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I Spent 13 Hours Flying on the Best Airline in the World. Here’s What It’s Like

Emirates airplane

Emirates airplane Emirates jumbo A380 airplane | STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Editor’s note: Airfare for these flights was provided by Visit Dubai, a program under the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing for the city. 

On a recent flight from New York to Dubai, I flew with the best airline in the world. I’m not just saying that because my seat was comfortable and I didn’t have to pay ridiculous carry-on fees. Thousands of passengers across the world agree Emirates is second to none when it comes to excellent service.

Everything is bigger and better in Dubai, and it seems the same is true for the airline that began operating in the 1980s under the leadership of the city’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In 2016, Emirates was awarded the distinction of being the best airline in the world, given by Skytrax after collecting millions of passenger reviews throughout the year. Emirates has won the award four times since 2001, when Skytrax began the program, and has consistently remained in the top five airlines.

World rankings aside, Emirates has collected numerous other awards throughout the years. In other words, when you’re given the chance to fly business class on a 13-hour flight with Emirates, you drop what you’re doing and go. If you can afford the $5,000 flight — or can get your company to cover it — it’s a can’t-miss experience. Here are just a few of the things you can expect.

1. Complimentary car service

A driver loads luggage into a Cadillac sedan

A driver loads luggage into a Cadillac sedan If you fly first class or business on Emirates, a driver will pick you up. | Nikelle Murphy/Culture Cheat Sheet

The beauty of Emirates’ service begins before you even arrive at the airport. If you’ve never had a personal chauffeur to the airport, now is your chance. It’s like Enterprise — except with a Cadillac instead of a rental car. Emirates offers a free car service to all business- and first-class passengers, as long as you live within 60 miles of your departure airport.

Your driver will know your departure time, terminal number, and other relevant flight details ahead of time, so you don’t need to pull up your itinerary once you’ve booked the service online. Forget about stressful commutes and pricey long-term parking fees. All you have to do is make sure you’re packed before the driver arrives.