Come flydubai with Me

Flydubai Boeing 737 MAX 8
flydubai Boeing 737 MAX 8

Emirates has been famous as one of the world’s leading airlines for a number of years, but it’s little brother, flydubai, is considerably less well-known outside of the Middle East.

Officially, flydubai is a Dubai-based subsidiary of Emirates, but the actual picture is a little more interesting than that.

For a start, thanks to a sizeable fleet, flydubai flies to a wide range of intriguing destinations that even the ample Emirates network can’t cover. One of them, for example, is Pisa in Italy, which flydubai for some reason also calls ‘Florence’. But if Stansted can pass itself off as London, then everything else is fair play too.

It operates the Boeing 737 exclusively, including the infamous MAX. But this gives it the possibility to fly some surprisingly long distances, knocking off flights that are blocked at six hours or more with ease.

I recently flew from Pisa to Dubai return, going out in business class and back in economy. Both flights were surprising, especially the outward leg. It’s always a treat to have a full business class experience in a narrow-body plane, especially on an airline that is meant to be a lower priced carrier. And although the ticket wasn’t expensive, there was surprisingly little compromise.

I selected one of the two prime seats to have in flydubai’s intimate 737 MAX business class cabin: the ‘throne’ seats in the second row. Rather than being two by two, these are individual seats that afford plenty of storage space either side of the sole occupant, who sits in the middle of the row.

All seats feature a proper lie-flat bed, with the only disadvantage of the two throne seats being a slightly narrow footwell when the bed is fully extended. But it’s a small price to pay for the sense of splendid isolation, which offers plenty of space and privacy all around you.

flydubai Business Class
flydubai Business Class

Where you notice that it’s a more competitively priced carrier is in the little details. There’s isn’t a proper power socket, for example, just a USB port to charge your phone. But with all 737 flights not being proper long-haul, most devices will go the distance without needing extra charge anyway.

The only other aspect that’s not really business class standard is the food, with a limited choice of pretty uninspiring beef, chicken or pasta. But it’s edible and there are plenty of additional treats offered to make up for it such as rather delicious truffle flavour crisps and a decent chocolate cake, as well as pizza slices before landing and so on. More importantly, there’s proper Champagne and a nice selection of wines offered in generous quantities. You soon forget about the food.

What really made the difference was the service. With just 10 business class seats, the service is closer to first than to business, and an absolutely delightful steward made the whole experience a joy. The overall experience turned out to be just as good as conventional business class, all told. Sure, the flydubai 737 is limited by being a smaller plane that can carry less stuff but that’s also true of a Learjet.

The return flight, travelling in economy, was surprisingly almost as good. The economy cabin is standard elegant minimalism, with nothing that stands out in particular. But the early morning flight back to Pisa was less than a third full, meaning that most people who wanted a row to themselves were able to have one.

Ultimately, how many people are on the plane is what makes the biggest single difference between a great flight and an average one in economy. And when you can stretch out and get some work done, it’s always going to be a great flight.

There are various options regarding in-flight entertainment and catering in economy on flydubai, and even though the ‘flex’ ticket I had selected included something to eat, I’d already had breakfast in the airport, so wasn’t at all tempted. I imagine it wouldn’t have been much to write home about anyway, after all, how good the food tastes in economy on any airline depends entirely on how hungry you are. On this occasion, I preferred to save my appetite for lunch in Italy, and passed by the in-flight entertainment in favour of what was already downloaded onto my iPad.

It just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a fortune or use all the facilities to have a great flight. And that it’s entirely possible to have the wide body experience within the cosy confines of a short-haul plane. For an alternative business class option, flydubai hits all the marks.

Author Bio:

Anthony Peacock works as a journalist and is the owner of an international communications agency, all of which has helped take him to more than 80 countries across the world.

Photographs courtesy of flydubai

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.