Emirates opens its online check-in 48 hours before departure, so I checked in when prompted. Two days later, I arrived at Heathrow T3 at 1730 for my EK004 flight departing 2040. Bag drop and check-in was in area F, where there was a short but fast-moving queue. I was processed quickly, and cleared security within 15 minutes.
I was able to board the aircraft directly from Emirates’ business class lounge – I had arranged access to review the lounge, which you can see here. From the lounge, the boarding queue splits off at different doors, with business and first class boarding the upper deck and economy the lower. I was on board within ten minutes and in my seat shortly after. A blanket and headphones were provided along with a series of colourful stickers that could be stuck on the seat, requesting crew to wake you for meals, duty free, or to not disturb you.
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. I was in 46C, at the front of the cabin.
The ICE IFE system has a fantastic 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. I bought the 150MB package after using up my first 20MB, but the connection was too slow to surf the web or download files, allowing me only to receive and send emails and Whatsapp messages.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE
Seat selection is free via Emirates’ dedicated tool, 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.
The doors closed and we pushed back 15 minutes late at 2055, finally taking off at 2115. A dinner menu had been passed around before take-off, and the meal was served about an hour and fifteen minutes in at 2230. On the menu was a choice of chicken in mushroom sauce served with gnocchi, green beans and carrots, or braised beef with horseradish, mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach and carrots.
I chose the chicken and gnocchi, which was flavourful and well cooked. A fruit of the forest crumble with berries and custard mousse accompanied, along with a bread roll with butter, cheese and crackers, served with proper cutlery. Coffee and tea were offered afterwards, and cups of water were brought round during the flight. Crew were personable and extremely accommodating.
After the meal was cleared about an hour later, I watched a few films and tried to get some sleep. There was plenty of legroom and enough space to rest your head on the tray table. I slept for a few hours on and off, before rousing when the captain came on the tannoy at 0545 local time to tell us that we’d be landing in 40 minutes. I was told that teas, coffees and biscuits had been served while I was asleep.
We landed at Dubai International airport at 0640. Being close to the door, I disembarked quickly and passed through immigration within ten minutes. It took about 20 minutes for bags to start arriving on the carousel, but once mine did, I was through to arrivals at 0715.
A seamless flight, with outstanding service and excellent food. Though the wifi was a little slow, the film and audio selection provided more than enough entertainment.