When I was a child, I was fascinated by aquatic planes. Half sea creature, half bird, it was my dream to fly in one – so, when I was given the chance to view Dubai from the air, and in a seaplane, no less, I jumped at the opportunity. People usually brave tiny planes to see glaciers and mountains, but in Dubai it’s the concrete and sand man-made marvels that make the jaw drop.
The 40-minute ‘Burj to Burj’ trip covers Dubai’s first, sail-shaped Burj and continues towards the really, really tall one. Our pilot, Andrew Kennedy, is a reliable-looking Fijian chap who has been flying for 13 years, and is able to reassure even the most nervous fliers.
As soon as we take off, I notice how attractive Dubai is from the sky, away from noise of the roads and construction. Starting at Jebel Ali, we see the suburb’s empty Palm and the ports, before hovering over Sheikh Zayed Road, the Marina and Emirates Hills (which is unbelievably green – imagine the DEWA bills). We then zoom across the Palm Jumeirah and the majestic Burj Al Arab, which seems even more regal from above.
The World Islands look like shipping hazards, although seeing the former show home now transformed into a private residence on the only developed island is a rare treat.
Next comes Jumeirah. Safa Park seems to take up half the suburb; I now feel much more righteous about my jaunts around it. We’re only able to view the Burj Khalifa from afar because of a new no-fly zone that has been imposed around it, although just behind the tower Dubai’s metropolis melts into desert near Business Bay, making for a spellbinding view. But the real highlight is the trip’s finale, flying over the dry docks and seeing the beautiful wooden boats in miniature. It’s this snapshot that will remain in my memory.
My only disappointment is how quickly the flight ends; in hindsight, I wish I’d spent less time obsessively snapping pictures and instead focused on taking in the vista of our spectacular city.
The 40-minute flight from Jebel Ali Golf Resort to Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club costs Dhs1,225 per person (www.seawings.ae).