As I walked onto my Middle Eastern Airlines A320 flight from Dubai to Beirut, cigarette smoke wafted out of the cockpit. What was in store for me?
I know the cigarette smoke will immediately and automatically turn many people away from the airline. I’m not going to sugarcoat it one bit: the plane stunk and pilots smoked at least twice during the 3hr flight to Beirut. Perhaps my nose just got used to it, but the plane did not smell like an ashtray between smoking breaks.
This is truly a shame because the flight was otherwise excellent. The crew was beautiful and provided excellent service:
The seat was superb for an A320 and I was able to take a nice nap during the flight.
Yes, the Middle East Airilnes A320 business class seat had ashtrays.
Breakfast was served after takeoff and excellent: to the level of the Turkish Airlines. Every course was exceptionally tasty, particularly the labneh.
Finally, the IFE was library was comprehensive.
If you can deal with the smoking, I thought this Middle East Airilnes A320 business class flight was excellent in every other way. While Emirates offers better business class seats on the same route, I have never enjoyed service this good on Emirates.
One other interesting tidbit. The journey on Middle East Airlines takes one hour less than the same journey on Emirates or flydubai. Why? Middle East flies over Iraq and Syria while Emirates and flydubai travel over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, totally avoiding Jordanian, Iraqi, and Syrian airspace. That adds an hour of travel time.