Thursday 25th January & Friday 26th January
When my alarm went off this morning at 5.30am, the whole experience suddenly seemed even more surreal – the day had finally arrived. The train journey from Aberystwyth to Birmingham passed in the blink of an eye, and before we knew it, we were at Birmingham International. We passed the time in true student style with breakfast at Wetherspoons, and headed towards our gate, excited to see what Emirates Airline had in store for us.
It soon became clear that we were boarding an Emirates Airbus, a double-deck jet airliner, with capacity for over five hundred passengers across three classes. As students, used to traveling on a budget, we were completely overwhelmed by what we were about to experience – we were greeted individually by Emirates’ staff, each of whom looked immaculate in their iconic uniform and flawless makeup.
We arrived at our seats to find blankets, a pillow and headphones for the in-flight entertainment, which was controlled by a touch screen monitor (or a hand-held console if you preferred!) We each selected our preferred film or television series, and made ourselves comfortable whilst we waited for everyone else to board. We were able to watch take-off through cameras on the outside of the plane, which was fascinating, if a little scary… Once we had reached cruising altitude, the in-flight Wi-Fi was available to use, and we took advantage of this by informing our various families and friends that we were messaging them from 40,000 feet in the air! We were also able to get some work done, as each seat was fitted with in-seat power, meaning we could recharge our laptops, phones and tablets from our seat.
In true student style we took full advantage of anything being offered to us for free! After an hour or so, our lunch-time meal was delivered – we had potato salad with chives as a starter, and we were given an option for our main course. I had chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce, served with gnocchi, green beans and carrots, and it was one of the nicest meals I’ve had in a long time! Both meals were followed by fruit of the forest crumble with custard mousse, cheese and crackers and a choice of tea or coffee. Washed down with a mini bottle of white wine, it’s safe to say we were all in heaven. By the time we had finished, we were flying through the night-time of the Middle East, and with a few hours until we landed in Dubai, each of us tried to catch up on some sleep underneath the night sky which was projected onto the roof of the cabin! A few hours later, much to our amazement, the air hosts appeared armed with trays of Lindt chocolate, shortbread, granola bars and breadsticks. They reappeared moments later with glasses of fresh fruit juice for those who wanted it, and a tray of heated, lemon scented face towels to ensure we felt refreshed before landing.
After a short transfer in Dubai airport, we were soon boarding our transfer flight to Osaka Kansai airport. Although this plane was much smaller, and slightly less modern, our flight experience was equally amazing – we were also provided with socks, earplugs, an eye mask and a toothbrush with tooth paste to make our journey more comfortable. Although this flight was a lot longer, most us spent the majority of the flight sleeping, as by this point we had been travelling all day and were very tired. We were woken for breakfast, which was lovely but considering it was 4.30am UK time it felt a little strange! Nonetheless, we were all satisfied with a vegetarian full English breakfast, and most of us went back to sleep until the next meal which was served a few hours later.
As we were flying over Asia, I decided to opt for the Asian food option for lunch, which consisted of sweet and sour perch (fish) served on a bed of steamed Japanese rice. Surprisingly, this was my favourite meal out of the three we had across the duration of the two flights, which made me feel very positive about the food I was soon to experience in Yosano! Before long, we arrived safe and sound at Osaka airport, each of us singing the praises of Emirates. Although we were travelling for nearly twenty-four hours, the attention to luxury and detail made the time pass really quickly. We’ve all vowed to never fly with Ryanair again!