01. Introduction: The glorious ridiculousness that is Dubai
02. United Club, SAN
03. United Express CRJ-200 economy class San Diego to Los Angeles
04. Emirates A380-800 business class Los Angeles to Dubai
05. Sheraton Grand Dubai
06. Setting reasonable expectations for your first trip to Dubai
07. Emirates A380-800 economy class Dubai to Los Angeles
08. United Airlines 737–800 economy class Los Angeles to San Diego
Dubai. The mysterious desert oasis that has been at the very tip of my wanderlust list for as long as I can remember – despite how artificial and ridiculously over the top it seemed. Similar to how it is when rolling by a nasty car wreck still smoldering on the side of the road, I have never been able to divert my attention and I’ve always felt like I really needed to see the place with my own eyes.
Everything about Dubai just reeks of money and a government who has too damn much of it. Throwing an obscene amount of cash into the development of a city in hopes that it will attract visitors sounds tacky and desperate as hell, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the way that Dubai has done it has definitely piqued my interest. The worlds tallest building? Sounds cool. An indoor ski resort (in the middle of the freaking desert)? Gotta check that out. And a national airline with over 130 A380s? You know I’m hip to that.
One of the reasons that it has taken me so long to visit Dubai is the fact that it’s so far away from San Diego. That alone isn’t enough to stop me from visiting a place, but when you work a demanding full-time job with limited vacation time while juggling a life outside of work (and writing travel blog too), it’s really hard to find the time to fly all that way only to spend a day or two on the ground. The obvious solution is to spend more time on the ground, but that “limited vacation time” thing has been the monkey on my back for so long and I’ve never been able to shake it. It’s the reason why I’ve always needed to keep my trips short – shorter trips meant that I would be able to travel more frequently, resulting in more content for this blog.
But here I am now, a full-time travel blogger without a corporate 9-to-5 job. I’ve got all the time in the world to stay at my destinations longer, but with that comes a different kind of problem: money (and the lack of it). This travel blogging thing doesn’t pay very well yet, so money is definitely tight and I certainly don’t have the cash to spend a week frolicking in the desert at five star hotels. Not yet at least. But it’s all good – and I’m thankful that I now have the flexibility to travel on a moments notice whenever I see a good deal on airfare. And that’s exactly how this trip to Dubai came to be.
Browsing Google Flights is something I do often for fun (you should know that by now), and since Dubai has always been at the top of my wanderlust list, I’m always watching for good deals. When I found one on Emirates out of LAX, I jumped on it immediately. Let me tell ya – booking a trip without any concern for trying to wrangle time off of work is a new sensation that I quite like. The freedom of it all is a massive head rush like nothing else! Who needs cocaine or heroin when all you have to do is quit your job and book trips willy-nilly without worrying about calendars, bosses, and annoying project deadlines? Some say that travel blogging doesn’t serve a purpose, but look what I just did – I just solved the global drug problem!
Here is the full itinerary for my trip to Dubai:
05/26/18 UA5443 CRJ-200 economy class San Diego to Los Angeles
05/26/18 EK216 A380-800 business class Los Angeles to Dubai
05/30/18 EK215 A380-800 economy class Dubai to Los Angeles
05/30/18 UA1568 737-800 economy class Los Angeles to San Diego
How about that business class segment from Los Angeles to Dubai, eh? Truthfully, it wasn’t my original intention. This entire itinerary was booked in economy class, but it just so happened that they teased me with an irresistible upgrade offer to business class at a substantial discount when checking in online. It was an offer too good to refuse, especially with Emirates business class being what it is and I smashed that “Upgrade” without even thinking twice! In retrospect, perhaps I should have given it some thought (at least a little) given the fact that I’m jobless at the moment with very little income…
Thankfully I’m smart enough to realize that splurging on extravagant last-minute upgrades is going to have me looking for another full-time job sooner than I’d like, so I had to be responsible and settle with a seat in economy on the return to Los Angeles. However, it wasn’t totally scary to me considering that I’ve heard nothing but good things about Emirates economy class, and I really wanted to try it out. Heck, I had just survived 12 painful hours in Edelweiss A340 economy, and I was feeling confident that Emirates economy would be like swanky business class compared to that. It was a dreamy assumption, I know.
I should also note that I had to book the United flights to and from LAX separately. It wasn’t a big deal though, since flights between San Diego and Los Angeles are always dirt cheap due to the sheer amount of competition on the route. There are plenty of flights to choose from and my only reasoning for choosing these particular flights were the times. I obviously didn’t care about aircraft type, and the CRJ-200 from SAN to LAX is proof of that. I am convinced that those little CRJs are the most horrible things that mankind has ever created, and I really do hate them more than anything else in this world. But the timing of that flight was awfully convenient, so I was willing to suck it up this one time.
I can’t help but to think this is probably going to be my most obnoxious trip report series yet. I mean, everything about Dubai and Emirates is so ridiculously over the top, and I can’t wait to start writing these individual trip reports. There was a lot of fun, quirky, and downright weird stuff I experienced on this trip, and putting it all in words has the potential to be the most fun I’ve had in months…
How the heck am I able to fly in business class all the time?
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