This may very well end in tears. Next week, I am heading to Dubai for a couple of days. Then to London for a few more. Then back home. I don't typically write about upcoming trips. Maybe you're not even supposed to. Whatever. At present I'm holding a direct SIN-DXB ticket, and then an onward flight to LHR a few days later. But a fellow FT'er told me about a cheaper ticketing option. And that's if you can ticket out of CMB (Columbo). More on this a bit later. My current ticket on EK is around SGD$1600 (SIN-LHR-SIN) in Y. Even though it's a decent trek, I don't mind the Y part. I'm not really going for work. Truth be told, I'm sort of goofing off. And hopefully, the upgrade gods smile on me for a couple of the legs, even though recent enquiries on ExpertFlyer show I have about as much chance of an upgrade as I do of getting Kate Hudson's phone number. It's only 4 x 7-hour flights. Or an 8-bottle trip. I mean really, how hard can it be? You see I'm going to have a look at a couple of hotels for the Dubai Do, meet a couple of the locals, check out some of the possible activities etc. Even talk to some of the nice folks at EK. Well, that's the intent. I might simply end up drinking heavily and passing out in the lounge. Any lounge. I don't care. Actually, I'm not a huge fan of the DXB airport. It's enormous for one. Actually the single biggest terminal in the world, if you believe the PR spin. And two, the EK Business Lounge is like a small city. I suppose the food is ok. And yes, you can bathe in Moet if you want. But as far as atmosphere is concerned, it's about as welcoming as a colonoscopy. Or something like that. See, EK is somewhat of a victim of it's own success in. Especially at it's desert hub. Flights from all over the world descend on Dubai and start landing from 3am onwards. The place is a mad house until around 9am. This happens every day. It's relentless. That 6 hours or so in the main Business lounge is bedlam. It's nearly impossible to find a seat, the showers look like a college fraternity filmed a wild wild wet episode in there and don't even start me about the bathrooms. You even have to queue in the mens - and not for the standing up part. For the sitting down stuff. It's a little barbaric. While we're on the subject of bathrooms and since it's just you and me talking - and we've gotten to know each other a little better these past few months, I'll let you in on a little secret. I don't like going to the bathroom on airplanes. I'm not talking about number 1's. I'm talking about number 2's. I know this is a little crass, but let me explain. See, I have this fear. Actually it's more than that. Paranoia more likely my family says. It started years back. A long time ago, I used to live in the US. And I used to travel heavily out of the midwest back to Asia. Too frequently. One particular year, I was flying to NRT every month from ORD. Thankfully, I had a real job back then and my tickets were always booked in J/Z/D. I remember it like yesterday. My mother-in-law was still living with us as our son had just been born. This particular night, we had mexican for dinner. Now, I've always been a fan of chili and hot stuff and on a trip to Kansas, discovered a little bottle of something called "Dave's Insanity Sauce". Comes in a similar size bottle as Tabasco. However, that, my humble friends, is where the similarities end. Go do me a favour and look up Dave's concoction on the interweb. Check it out for yourself if you don't believe me. Here, I'll even give you the link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave's_Gourmet See, I told you. On the label, and I quote, this is what it says... "A great cooking ingredient for sauces, soups and stews. Also strips waxed floors and removes driveway grease stains. Enjoy!" Seriously. That's word for word. Being a typical male, I didn't read the label before I liberally applied the sauce to my tacos. I remember taking that first bite. And then the second. There was a delayed reaction. But then it was like a volcano erupted inside me. My legs actually started to shake. Then my stomach boiled. I think my large intestine tried to run and hide in the small one. Or something like this. I started gasping. For air. Then for anything cold. I thought I was going to die. That capsicum extract was the hottest thing I had ever, ever eaten in my life. The pain was intense. My face was bright red, I felt like I had stripped out the inside of my mouth and I was sure I had lost the ability to taste anything again. Ever. Meanwhile, my wife and mother-in-law were laughing hysterically. At me. I suddenly wondered what was the punishment for accidentally shooting an in law in the head with a Benelli Tactical 12-gauge shotgun but thought better of it. And besides, where we lived (in Nebraska) it was too much paperwork. I don't reckon I slept a wink all night. I tossed and turned, groaning in pain from dusk till dawn. When I finally got up, I was certain my critical organs within my stomach had all but dissolved. That morning, I gingerly drove myself to the airport to catch my flight to ORD and then onwards to NRT. I had upgraded myself to F using a SWU, so life was good. And it was back in the day when UA International F wasn't actually a bad place to be. Before the accountants got a hold of it. So there I am, minding my own business, about 2 hours out of ORD. Winging my way towards the land of Geisha Girls and Sushi. One of my favourite cities in all the world. Then it starts. The stomach pains. The grumbling. The fear that I was going to give birth to something. I thought if I break wind any more, they're going to have to deploy the oxygen masks. I couldn't hold on any longer. I made a mad dash for the bathroom. The crew didn't bat an eyelid. Probably because they were asleep. Now, from this point, I'm going to spare you all the details. Because you just really don't want to know. And besides, you might be trying to eat. But suffice to say, it wasn't pretty in there. "Lord, Jesus, Help me. Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord…" I kept yelling, as I was clinging to the toilet with both hands. The devil himself wouldn't have survived in that small confined space. I was trying to find a candle to light. Or open the window. I think I lost consciousness. Three times. Then there was a knock on the door. "Mr. Eightblack, are you alright?" came an inquiring voice . "Go away", I said in a nervous panic "Are you sure you're ok?" the woman persisted "No, I'm not. I've just lost my kidneys and a good part of my liver. Along with my stomach lining" "What?" "Never mind" "You haven't got any more air freshener have you?" I enquired I was thinking a high pressure hose would have been more appropriate at this point. Then I said to myself, Oh my God, I've managed to destroy the entire First Class bathroom on a United 747-400. The cleaners are going to be pi55ed when we actually get to Narita. Imagine the paperwork and the corresponding conversation with Chicago. "Hello, NRT operations?" "Yes" "Why are showing an indicated delay on 875 to SIN?" "Exploding toilet" "What?" "You heard me. Some moron in F, really Shanghai-ed the toilet" "How?" "No idea, but it looks like Area 51 back there. The whole bathroom needs replacing" "The cleaners are all in Hazmat suits, the caterers are refusing to board and the inbound crew are currently talking to the local grief counselors" I had visions of my Mileage Plus number being flagged in the system, with a note saying that I have been banned from long-haul travel until further notice. Or something (like this). Or that. I don't care. Because I'd flushed the toilet so many times, I was convinced the low water light was blinking hysterically in the cockpit. And I'd been in there so long, I think I missed a movie and a complete meal service. I wasn't even sure if I could stand up. I felt like Danny Glover in that Lethal Weapon movie where the crooks place a bomb under the toilet and he has to wait for Mad Mel to show up and rescue him. There were now 3 nosey women on the other side of the door. The knocking morphed into loud, impatient banging. "Go away, there's been an incident in here", I said as authoritatively as I could "What sort of incident?" said one of the now semi concerned FA's "A serious one. Catastrophic in fact. You're going to need to take notes after this. And then call the EPA" Thankfully, I managed to compose my somewhat shaken body, clean myself up enough and summons the courage to leave the confines of the bathroom. I must have been at least 15 pounds lighter. I slowly opened the door and peeked outside into the galley. 6 pairs of very large eyes greeted me. Which belonged to the 3 rather rotund UA crew members. Who were now watching me with morbid fascination. The only thing I could think of saying was that I had a bad case of food poisoning. Which wasn't totally untrue. As I returned to my seat, I glanced over my shoulder to see one of the women gingerly enter the the lavatory. I prayed that she didn't close the door behind her, convinced that if she did, she would promptly faint. Or burst into tears. Maybe both. Thankfully, neither occurred. Which now brings me neatly to the point of this rather tasteless recap. You see, the reason I dislike going to the bathroom on airplanes is because of the following. What if you're in the bathroom and the flight hits severe turbulence? It happens a lot on the way to Japan you know. Imagine 400 people disembark in Tokyo and there you are, being ferried to customs and immigration on a golf cart, with a cheap UA blanket wrapped around you, your clothes in a bag and your skin, from your head to your toes, has turned completely blue as a result of your violent agitation in an airline bathroom. And you just know the Japanese wouldn't do this discretely. There'd be 15 people around, all wearing face masks, yelling and screaming to each other, blowing whistles, spraying stuff. The mind reels to think at the fun they would have with a scenario like this. Worst still is what if you are in the toilet and the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes. I'm not scared of dying. What petrifies me is your family having to identify your remains from a bucket of blue liquid. So there. That's the reason. I've told you now. Can we move on? And anyway, enough of this nonsense. I have no idea how we came to talk about this. I think you started it, not me. Lets push on then… Back to my ticketing dilemma. As I described above, I'm flying to DXB for 2-days, then to London for a few days then straight home to SIN. No stopping on the return. For some strange reason, if you ticket out of CMB (Columbo), ticket prices drop like an anvil. I have no idea why. Especially in the premium cabins. Let me show you. Ok, so my coach ticket from SIN to LHR with a stopover in DXB on the way over is SGD$1600 If I fly from CMB to DXB, then onto LHR, and then back again - the ticket price is SGD$4600. In First on the way over. And Business on the return. It means I can fly the A380 in F from DXB to LHR. Which would be perfect as I've not yet been in F on the big bird. Yes, I can hear the naysayers. But you've still got to get yourself from SIN to CMB. That's true. But a round trip from SIN-CMB-SIN is under SGD$500. And the flight from SIN-CMB continues onto DXB anyway. And if I priced a F itinerary on the way over and a J on the return out of SIN (ie SIN-DXB-LHR-SIN), the fare would be an eye watering SGD$7500. Which is still pretty good value compared with what you might pay on QF/BA/LH/SQ etc. Ok, ok, these carriers offer direct flights between SIN and LHR, but remember, I have to go to Bling City anyway. Whatever way you do the math, ticketing out of Columbo is anywhere from 35-50% cheaper. Ok, its a bit more of a hassle because it adds a stop. But its not like I'm in a huge rush. I'm not deep undercover on a mileage run. And unlike Xmas, weather related issues are highly unlikely. I've also just had a client issue come up, and they are based in the UK. So I may very well be able to legitimately charge the whole trip to work. In which case, I might even try and ticket in F out of CMB. At least this way, if I do have to go to the bathroom again, there's a shower onboard the A380. I've never actually spent time in DXB, so am looking forward to it. And London is one of my favorite cities. In addition, thanks to FT and a couple of enterprising members, I have found a great family and friends rate at one of my all time favorite hotels. I'm not going to tell you which one it is because you'll think I'm a snob. I don't care. At my age, I need to take care of myself. Finally, one of the BA mods sent me a PM yesterday. It went something like this... "I'd be delighted to take you out and get very very drunk! My little black book does most things from civil to exceedingly seedy and all stations in between..." I'll let you guess which option I chose. More to come... PS. I may, just may be convinced to take some photos this trip. I normally don't like to have any evidence of where I've been though…let me think about it.