I arrived at Dubai International airport at 1345 for my 1545 departure. I hadn’t checked in online, so went directly to area 5, which is dominated by a long line of Emirates check-in desks, before heading through security. There was a short queue here, but I was processed quickly and was through to departures by 1405.
At 1500, the display screen showed that boarding had started at gate B17. There was a queue, but I was in my seat, 43C at the front of the cabin, by 1525. I was offered a choice of apple or orange juice, and provided an amenity kit containing a blanket and over-ear headphones.
Emirates’ A380 has 517 economy seats, configured 3-4-3 (A-C, D-F-G, H-K). The seat is upholstered in grey, orange and lavender fabric and has a winged, adjustable headrest. There is also a drinks holder on the underside of the tray table that folds out when the table is stowed. Above this, a games controller is recessed into the back of the seat in front, next to a USB port for charging devices.
The ICE in-flight entertainment system has a good range of films, with some categorised by theme and series. There were Fast and the Furious, Alien and Marvel collections, alongside new releases and a wide range of TV programmes, albums and podcasts. Wifi is free for the first 20MB, (this must be used within the first two hours of logging in), and US$9.99 for 150 MB, or US$15.99 for 500MB.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE
Seat selection is free via Emirates’ dedicated tool, which is available after ticket purchase, or during online check-in. Seats at the bulkhead have more legroom, though in general I thought the pitch was quite generous at 33 inches. The toilets are next to the cockpit up a flight of stairs, so if you’re at the front of the cabin, you might get people queuing along the aisle next to you, though there is more legroom at the front. The two galleys are halfway down the cabin and at the rear of the aircraft, so seats 65-68 and 78-81 might be noisier while food is being prepared.
We pushed back on time at 1545 and took off at 1600. Dinner was served an hour later at 1700 – I chose the lamb curry with wild rice and roasted vegetables, which was delicious, and came with a potato salad, bread roll, cheese and crackers and a berry compote cake.
I watched a film and read for the rest of the flight, and was only interrupted at 1800 GMT when crew came around with the afternoon tea service. This was a pleasant surprise, and though I wasn’t in the least hungry, I enjoyed the warm scone with clotted cream and Bonne Maman jam, along with dainty finger sandwiches. Crew were exceptionally warm and accommodating throughout the flight.
An hour later at 1920 GMT, the captain announced that we would start our descent in ten minutes. We landed at 2010. Being at the front of the aircraft, I was one of the first to disembark and was through to baggage reclaim by 2025. Our bags took a while to come through, and I finally got mine at 2040.
A very enjoyable flight, with quality food and drink and friendly, attentive crew.