While travel may still be a thing of fantasy, it’s always good to start thinking, planning and fantasizing about all the wonderful places we will go to. Of course, before we get to our dream destinations, the way we get there is crucial, that is, our airline/airport experience.
Listed below are some of my favourite economy class experiences. I also looked into account the experience of the ‘home’ airport as well to come up with this list. Because, hey let’s face it shopping, food and recliners at airports are very important to the economy traveler.
In no particular order:
From the smiling cabin staff to the purple and orange interiors, stepping into a Thai cabin is a cheerful experience. With a relatively ‘larger’ economy seat at 18 inches, the food is possibly the best part of the Thai experience. And if you are a child, you literally get two sets of meals, one hot and one that is packaged and more snack-ish. The staff is also particularly helpful with mothers and children traveling alone. The entertainment content is solid and the blankets are soft. And my favourite airport in the world - Bangkok! Shopping, food and lots of sofas scattered around the lounge to fall asleep on.
Doha airport has lots of Instagrammable spots, which makes it a social media favorite but no one really talks about how expensive the food is at the airport! Luckily, the cabin experience is much more generous. The seats are 18 inches wide making for a slightly more comfortable experience. I found their handling of wheelchair bound passengers particularly compassionate and mindful. The staff also seems to be well trained to deal with difficult passengers. Also, two thumbs up for the little baby khubus bread and hummus in the economy meal.
While I am not a fan of Dubai airport and it’s staff, the entertainment options on board Emirates makes up for the drudgery of the airport ( the why-I-hate- Dubai- airport is a whole other series of articles). Their entertainment options are by far the most diverse I have come across. And the goodies they have for children are so great! We got a Lonely Planet and Emirates bag with lots of travel-inspired educational tools and plushies. However, it seems that you have to pre-book a children’s meal on Emirates - not something I have done on any other airline. The food on ‘desi’ routes could be better too.
Pakistan International Airlines
Hear me out, here. I know many of us have had poor experiences with the national carrier but I am not one of them. I am sure there are many more like me out there. So, why choose PIA? Well for starters, it is often the cheapest option and offers the ease of a direct flight. PIA is also kinder with luggage situations. But perhaps my favourite thing about PIA is their cabin staff - they are polite and gentle. And as a single woman traveling alone, they are always extra courteous and accommodating - including directing me to a row of empty seats so I could sleep. Whether I was traveling to Turbat or Kathmandu, the human element of the journey on PIA has been par excellence. Also, that Chicken Biryani lunch is legit.
Also on our okay-to-travel on list are Malaysian Airline (really wish they would operating in Pakistan again), FlyDubai, Turkish Airlines and Iraqi Airways (the duty-free shop at Baghdad is a steal!)