Thanks Emirates For Leaving My Dad Speechless (Again)!

Filed Under: Emirates

I’m presently taking my dad on a surprise round the world trip to celebrate his “round” birthday. Even now the trip remains a surprise, as he’s just finding out what we’re doing and where we’re going on a day-by-day basis.

Here are the previous posts about the trip:

I just can’t even begin to say how impressed I’ve been with the genuine hospitality offered by Emirates on this trip. First we had an amazing flight from Los Angeles to Dubai. We’re now in the Emirates A380 First Class Lounge in Dubai.

When we got to the airport I hadn’t yet told my dad where we were going. So I went to the check-in desk and explained the situation — “I’m taking my dad on a surprise birthday trip and he doesn’t know our next destination. When he gives you his passport could you please not tell him where we’re going? Just give me his boarding pass.” They laughed at the idea and gladly cooperated.

When we arrived at the lounge the same thing happened. At first the agents seemed to think I was kidnapping him or something, but once they “got” what I was doing, they loved the idea.

We had about five hours in the lounge, and three hours into our stay we headed to the restaurant area for “dinner” (or whatever you’d like to call eating at 2AM).


As we finished up our meal, several Emirates staff, including the lounge manager, gate agents, and servers, came up to our table to present my dad with a massive cake.


I didn’t request the cake, though the lounge manager was seated at the entrance as we walked in and overheard the “story.” So as she presented my dad with the cake she said “since we heard it’s your birthday, please enjoy this from us at Emirates.”

Unbelievable! It’s one thing to wish someone a happy birthday, but it’s another to go way, way above and beyond with an amazing cake.

Now what the heck are we supposed to do with a cake this size with only 30 minutes to go until boarding?!

Thanks Emirates, you left my dad speechless… for about the fifth time this trip.

And on another note, thanks again for all the kind comments you guys have left for my dad. I’ve read all of them to my dad (since he doesn’t know how to use computers), and to say they’ve made his week would be an understatement! They might just be the highlight of his trip. 😀

PS: I have several video segments ready to be published, but the Wi-Fi in the lounge is too slow. Expect several videos when we land in Singapore, including our destination being revealed to my dad, him sharing his thoughts on the lounge while in the cigar bar, and even a video of him speaking German.

  1. This is shaping up to be my all time favorite TR. What an incredible experience you get to share with your dad. The videos are so much fun to watch.

  2. Ben–I’ve been following your blog for years, but the anticipation for these next few posts are unmatched! Can’t wait to see the videos!

  3. Don’t forget to thank Alaska Airlines as well! 😉

    Flying EK for ultra longhaul flights are amazing. From my experience, food never ran out. If on the A380, the business class bar is always buzzing and the first class area is just amazing. I believe LAX-DXB was your first ultra longhaul flight with EK so welcome to the club! hehe. Enjoy your trip with your dad!

  4. Oh Emirates – There is a reason why I love that carrier. They can do things to blow you away for their gesture and incredible service. Ben, can’t begin to describe how fun it’s been to follow your trip with your dad, this is priceless and simply incredible. Wish him a very happy birthday and to continue to enjoy it. These are memories that will forever live on even when the journey has been concluded. Have a great time in Singapore, I’ll be there in March! 🙂

  5. I wish there was a way to slow down time. I want this trip to last and last. You two rock. Thanks for taking us along.

  6. Wow! That’s not an Applebee’s birthday cake, that’s for sure. Another great report. And looking forward to your Dad’s trip report video in german.

  7. This is such a great trip to follow. Has made me determined to take a trip like this with my parents! I’m fortunate enough to travel at the front using your tips and tricks, but haven’t had the opportunity to help my parents do as well (as they are always wanting the cheapest and not always flexible). You really do put all of us to shame with how well you treat your parents.

    Enjoy your next flight! I know what I’d be doing with the cake – eating it!

    Happy Birthday Again Lucky’s Dad!

