Tuesday January 26 2016

Is flying Business Class worth the extra cost?

Flying business class is considered a

Flying business class is considered a privilege. The writer was mistakenly taken to the section and left to the perks it comes with. File photo 

By Eunice Rukundo

Did you ever wonder where the economic sense was in paying more to travel business class when you could as well arrive at your destination in economy class? Well, I did too, until I got the chance to travel Business Class with Emirates Airlines to Dubai recently. It was on invite by Emirates - all flight expenses were covered by the Airline - but it got me wondering whether I will ever be comfortable travelling economy again.
In all earnest though, I learnt that it makes business sense to travel business class, especially when on a business mission or for a long flight.

Before the flight
The perks of travelling business class start way before you board the flight. At Entebbe Airport, a business and first class ticket entitles you to wait at Karibuni Lounge between check in and boarding. Unfortunately, most travellers do not know about this privilege or they would not bother with breakfast before their trip. In the lounge, you are entitled to bites, have access to wifi and stationery services such as printing. This came in handy that day when we realised that one of our colleagues had forgotten his visa behind. For your business, it would be the perfect place to touch up that report, do some research or print out some reports before you set off for your business trip.
Luggage in business class usually has a tag marked ‘priority,’ which makes it safer and it is handled promptly.

On the flight
I’d hardly got any sleep the day before my flight because I was trying to put things in order before the trip. As I made my way to the plane, I could not wait for the flight to be over so I could get some much needed sleep. It turned out I would not have to wait that long as Emirates literally turns day into night if need be. The Business Class section, which occupies the middle section of the Boeing 777-200LR, offers enough leg room and comfortable seats that transform into beds at the flick of a button. You have a pillow and blanket, and a pack with socks and blinds.

Once the plane is safely in the sky and the meals have been got out of the way, the blinds come down on the windows and the ceiling of the plane is lit up with stars giving you a night time illusion. And the mind falls for it so you can sleep like a baby and not arrive at your business meeting red-eyed and disoriented. Only I did not sleep. How could I?
The airline subscribes to ICE entertainment which offers a wide range of entertainment opportunities on an individual screen in front of each passenger. There is also wifi so you can continue with that report you need completed before you land for that business meeting. It was when the hostess interrupted me with an offer of a warm wet towel to freshen up that I realised we were almost there and I had not had a wink.

On arrival
In addition to the warm towels, you can freshen up aboard the airline’s bathroom, which provides a shaver and a dental kit (toothbrush and toothpaste) before you disembark. This means you can head straight to your business rendezvous from the airport, and still appear presentable. Why not? You will have slept comfortably, eaten and drunk to your fill, freshened up and caught up on your documents on the way.
As we taxied into Dubai’s airport, I was given a little branded slip written on Fast Track. All I had to do was present this slip and my check in at Emirates’ First and Business Class check in counters would have been hastened.

We arrived after 9pm in Dubai and at the final security desk there was a guide from the airline waiting to fix our transport and find out if we had our accommodation sorted out. I found out this was a perk that came with travelling business class; that Emirates will have someone on the other end waiting to transport you from the airport and help with your accommodation arrangements if necessary.
What traveling Business Class really does, is to make sure you focus on the business for which you are travelling without having to worry about the little things or being delayed. When you have a promising business deal to crack, you will find travelling Business Class worth the price.

More tips
Recently, Emirates upgraded its services to Uganda with the deployment of a larger Boeing 777-200LR on the daily Entebbe Dubai route. Every day, Emirates departs from Dubai at 0915hrs and arrives at Entebbe at 1330hrs. It departs from Entebbe at 1530hrs and arrives in Dubai at 2135hrs.