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When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m trav’lin’ on
Don’t think twice, it’s all right – Bob Dylan, Don’t think twice, it’s alright
I’m trav’lin’ on alright. In fact, I’m at 31,999 feet, travelling at 579 miles per hour, some 2,574 miles out of Hong Kong en route to Dubai. Or at least I was when I started this sentence. It’s -37° C outside, not that I have much intention of testing it, roughly I suppose the temperature that awaits me back in a newly snowy London to where I return in a few hours after spending all of 2017 to date in a rather balmier Hong Kong.
I’m on EK387, a B777-300ER, a typically brilliant Emirates experience. Having just announced our new Moodie Davitt Report Asia bureau, based in Hong Kong, I’m going to be spending a lot more time on this route, taking me through as it does the key Middle East region, as well as offering extraordinary value airfare-wise.
My inflight habits are similar, I suspect, to those of many in the industry. I’m usually asleep minutes after (or sometimes before) take-off, then wake for the meal, catch a movie, doze and then work. Oh yes, as the unofficial Ambassador of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes a glass or two along the way. I love the calm of being in the sky, the escape from the relentless pressure when earthbound and, most of all, watching my journey unfold on screen.
The latter tells me that we’ve left Hyderabad in our slipstream and will soon be over the famed Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra. After that Mumbai and then across the Arabian Sea to Dubai. Anyone who doesn’t love watching the flight path onboard isn’t a real traveller in my view.
Emirates’ ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) seat-back inflight entertainment system is one of the world’s best. There’s an outstanding (and splendidly multi-national) movie and TV selection, a best-in-class radio channel, and the well-ranged duty free selection can be viewed in impressive detail on screen. Oh yes, best of all, there’s onboard Wi-Fi. What’s there not to like?
I’ve got a brief one-hour stop at Dubai International (it was meant to be two but we were late out of Hong Kong), where I will split my time between Dubai Duty Free and the Emirates Lounge. On my way to Hong Kong I also transited in Dubai and, as is my habit, bought a Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire prize draw ticket. Duly I was notified the other day that the draw was about to be made.
Surely this would be my time? After all, I have probably spent a million dollars on tickets down the years.
Alas no. With great reluctance I asked one of my colleagues to publish the latest results of the Millennium Millionaire draw this week, the winner a Mr Rajiv Nair who works for Dubai Airports. A case of Nair and yet so far for me.
To think, there was Colm McLoughlin (below centre), Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director, with my future, my fortune, in his hand. Except it wasn’t. Oh Colm, don’t you know that is the closest I will ever get to becoming a millionaire?
I will close this Blog with mention of Hong Kong International Airport, my new third home alongside Maison Moodie and Heathrow Airport. I like almost everything about this airport, from its superb efficiency to its fantastic internal and external panoramas and its eclectic mix of shopping and dining. But most of all I like the fact that there’s always – and I mean always – something new happening.
Whether it be a Bruce Lee exhibition, the most dazzling Christmas installations in the airport world, a cultural showpiece or – as is happening now – an exuberant celebration of Chinese New Year, Hong Kong International feels like an airport with a heartbeat, a crossroads of humanity, culture, technology and of course aviation. It is (or soon will be) the Chinese Year of the Rooster. And Hong Kong International Airport has plenty to crow about.