This post is kind of about food, but indulge me, I got on a roll.
After my great meal at The Irish Village in the Dubai airport, I had a short flight to Kuwait City at 10 PM. I was flying Emirates, a United Arab Emirates airline that I had heard of, mainly because they sponsor football (soccer) and other sports, including USA Rugby, like cricket, golf and tennis. On the flight, I found out they were a sponsor of the Rugby World Cup, which was going on during my travels. I hoped to catch the bronze final on Saturday and the Gold final on Sunday in Kuwait on TV.
Being an Arab airline, I figured there would be no alcohol on the flight. I had also seen photos of their stewardess uniform, which completely covers the women’s bodies. I expected to be unimpressed with the airline.
Wrong. Before I start talking about Emirates in paticular, let me get nostalgic for a minute about airline flying. I used to travel a lot internationally back in the 1960s through the early 1980s as a child and teenager. Only in the last ten years have I started to travel across the pond again. I remember when it was OK to call a stewardess a stewardess and there were no men stewards. I remember when they were all beautiful and didn’t have attitudes. I fondly remember the US international flag carrier, Pan Am. I remember getting decent food and free booze in coach. And no one was real concerned about my age back then.
All the airlines I flew on then were good and all seemed to have the same standards regarding food, drink and stewardess
appearance and behavior. Some of those airlines, in addition to Pan Am, were Allitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, South African Airways and Quantas. My first “Italian” meal was on an Allitalia flight. It was spaghetti in what I thought was an overly greasy clear sauce. When I tasted it, I discovered olive oil. Greasy, hell, that stuff was good.
What is really ironic and sad is that Delta bought out what remained of Pan Am when it went bankrupt. Delta is probably my least favorite airline. At least they didn’t keep the Pan Am name and ruin the reputation. The other airlines are still around and the ones I am familiar with are still good. There are no good US carriers anymore.
Today, I will (and have) pay extra to fly a non-US airline. My airline of choice is Lufthansa, but am not adverse to flying another non-US airline. I was flying back to Atlanta on R & R on Emirates and Allitalia before I had to cancel those flights. On Lufthansa, the stewardesses are still beautiful and understand what customer service means. On one Lufthansa flight from the US to Frankfurt in 2007, my wife and me were treated like royalty at the back of the plane, we didn’t even ask, but they kept our gin and tonic glasses full the entire flight. And, the drinks were free and the food was decent. And the stewardesses were friendly and personable, no “chip on the shoulder” that seems to be a requirement to serve on the crew of a US airliner.
Back to Emirates. I had seen the photos of the stewardess uniform. To say it isn’t revealing is an understatement. Yet, whoever designed it knew what they were doing. Beautiful women in this uniform, especially the scarf, are incredibly sexy. We had a European, an Asian, an an Arab as our stewardesses and they were all drop dead gorgeous in these uniforms. There was also a steward.
All the way around, Emirates Airlines is a class act. The airplane itself was immaculate, pretty new and obiviously well maintained. They took off on-time and arrived on-time. It was a short flight and we got a real snack and free drinks, including a gin and tonic. You can add Emirates to my list of approved airlines, I will fly with them again.
So, if you are an American who only flies domestically or an international traveller who only flies on an American carrier, I am happy to inform you that good flying is still out there, but you have to run, not walk, away from Delta, United and American. I have been on Delta flights that were three hours long and been tossed a tiny bag of peanuts as my only food. If I wanted an alcoholic drink, I had to take out a second mortgage. And, the flight attendants are almost all way over the hill and have serious attitude problems. Note that United flights to Europe sometimes use Lufthansa, just make sure you are getting a real Lufthansa flight (look at flight numbers to ensure you don’t get a nasty surprise). I am from the South, but I don’t have a Delta skymiles card. I have a Lufthansa skymiles card.
And, for the record, I am not the only one who thinks US airlines suck. In 2010, no US carrier made the top ten airline list
(Emirates made #8). A top ten list of hottest looking cabin crews did not include a single US carrier. Emirates was #4, Lufthansa was #6. Even Aer Lingus made the top ten. But, not Delta. Best North American airline in 2010? Air Canada. As an aside, no US airport made the top ten best airports list in 2010. No surprise there, either.
For food, again no US carriers on the top ten list, but Emirates is. My forty minute flight had an excellent snack of bread and cheeses. I am told they have an excellent wine list on flights with a meal. Bottom line is that the glory days of airline flight are not gone, they are just gone in the United States.
Tags: Aer Lingus, airline, airline food, Allitalia, American Airlines, British airways, Delta, Emirates, fight attendant, flight attendant uniform, Lufthansa, Pan Am, Quantas, South African Airways, steward, stewardess, stewardess uniform, United