To read a review of the previous flight from London Gatwick to Dubai International aboard an Emirates A380 in business class, click here.
I had arrived on a London Gatwick flight into Terminal A at Dubai International, and so visited the large business class lounge in Terminal A.
On arriving at the top floor I was told my onward flight to Hong Kong in fact departed from Terminal B, which was a 15-minute journey away by train. I had a couple of hours, so decided to sit down in this lounge before moving on.
The lounge is huge, with a large restaurant area, many sitting areas and a business centre. It was very busy at this time of the morning (0700) and although there was a good selection of both hot and cold food, I wasn’t hungry since I was still on UK time so it was the early hours of the morning for me.
Instead, I had a couple of coffees to stay awake and did some work. During this time the lounge seemed to quieten as people departed for their early morning flights.
I stayed for about an hour and then went down to the main concourse level and took the transit train from the departures level to Terminal B, and the B gates, and set about finding the lounge over there.
Again, this involves a lot of walking, and I think if you were regularly using Dubai as a hub you would definitely want to have wheels on whatever bag you are using.
The lounge over at Terminal B is a similar size to that in A (very large), but was quieter than that lounge, so I relaxed and did some more work. The free wifi seemed to be quicker, perhaps because less people were using it.
Flights are called from this lounge but I walked down to Gate B25 early and, shortly after getting there, boarding commenced, so I was one of the first onto the aircraft.
I’d thought that the flight number (EK0380) might indicate that this would be an A380, but in fact it was a B777-300ER registration number A6-EGC. To view a seatplan, click here.
This is a three-class aircraft with economy, business and first. The seats are roomy, and have a generous pocket below the inflight entertainment screen for magazines.
Note that if you are in an aisle seat, as passengers board you will be struck by their carry-on bags as they walk past, so make sure to lean in.
Waiting on the seat were headphones and a bag containing eye mask and flight socks — you have to ask for ear plugs separately. Amenity bags are handed out after take-off.
This seat has been around for many years, so this review does not describe it in great detail, since we have many reviews here.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
There are two business class cabins — a small one of two rows, rows 6 and 7, and then the main cabin with rows 8, 9, 10 and 11.
The configuration of 2-3-2 (AB-DEF-JK) means there is no perfect seat. You should, of course, avoid the middle seat (E), and the aisle seats either side of that (D or F) mean there is a chance of being disturbed when the passenger in E wishes to get out to the aisle.
Window seat A and aisle seat B.
The window seats (A and K) have the view, and also more protection from the aisle, but you have to climb over the person next to you in B and J. If you are in those aisle seats (B and J) you have the aisle, but you also might be disturbed by the passenger in the window seat climbing over you and also passengers passing up and down the aisle.
I was lucky in 10D because there was no one in the middle seat (E).
I think it’s worth a gamble to go for seats D and F because the middle seats are the last to be filled; so if the flight isn’t full, there’s a chance you won’t have anyone beside you.
I said I was lucky in my seat, but the helpful cabin services director soon told me there was a problem with the in-seat power, and also the IFE, and offered a different seat.
So I was moved forward into the front business class cabin to another aisle seat, this time on the other aisle — 6F, right at the front.
This is also a good seat, since in front of you is first class and you are distant from the galley noise (a problem for row 7 in this cabin, I think). There is also very little foot fall coming forward since the washrooms are behind you.
Obviously, I was unlucky with the IFE, since the large handheld controller was very slow and didn’t always work, often just displaying the message “Loading in progress”. This meant the only way of controlling the IFE was leaning forward to the bulkhead, something impossible to do if the table is out and you are working or eating, or have reclined the seat.
While I waited for take-off, I worked and watched the footage from the onboard camera in the nose of the plane which showed airport vehicles passing by.
The service was immediately impressive, much more so than on the A380 flight from London Gatwick (to read that review, click here). The staff were good at introducing themselves, chatted and smiled.
The flight time was just under seven hours and 55 minutes.
Shortly after take-off the drinks orders were taken, and when the drinks arrived, the meal order was taken.
The menu was as follows:
- Traditional Arabic mezze including hoummous, moutabal, muhammara, shanklish salad with tomato and onion, tabouleh and aubergine makdous wedge
- Oriental wasabi chicken served with vegetable salad with glass noodles, wasabi mayonnaise, roasted cherry tomato and lime wedge
- Roasted tomato soup served with plain fried croutons
- Seasonal salad
- Grilled beef steak served with truffle jus lie, roasted crushed new garlic potatoes, sautéed spinach and roasted red cherry tomato on the vine
- Roast chicken served with orange hot bean sauce, vegetable fried rice and blanched kalian and spring onions
- Shrimp in hoisin sauce served with steamed jasmine rice, blanched broccoli, steamed carrots and vegetable glaze sauce
- Sesame rice pudding in tart with raspberries and lychee compote
- Chocolate ganache cake served with cherry compote, raspberry and chocolate garnish
Cheese board and a selection of fruit
- Moet and Chandon, Brut Imperial
- Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay 2012, Adelaide Hills
- Peregrine Pinot Gris 2013, Central Otago
- Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2005, Saint Julien (red)
- Te Muna Road Pinot Noir, Craggy Range 2011, Martinborough (red)
- Ferreira 10 Year Old White Port, Douro
Since this was a day flight, starting in the morning at Dubai (and early morning UK-time) but arriving at night in Hong Kong, I didn’t want to sleep for too long, but still managed about two hours after lunch.
I then worked out how to use the second handset for the IFE navigating a cursor around the main screen. This was much easier and quicker, and so I watched a film.
The flight went quickly. Before landing we were offered another meal service — called Light Bites, although again both the choice and the size of the proportions were generous.
There was a choice of:
- Selection of sandwiches
- Steak and mushroom pie
- Mixed vegetable pad Thai
- Nasi goreng (with chicken)
- Meringue and walnut mousse cake.
I had the nasi goreng, and I’m afraid to say ate most of it before remembering to take a photo, but it was lovely.
There were no delays coming into Hong Kong and no problems with disembarkation or baggage.
A good flight. The hub experience at Dubai is fine, but there was a lot of walking and transitting, even allowing for the train ride.
This second flight was a good experience, although the IFE was not great and there was no wifi onboard (while there had been on the A380 night flight over to Dubai). Service was excellent, friendly and personable.