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Emirates A380-800 business class

Published: 17/06/2014 - Filed under: Tried & Tested » Airlines » Tried & Tested » Tried & Tested » Airlines » Emirates »

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BACKGROUND

Emirates flies to and from Hong Kong three times daily — two of these flights are nonstop, while one travels via Bangkok. All flights are scheduled to be served with A380s.

However, when I flew out a few days previously it was on a B777-300ER. To read that review, click here. To read about the A380 flight from London Gatwick to Dubai, click here

The flight duration from Hong Kong to Dubai is around seven hours and 30 minutes.

CHECK-IN

I arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at 2200 having previously checked-in my bags at the city check-in in Central, so only had hand luggage at the airport.

I was quickly through security and immigration, and then took the shuttle train to the other end of the main terminal and looked for the Emirates Lounge, which my boarding card told me was at Gate 40. This is accessed by some escalators up one level.

Emirates Hong Kong Airport business class lounge

THE LOUNGE

This is a good size, with lots of hot and cold food and waitress service for drinks, although most people just simply helped themselves from the selection available. There is free wifi.

Since the lounge was only open until this final Emirates flight had departed, I was told that the flight would be called. I asked if they would wake anyone up who had fallen asleep to make sure they didn't miss the flight, and I was told they would, because only then could they go home.

BOARDING

Around 2345, before the flight was called, I walked down to Gate 60 where there was no queue and boarding had begun for both economy passengers and premium (business and first).

There was no delay getting on to the aircraft and then I walked to the back where my seat was. This was very efficiently done, and put all the passengers in a good mood.

I sat down and after about ten minutes drinks were served (apple or orange juice or Champagne – there was a bottle of Voss water and the mini-bar by the side of the seat). I asked for my jacket to be hung up and waited for the flight to depart.

Emirates Inflight Entertainment

THE SEAT

To see a seatplan of this aircraft, click here.

There are two cabins of business class on this aircraft (registration A6-EDW) and I was in the one at the rear, close to the bar.

On a night flight like this, when I want to sleep, I might normally avoid this, but I wanted to try a window seat since these are larger and have more storage, and I had only been able to get an aisle seat on the other A380 flights I was taking.

The difference between an aisle seat and a window seat is immediately obvious. Not only are the seats longer, shown in the next photo with the two cushions, but they also have side storage compartments, particularly welcome when there are all the blankets and covers ready for sleeping later in the flight.

Emirates A380 business class extended leg rest

Roomier: Above is a window seat, which is larger than an aisle seat (below)

Emirates A380 business class shortened leg rest

Emirates A380 business class side compartment

In addition there is a larger compartment by the side of the seat, big enough for a laptop  or a tablet computer, although there's a warning that only magazines should be stored there for take-off and landing.

There is in-seat power for laptops and other devces, but you need a European or US-style plug for these (on the B777-300ER a three-pronged UK plug fitted as well).

Note that we have reviewed these seats many times, so this flight concentrates on the ability to sleep and also the transfer process.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

As stated in the previous review, definitely the window seats — they have more room, more storage, and the only possible downside is having smaller overhead lockers when compared with the middle seats, but then no one is stopping you using those instead, or as well.

The rear cabin has the possibility of being disturbed by people at the bar, or by noisy flight attendants whose voices carry, maybe because of the bar area which echoes the sound. I noticed on previous flights that the rear row, row 26 in this configuration, is often empty, perhaps for that reason.

The menu was as follows

Light bites

  • Sandwiches including smoked trout with crushed black pepper on French bread, Cajun spiced shredded beef, cream cheese on Pumpernickel bread.

Hot snacks

  • Toasted focaccia bread sandwich with beef tenderloin and mixed leaves
  • Spinach and ricotta tortellini
  • Assorted dim sum

Desserts

 

  • Marble cheesecake
  • Fruit tartlet
  • Chocolate sacher torte

 

Wines

  • Moet and Chandon (Champagne)
  • Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay 2012, Adelaide Hills (white)
  • Peregrine Pinot Gris 2013 (white)
  • Les Fiefs de Lagragne 2005, Saint Julien (red)
  • Te Muna Road Pinot Noir, Craggy Range 2011, Martinborough (red)

Port

  • Ferreira ten-year-old white port, Douro

I wanted to sleep so didn't have this meal, but asked if I could have breakfast. I was told that this would be about two hours before landing, which sounded quite early considering the duration of the flight, so I asked not to be woken for that meal either.

I then reclined the seat and slept for four hours. On waking up, I decided to have the Continental breakfast, which came with a lovely cappuccino and then some breakfast tea.

The breakfast menu consisted of fruit juices, breakfast fruits and yoghurt and these mains choices:

  • Swiss cheese omelette
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Stir-fried noodles
  • Cold meats and cheese

Around 40 minutes before landing the captain said that we would possibly be held in the holding pattern.

About this time our jackets were returned, but since the seat has nowhere to hang a jacket, the flight attendant offered to put this on the empty seat behind me in row 26.

ARRIVAL

We landed slightly early at Dubai International at 0425 local time (0825 Hong Kong time), but the airport wasn't ready for us and so we waited for about ten minutes for our stand.

Disembarkation was slow, since we were on a remote stand, and so we had to file the length of the upper deck, down the stairs at the front and then down stairs to waiting buses. You can see the economy passengers waiting for us to complete this.

Emirates disembarking at Dubai

There was then a long, ten-minute bus ride around the airport, where there is obviously a lot of construction work, and then we waited to go through security to get into the terminal.

Security was slow. By now it was 0510, so I was glad my connection was not tight.

Dubai Airport security queue

After going through security we went up some escalators and were presented with the choice of walking down a long slope towards the C gates, or up some more escalators towards A and B gates.

Since I did not know where my next Gate was, I asked someone, and they walked with me down the slope towards the C gates to look at the big screen. They told me that I would need a B gate, so I walked back up the slope, and then up the escalators. From there, it was a short walk to the business class lounge.

I took the lift up and then waited a couple of minutes to access the lounge while the receptionist dealt with the passengers in front of me. In fact, she ignored me until the queue behind me was so long she had to break off and deal with us. I was in the lounge by about 0525, 60 minutes after landing.

Although I had entered by a different door, this is the same business class lounge I had used on the way out to Hong Kong a few days earlier, but it is so huge you can explore for a while before you realise this.

VERDICT

A good flight — friendly service, and more personalised than on the previous Emirates A380 flight I had taken. Serving breakfast two hours before landing is too early, however.

The hub experience at DUbai was poor, but at least I had three hours to kill, two of which were in the comfortable lounge, once I had reached it.

emirates.com

Tom Otley

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COMMENTS » 

talparis - 20/06/2014 05:44

Dubai hub is very difficult to negotiate and signs are not clear and the sheer size of it makes it an unfriendly place.

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