12,464 miles and 36 hours later this little girl from Vermont (the tiny state near Canada) has found herself in Perth. For the next four months, I’ll embark on one of the most soul-searching journeys there is- studying abroad.
A lot of you may not know me or what I do, so here is a little inside scoop. I’m a biochemistry major, pharmacology and nutritional food science minor, studying at The University of Vermont (UVM). UVM is a rowdy University nestled in the quaint city of Burlington, Vermont. Burly is absolutely breathtaking and full of genuine, down-to-earth, kind souls. It’s hard to get bored here, there is always something to tie dye, a new vegan recipe to try, a rally of sorts, or just a creeemee (fattier soft serve) to accompany you at sunset on Lake Champlain. However, being the sixth generation to grow up in the same town, I figure it was time to get away, about as far away as possible.
Picking My Flight
I began searching for my flight four or five months before my departure, and although I wanted to get one of the cheapest flights possible, I also wanted to ensure that I had a smooth and safe trip as well.
Residing in Vermont blesses you with one of the most expensive international airports in the U.S.– BTV. Therefore, by simply getting your friends, family, or Megabus driver to take you a state or two away you can save hundreds of dollars. The cheapest airport I found to fly out of (round trip) the East Coast to Perth, Western Australia was Boston at $1200. REMEMBER the cheapest is not always the best, it had a 17 hour layover in Qatar. A few hours later and I settled on Emirates with a seven hour layover in Dubai on the way there and a three hour layover on the way home for a whopping $1350– before traveler’s insurance.
The Departure- Flight One
A six hour car rider later and I was in Boston to have one last dinner with my family until Christmas. Navigating the airport wasn’t hard, everyone was helpful enough and the halls were labeled. Security took about an hour to get through and the barista at Starbucks made a mean green tea frap in record time. However, all good things must come to an end. There was a problem with overbooking certain premium economy/ economy seats so not everyone got the seat they had originally paid for. Luckily, Emirates being the kind, sensible airline that they are upgraded all of those who had paid for premium economy (and lost their seat) to business and first class. YES, I got upgraded to FIRST CLASS for free, talk about the biggest blessing for a 13.5 hour flight.
In Cabin Experience- Flight One
Hot towels. Scented hot towels. Then, a kit with a luxury sleeping mask, Bvlgari perfume, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, and other toiletries was passed my way. On top of that, a menu where I got to write what I wanted from my own personal chef WITH the option to request times to be woken up if I’m asleep, came through. Oh, and did I forget to mention that I had my own cubicle with a desk, lamp, TV, and bed?
I wasn’t feeling too hot– I get really bad jet bloat– so, I decided to sleep for most of the flight and requested to be woken up for a scrumptious French Toast breakfast an hour before arrival.
The French Toast was delicious, way better than I anything I was expecting to come from an airplane. The hostess was absolutely marvelous, always checking in on me asking if I needed anything, offering mimosas and more hot, scented towels. Unfortunately, whatever goes up, must come down and we began our descent. Bellies full and hands sanitized.
Seven hours is just too long for a layover. In my opinion, the perfect layover is 3-5 hours max. I arrived in Dubai at 19:00 and wasn’t scheduled to depart again until 02:00– what is there to do? I explored, walked around, ate an overpriced, subpar muffin, and tried to rest while clutching my personal belongings. Time crawled.
The Departure- Flight Two
I’m sure your wondering if I’m the luckiest person alive, but sorry to burst your bubble. I’m not. It was back to the peasant life of economy for me. One hot towel rather than endless, a mere toothbrush, prescribed meals, and bare minimum leg room was what I had to look forward to for the next 12 hours. That being said, I can’t complain about Emirates, the second flight was good for what I paid and I’m sure there are much worse stories about flying around the world.
Legs wobbly, and not a single familiar face in sight, I touched down on the place I’ll call home for the next four months. Emirates was very quick with baggage retrieval; they managed to keep all of my things together and in one piece!
All in all I would give Emirates an 8.3/10 for my experience. Their customer service was impeccable, but I got to see how both sides live on an airplane and let me tell you money certainly talks. However, I would recommend Emirates to anyone who is looking to travel long distances and who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky like I did!
Stay tuned for many more adventures in Perth!