Guest post by Fiona Mills
6 years ago, we moved to Dubai. It was a pretty impulsive move, that happened within 3 months of first thinking about it. One thing that made it easier to move a long-haul flight away from home was knowing that there was a flight direct from Dubai to Newcastle, our local airport.
My first-time visiting Dubai a few months before we moved was my first-time flying Emirates. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a flight snob. Well…I’m a bit of a snob about a few things, but we’re talking about flights right now. I’ve always disliked the budget airlines. Ryan Air was adequate but frustrating with all its additional charges, and Easy Jet was always a bit too orange for my liking. My favourite airline was always KLM. However, that first flight to Dubai changed all that. I had finally discovered Emirates!
When I first started flying Emirates in 2013, the staff were cheerful and the service friendly. The seats were comfortable, you got a reasonable amount of legroom, the baggage allowance was generous and food pretty good. And the icing on the cake was the well-stocked bar cart with Diet Coke. Actual Diet Coke! Not Pepsi! You can imagine my glee.
Now, it wasn’t all perfect at the beginning. The screens were from the early 90’s, and you needed an adapter to plug anything into your seat. Then all of a sudden, Emirates started upgrading their fleet of 777’s. New larger screens with great quality appeared. Plus, real 3-point plug sockets and USB points were added to the back of seats. Amazing.
That was it…Emirates had truly claimed my heart.
Over time, the prices started increasing. When we first moved to Dubai, we could easily get a flight during school term-time for around £450. It was gradually getting higher and higher and higher. However, while improvements were being made to planes, I could forgive this to an extent.
Then the cuts started. The first thing that went was the lovely warm towel you were given before take-off. It was replaced by an individually wrapped wet wipe. It was a sad time. That little warm towel was lovely. However, the wet wipe was an adequate replacement, so I let Emirates off.
At meal times, the usual question of “chicken or beef” turned into “we only have chicken, will that be ok?”. I get it. The beef meal is more expensive to produce, and the chicken usually tastes ok. Again, I gave my beloved Emirates some allowances.
Then the Diet Coke disappeared from the trolley. That changed everything.
Every time I responded to whether I would like a drink with “Diet Coke please”, I was asked “Is Pepsi ok?”. No kind Emirates flight crew. Pepsi is not ok. It’s a different drink. Totally different. (This is a topic for another day I think).
It all went downhill from there. The frequent drinks-cart runs stopped. The tic-tacs, little chocolate and breadsticks disappeared from the main meal. The replacement wet wipe at the beginning of the flight went, and today I discovered that the breakfast tray has been replaced with a little basket with a pastry and yoghurt in. Now, don’t get me wrong. That’s a perfectly adequate breakfast.
But when will it end Emirates? When?
My ticket today cost me nearly £800 for a random Thursday during school-term time. Nearly double what we used to pay for the same flight. Yet, all the little luxuries of an Emirates flight of old are gone. While Steve Harvey continues to tell me how wonderful Emirates are on ICE Radio, I am starting to get concerned about what disappears now all the luxuries are gone. Will we no longer be provided with water? Seat belts? Toilet roll?
Please let me know Emirates, because if a girl gotta bring her own toilet roll, she’s gonna have to buy a bigger handbag.
And let’s be honest, the amount these flights are costing me now, if I just skip one trip home, I could get myself a damn nice handbag to carry my toilet roll in.