Boeing 777-300 — one of the few left in the fleet because they're being replaced by the ER (extended range) version.

Class: Business — but we all entered through the forward door and had to pass the sybaritic luxury of the eight First Class pods, which immediately diluted my smugness. For the Economy passengers, heading past to be crammed in 3:4:3 down the back, it was just cruel.

My seat: 8K by the window and the bulkhead, with masses of legroom. The walnut veneer is an elegant touch. The seat doesn't recline completely but since this was a daytime flight that didn't matter. Business configuration on this older plane is 2:3:2.


Price: DBX-NBO return Business Class costs from $3119

Flight time: 4½ hours to cover the 3500km to Nairobi, mostly over land.

On time? Fog at Dubai had blotted out the top of the Burj Khalifa and disrupted operations, so we sat on the runway for 20 minutes as a dozen assorted planes queued to take off ahead of us.

Fellow passengers: A predictable mix of Africans, Middle Eastern people and Europeans — suits and safari gear predominated. Plus a nun.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport: comfort before the ruggedness of an African tour. Photo / EyesWideOpen, Getty
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport: comfort before the ruggedness of an African tour. Photo / EyesWideOpen, Getty

How full?

There were some spare seats in Business but a steady stream of envious people trailed past down to the back, though the drawn curtains after take-off prevented closer inspection of cattle-class occupancy and also of those pods up front.

Entertainment: Emirates' ICE system is legendary and award-winning (including the 2017 APEX Passengers Choice Award for best entertainment). There are more than 2500 channels, including the latest movies, TV box sets, lots of music and more than 100 games. No flight is long enough for all that — especially on a big screen with a tablet controller. And then there's the view from the window: desert, dry rocky mountains, sea and savannah.

Food & drink: Bubbles and juice before take-off, and then herby roasted tomato soup and prawn machbous (an Arabian favourite) followed by a chocolate and fig mousse cake made for a tasty lunch. Linen cloth, serviette ring, three menu pages of drinks to choose from, chocolates to finish … all good.


Toilets: Clean and tidy — and as long as you don't mind smelling the same as everyone else, make free with the supplied Bulgari lotion and perfume.

Service: Welcoming and efficient, and 14 languages on offer. The women's uniform has to be the classiest in the air. And, of course, you get automatic entry to the huge lounges at Dubai, with all their thoughtful facilities, which adds to the privilege.

Luggage: An astonishing 40kg total over as many bags as you can handle.

Airport experience: The polished efficiency, futuristic decor and non-stop airborne traffic of Emirates' hub in Dubai were the direct opposite of Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International, where only three other planes were visible on the tarmac. But coming in to land over a big national park is a great introduction to Africa, and the mood in the visa queues was one of excited camaraderie as we gently sweated in the heat.
Again? Definitely yes, as a last indulgence in comfort before the ruggedness of an African tour.