22nd October 2015 at 13:00 #578023
Anonymous22nd October 2015 at 13:00 #578024
Review of Emirates flight 9th Sept Auckland to Heathrow in First Class A380
EK 407 dep Auckland 17.30 brief stop in Melbourne arriving Dubai 5.30.
Connecting with EK 029 from Dubai arriving Heathrow 14.20.
There is a slightly earlier connecting flight but a leisurely disembark followed by 3 hours in a First Class lounge seemed preferable to the shorter but slightly worrying connection involving delays and running for trains at Dubai to change concourses.
Before the flight
We eschew the chauffeur drive option as we have a rental car to return.
The Emirates lounge in Auckland is quite something, very light and spacious with comfortable leather chairs, more magazines and newspapers than WH Smith and food worthy of top restaurants. From open sandwiches of lobster or roast beef, at least 5 hot dishes, glasses of Eton Mess, superb cheeseboard.
No announcements are made so we stroll to our gate and are able to board immediately.
These are suites 2K & 2E in the middle of the cabin. You lose out on a window but perfect if you’re not travelling alone because the divider can be lowered to communicate.
Behind each lie flat bed is a full size pillow, a mattress and a duvet (blanket if you prefer) ready for use when you want to sleep. There are 2 air vents, 3 forms of lighting, a writing kit, a soft drinks mini bar, a basket of chocolate and crisps snacks and a vase of fresh flowers.
The seat and suite doors are controlled by arm rest buttons for the basics (landing, eating etc) and also on your iPad for smaller adjustments (7 seat points, 4 seat vibrating strengths, light intensity etc)
The space is huge, so much so that you can store a fair size suitcase at the side of the bed when it’s fully extended. The TV screen is about 16 inches wide
The arm rests open to reveal storage for the little items like specs and earrings.
The crew are warm and friendly, introduce themselves and offer to show how the suite works (we availed ourselves of this on the outward journey so no need this time). We take delivery of headphones (noise cancelling of course), pyjamas (very soft and comfy), slippers (3 different sizes), Bulgari amenity kits (men’s and women’s differ but are full of smart stuff). Choice of juice or fizz (or both) also a tray of dates (plain or almond) with Arabic coffee (not at all like coffee). We take off on time.
The ICE system (Information Communication Entertainment)
This is accessed on the iPad docked at your fingertips. You can use it docked or handheld
All the details of your flight are available at the press of a button including views from the 3 outside cameras (fun for take-off and landing especially with a pilot’s eye view)
They advertise 2000 channels of entertainment, lots of new movies and the usual TV and audio fare. When you are flying for 29 hours or so then you could take advantage of the boxed sets.
Everyone has to disembark and take all carry-on stuff. A short walk to security, a very cursory X-ray and we’re through to another Emirates lounge. Again very spacious and airy, nice to get an hour or so of fresh air before boarding again. The departure gate is nearby and we’re soon back on board with a new crew offering all the same pyjamas, slippers, dates etc plus this time a shower schedule card (more about that later)
Depart on time, First Class is almost full now (just 4 of us on the first leg)
These are enormous, at least 3 maybe 4 times the size of a normal aircraft loo. Room to sit to change, every toiletry need neatly packaged. Cotton towels, superior brand soap and stuff. There appears to be a ‘secondary’ crew of 2 or 3 who look after this aspect of the flight, their uniforms though obviously Emirates are more utilitarian than the crew ‘on show’
Food & Drink
All a la carte, anything from the vast menu at any time up until one hour of landing. Huge choice from breakfast to dinner. Just ask! Menus are on the Emirates website, the Arabic mezze was different and delicious.
Press the knife & fork button in the armrest and your seat slides forward to your large dining table which lifts out after another button press
Showers on board
You are asked if you would like one and at what time. Secondary crew supervise this and someone is always standing outside if anyone is in the shower. We did have a problem – an hour of turbulence kept everyone seatbound so the schedule ran very late meaning that those who just wanted to use the bathroom found the occupied light on constantly. Secondary crew have to clean after each shower too which added to the time. We decided to wait and shower in the lounge.
Arrival at Dubai
Chaotic, we’d been given our Fast Track cards for security but the guy who opened the line then encouraged everyone to use it!
Through security, find which departure gate we need, board the train to Concourse A, follow the signs and take the lift up to the First Class Lounge.
Amazing! Truly amazing! The First Class lounge spans the length of the ‘A’ Terminal which is 12 Gates, we are Gate 10 so it’s a long walk. There are walk-in showers with fluffy bath towels and as before anything you would like to eat or drink delivered to your seat. The lounge has it’s own Duty Free area and free Wifi. Then the absolute joy is you walk straight onto the aircraft from the lounge – through a gate, down a short ramp and you’re at your seat. The terminal is so designed for the A380
The Dubai to Heathrow flight is more of the same, incredible space and service. Arrive on time, quite refreshed and certainly not hungry. Congratulations Emirates. The experience was impressive in every respect, not cheap but First Class never is.
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