  8. I just did my first first class trip with emirates from LA to dubai to bangkok. I don’t think I can enjoy any other airline now having flown F with them. Did you guys use the spa?

    You are a good son Ben!

  9. WOW. Happy BDAY to your DAD! That is a very generous gesture from Emirates. Now if only I can get my parents on a trip at this caliber…

    Your blog is so awesome to follow. Keep it up!

  10. That’s awesome, a similar thing happened to me at the Conrad Cotai Central. As my dad and I were being shown to our room he mentioned to the guy that it was my birthday. We went down to the casino and when we returned at about 2AM there was a Happy Birthday cake sitting on the dining room table for me, it was awesome.

  11. That’s awesome!! I’m really enjoying reading your trip reports, and I love the videos! Keep them coming!

  12. Ben, what can still be said? This IS IMHO THE BEST you’ve ever done! This RTW trip with your dad is beyond amazing and us being able to come along for the fun, thru the TRs & videos, is just the icing on this ‘birthday’ cake adventure!

    Und für dein Vati, tausend Glückwünsche. Wir sind alle froh, dass er genießt sie alle!!

  13. You listened to my feedback! Yay! Thank you! For someone who hasn’t used his German in several years (and now really only talks with a German teacher), the German-language video will be welcome language practice.

    I knew that you were jetting across the world but didn’t realize why OMAAT wasn’t on the BoardingArea homepage as much as usual. Now I’ve connected the dots!

  14. Das sollte ich auf Deutsch gesagt haben – vielen Dank und herlizcher Glückwunsch an Ihr Vater!

    Gute Reise!

  15. Glücklichsten Geburtstag wünscht, Herr Schlappig. Sie haben eine unglaubliche Sohn, die das beste Geburtstagsgeschenk von allen ist.

  16. This is a great trip report. And wow what a giant cake! My parents got one about 1/6 of that size at Conrad Hong Kong (but they loved it all the same!)

    To share a similar story: To this day I still remember the genuine surprise on my dad’s face when we surprised him with CX business for a looong haul the first time. He has never sat up front ever and in the few times that he even flew it was always in the back (me too and it was not fun crammed in a middle seat for 14 +hrs). We also led him to think that it will be a long trip in economy (not unusual).

  17. Awww, my post/story got cut off. Ah anyways, just want to say that it looks like you and you dad are having a grand time and I cannot wait to read the rest of it — including from your dad perspective!

    It’s really fun to read this trip report and I love how appreciative your dad is and how surprised he is…and before you two even got to your destination. Have fun!

  18. Wow trip looks amazing so far! Just remember not to upload the videos on the Singapore plane… “Blogger racks up $50,000 wi-fi bill”

  19. What a fantastic trip, EK perks notwithstanding. You are most fortunate to have such a wonderful father, and he such a wonderful son. Happy birthday to him, and happy travels to you both!

  20. Your dad is one very lucky man. I wish I could do something like this for my dad but he won’t fly no matter how nice the seat is.

  21. Ben,

    I have to say, you’ve made my eyes well up the way you’ve planned and managed this trip for your dad!
    Good on you!

  22. This is what every adult child wishes they could do for his or her parent! It must bring you so much joy to celebrate with your dad and spoil him. All the best to you both on your round-the-world journey and happy birthday to your dad!

  23. Congrats to you and your dad – the fact you can share your hobby/career with him is pretty impressive. You’re both lucky (no pun intended) to have each other!

  24. I love this. He looks like he is having a ball! Please please please can you film him the next time you tell him where he’s going?? I bet he’s lighting up like a kid at Christmas! I’d love to be able to do this for my mom. She was a flight attendant but stopped flying in the early 90s so personal, in-seat IFE still seems cutting edge to her. Whenever I mention the amenities offered in modern premium cabins, she seems completely shocked.

  25. Your dad looks like he is straight out of central casting.

    Have a great trip! This report is enjoyable. All travel should be so satisfying.

