Tag Archives | business class

Moving Part II

I’d dreaded telling the boys that we were moving to Abu Dhabi.  I was prepared for anything–screams, shouts, tears, adamant refusal.

We’d rehearsed our speech, Husband and I, tried to anticipate all the questions and eventualities, but in fact we needed almost none of our talking points.  The only moment of upset happened when Caleb thought our spring break trip would be our permanent move and that he’d have to leave without saying good-bye to any of his friends.  Once we settled that, the boys got excited–about the beach, about the warmth, and about the glossy school they will be attending.

Well, okay, there’s one itsy-bitsy glitch, which we’re hoping to resolve this week.  The school has admitted Liam to its 6th grade, but wants to “screen” Caleb–as they do for any student coming into the Lower School.  They won’t put him on the wait list for 2nd grade until they screen him, and no amount of subtle New York parent jockeying would sway the registrar: we stopped just short of saying “99th percentile, folks, NINETY-NINE!” (That’s the score required for kindergarten admission at Caleb’s public school and yes, that in and of itself is a problem, but that’s a post for another day.)

That’s my only fear at the moment: that we’ll get halfway around the world and my kids still won’t be in the same school. We’re hoping that the school will find a place for Caleb after this screening and then I stop holding my breath.

As far as Caleb is concerned, however, this spring break trip is for him and his brother to check out the school,which we spent some time looking at online yesterday.  The school pictures functioned a bit like a bribe: swimming pool, soccer fields, climbing wall in the gym, outdoor lunch area…yeah, it’s just like middle school in Manhattan.

So now we’re in the bliss of the business class lounge, each of us plugged into our electronica; we are as usual a family of four traveling with an electronics inventory that would put an Apple store to shame: 1 iPad, 4 laptops, 2 game boy thingys, 3 iPhones (one for international use, 2 stateside), plus all the corollary cables, plugs, wires, and chargers.

This trip will be quick–check out the school, check out the apartment we’ll be using next year, and (as far as I’m concerned) escape this non-starter of a New York spring.  Liam wants to figure out where he’ll play soccer once we move–he’s distraught that at the moment the only soccer academy in AD is run by Manchester United, which is the arch-enemy of Arsenal, Liam’s team of choice.

It’s a long way to go for “vacation” (13 hours in the air, an entire world away in sensibility).  I sit here with my fruit salad and perrier (I’m saving the champagne for the plane–I hate to admit it,  but there’s something gratifying, in an insidious Marie Antoinette-ian sort of way, about sipping champagne while watching people shuffle back into coach) and can’t believe that in just a few months we’ll be back here, getting ready to fly to our new life.

Maybe the boys aren’t freaking out, but I think I might be.

Continue Reading · on April 18, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Children, family, moving, tech life

Re-Entry

The raw November weather is upon us; I’m thinking about fluffy socks and even fluffier pajamas but instead have been shlepping around the city doing errands.  Does anyone else wonder how many people end up in the NYC emergency rooms on rainy days with bleeding eyeballs from those damn golf umbrellas people carry around? There oughta be a law–it’s not a golf course, people, it’s a really crowded city sidewalk. Your right to dry shoulders ends where my face begins.

But I digress.

I have a new “make this all go away” fantasy now; my very own Calgon-take-me-away moment. It involves…business class. Business class, where just a few short days ago, as I sat in my recliner grading papers, a lovely flight attendant whispered up to me and said “May I bring you a drink and perhaps a snack? What would you like?” And lo, there appeared on my tray table a flute of champagne (yes, some students did get slightly higher grades as a result of my little afternoon aperitif) and a small plate containing two perfect dolmas, a small tomato stuffed with tzadziki, a dollop of herbed cheese, and a bite-size morsel of almond cookie.

When I was finished, the plate was whisked away, the flute was refilled, and on we flew.

Our little business class bubble extended all the way out to the airport, where we were dropped off directly at the check-in gate, someone took our checked luggage from us, and someone else waved us through security into the business lounge.  See that picture up there, of all the empty desks simply waiting to receive passengers? That was the scene Sunday morning when we checked in. And this picture is the scene the previous Sunday, when we arrived:

Please note the shiny floors and lack of grumpy passengers.

Now, okay, yeah, there are pesky little questions about things like workers’ rights and exploitative labor practices in the UAE, okay, okay, but then again…don’t we have those here, in the States?  Tell me again about how workers are treated at meat-packing plants?

When we landed at JFK on Sunday night, however, the business class bubble popped so loudly it hurt my ears:

That would be the line, 15 rows deep, to get through customs. No gentle flight attendants, no shiny floors, no happy workers.  The hellishness of our re-entry experience only ratcheted upwards (downwards?) after we slogged through customs, through the crowds to the bathroom line. Waited in the bathroom line, came out, turned the corner and saw…

a woman lying on the floor in a huge pool of bright-red blood.

We don’t know what happened to her, but whatever it was happened in the 15 minutes we were waiting for the bathroom. There was an EMT squad standing over her and people crouched cradling the woman’s head, and a security guard, bellowing “there’s NOTHING TO SEE people, KEEP MOVING” over and over. Liam insisted that the woman on the ground looked pregnant, and I sent up a little prayer balloon, hoping that this poor woman hadn’t gotten off some international flight and began to miscarry in the nightmarish world of JFK.

So yeah: huge crowds, bloody injuries, giant traffic jams on the way back into the city, and now it’s been pouring rain for two days.

Is it wrong to want to just live in business class? I don’t even have to get off the plane. I’ll just keep criss-crossing the Atlantic. Could you bring me another glass of champagne? And maybe some fuzzy socks?  Thanks so much.

Continue Reading · on December 1, 2010 in NYC, Travel

Leaving On a Jet Plane…

For the last year or so, Husband has been deeply involved in the planning of NYU Abu Dhabi. He’s been there seven times on his own, while I hold down the fort here. It may come as a big surprise but being here alone with the boys was not the most fun I’ve ever had. And okay yes, I’ll admit to being just a teensy-eensy bit bitter about the fact that Husband got to go jaunting around on his own, while I stayed home and did the school-soccer-cooking-cleaning drill on my own  (plus there’s that part where I have a job, too).

What I envied most, however, about Husband’s global travels was that he flew business class. The idea of lounging in a bed for thirteen hours with someone waiting on me?  It’s like heaven at thirty thousand feet, give or take a few thousand.

Sometimes I think it’s a little pathetic that I pine after business class, but I do.

And tonight, my pining pays off: we’re all going to Abu Dhabi, flying Emirates Pearl Business Class.  I would like to take this opportunity to offer an anticipatory apology to my fellow Pearl travelers for Liam and Caleb, who are enthralled with the whole “pod bed” concept–and plan to stay awake for the entire journey in order to watch as many movies as they can cram into the thirteen hour flight.

We’ve got an entire week in the desert, with side trips to see the tallest building in the world, in Dubai; and to an oasis resort, where we have promised the boys camel rides and dune walks. God knows what my white-food-only children will eat–it’s entirely likely they’re going to starve–and I’m just now realizing that all my summer clothes are in a wrinkled wad at the back of my closet, but I don’t care.

Say it with me: business class, business class, business class.

I know there must be more to life than business class, right? Hmm…

I know: first class, first class, first class.

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Continue Reading · on November 21, 2010 in family, Travel

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