page to go to the market and pick up all the ingredients to try everything I saw. Not smart to do at 3am.

Mango-Chutney-Chicken-1-finalMango Chutney Chicken