  26. Herzlichen Glückwunsch Herr Schlappig,
    Ihr Sohn macht uns jeden Tag froh durch seine wunderschöne Erlebnisse. Ich bin sicher, dass Sie jetzt dasselbe fühlen und viel Spaß mit ihm haben.
    Viel Spaß und alles Gute zum Geburtstag.

  27. Wow!, your dad must be so proud of having you as a son.
    I wish I have a chance to take my parents on a trip like this.
    2 Thumbs up for Emirates Lounge Manager what a thoughtful surprise : )

    I wish you and your dad are having a great time ^^

    Ps. On a sentence, you spelled “lounger manager.” a typo perhaps?

  28. This is a great trip, and we love hearing from your dad! Hope the rest of the trip is as good as the first leg was!

  29. I echo all these comments above, of all these years of reading your blog; this is by far the most anticipated and in turn, most satisfactory trip report you have ever taken us with.
    Wish your dad a very happy birthday and hope that his next round birthday will be even more wonderful! 🙂

  30. What a great picture of your dad in a nice navy blazer with the glass of champagne in the Emirates first class lounge. He really looks like a bon vivant movie star in that picture. Reminds me of someone like Clark Gable or Bond….James Bond. He certainly brings a high level of class to travel, that is for sure.

  31. Happy birth to your Dad and hopefully he will enjoy the remaining parts of your present one as much. I think, these tripe were a wonderful idea for both of your parents. Unfortunately, my own ones cannot fly any more, so this kind of surprise I cannot use for them…

  32. LOL people like these keep raising the bar for the best experience ever and gives you unrealistic expectations for “standard” service in the travel industry… 😉

    Great story. I don’t really know why I care about you or your dad, but this put a big smile on my face.

    Happy Birthday dad of OMAT!

  33. “Now what the heck are we supposed to do with a cake this size with only 30 minutes to go until boarding?!”

    Be generous and share it with the other people in the lounge?

  34. Amazing how small gestures can make a huge difference.

    18 months ago my wife and I flew PEK-ZRH-TXL on Swiss in J. This was in the middle of a longer trip, but these flights happened to be on our 3rd wedding anniversary. The PEK-ZRH flight left at something like 5am, so it was a quick breakfast and then they let everyone sleep before a bigger meal later. When I woke up after a few hours sleep and went to the bathroom, I stopped by the galley and asked for a glass of champagne for the two of us, very briefly mentioning it was our anniversary so as not to seem like a lush asking for 7am champagne. They gladly obliged, and then several hours later when preparing the cabin for landing the purser stopped by with a box of chocolates and a signed note from the crew.

    This would have been more than enough to impress, but it was what came next that blew us away. After a couple hour layover in the great ZRH Senator lounge, we were on regional business ZRH-TXL. Towards the end of the flight the purser stops by our seats, holding a bag. He said he understood we were celebrating an anniversary, and that the crew from our previous flight wanted us to have something, but hadn’t been able to give it to us since we had to clear security again for our connection. In the bag was a bottle of champagne and two glasses.

    I have no idea how easy or difficult it was for them to coordinate this, but the above-and-beyond thoughtfulness of it really, really impressed us. Swiss really won us over that day.

  35. I absolutely love sharing your Dad’s birthday. Like you, I think birthdays are so special and should be shared. How lucky you both are to have each other.

    PS Quit saying it’s your best trip ever. Your Mom might be jealous. Bali was pretty special too.

  36. What a great story! And what a lovely adventure for the two of you to share! A very Happy Birthday Mr Schlappig, and many happy returns, although this one sure will be hard to top.

  37. And it’s a proper sized cake too! Happy Birthday to your dad!!! very impressive service indeed.

  38. @ Lucky — wow, that’s a HUGE cake! I am starting to think you should’ve brought another suitcase to carry all the gifts your dad has been getting along the way 😀

    @ Zach — that’s a great story! Many people peg LX crews as not being super-friendly but I had a very lovely crew flew in F on ZRH-ORD (only wish they had Bose headphones).

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