Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 345,636
2013: 330,818

Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 1

Emirates A380 short final at Sydney Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Emirates A380 short final at Sydney – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

EMIRATES AIRLINE FIRST CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Emirates Airline
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Departed: Sydney (SYD)
Arrived: Dubai (DXB)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: First Class
Seat: 2A
Length: About 14 hours

Not many people I know get too excited at the prospect of a 14-hour flight that leaves at 6:00 AM.  But when travelling in first class, even the 4:00 AM wake-up call is cause for excitement. I was recently fortunate enough to experience the first class product on-board Emirates’ A380 from Sydney to Dubai.

Most Emirates’ departures from Australia to Dubai are timed to leave at night; this did not appeal very much to me as when traveling first class I like to make the most of the experience, rather than just sleep though it. Luckily, Emirates had recently introduced the A380 product on their EK415 service, which departs Sydney at 6:00 AM with a 1:20 PM arrival to Dubai. This service is primarily targeted at connecting traffic onto the afternoon European services, which allow for a same-day evening arrival into Europe.

Emirates A380 first class suite, not a bad place to spend 14 hours Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Emirates A380 first class suite; not a bad place to spend 14 hours – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

I was happy to be staying at an airport hotel, meaning that I could afford to sleep in a little longer. Check-in at Sydney was completed with minimal fuss, and I was on my way to security within five minutes of entering the terminal.

Given the Qantas Emirates partnership, first class passengers traveling on Emirates flights have access to the Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney. Sadly, the lounge was still closed at this hour of the morning. I had to make do with the Emirates lounge – while it is still of a very high standard, it is not as good as the Qantas’ first lounge.

On board, I was welcomed by the purser and escorted to my seat. As this was my first time flying Emirates First Class, I was given a very comprehensive walk-through of all of the seat and cabin features. At this time, I also received my bvlgari amenity kit along with pajamas and slippers; all of this was very nicely presented in an Emirates-branded tote bag. This is probably the best and highest quality of in-flight amenities I have received on any carrier.

Continue reading Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 1

Photo Interior Tour of Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380

The premium cabin of Qatar's Airbus A380 is quite impressive - Photo: David Flynn | Australian Business Traveller

The premium cabin of Qatar’s Airbus A380 is quite impressive – Photo: David Flynn | Australian Business Traveller

Our friend David Flynn with Australian Business Traveller recently had the opportunity to check out Qatar’s impressive Airbus A380 product. Here is an snippet with a link to the full story on ABT. 

Step inside Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 for a look at the Gulf carrier’s new first class and business class cabin, the inflight bar and even the bathrooms.

Qatar’s first A380 will begin flights to London and Paris in October, but Australian Business Traveller enjoyed a first-hand look of the Gulf carrier’s superjumbo during its official delivery from Airbus.

The premium lounge on the upper deck of the Qatar Airbus A380 - Photo: David Flynn - Australian Business Traveller

The premium lounge on the upper deck of the Qatar Airbus A380 – Photo: David Flynn – Australian Business Traveller

The configuration is relatively standard: first class, business class and a lounge/bar on the top deck, along with a small economy cabin to the very rear, while the entire lower deck is given over to economy.

Read More and See MANY More Photos of the Qatar Airlines’ Airbus A380 on Australian Business Traveller

Flying First Class…On a United Q400

United Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 at Durango - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

United Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 at Durango – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

As a Silver Premier member with United Airlines (their lowest-level elite tier), getting a complementary first class upgrade happens almost as rarely as spotting a unicorn.  In a year and a half of being an elite, I’ve gotten two first class upgrades.  Recently, upgrade number two came in an unlikely form; on a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

That’s right, folks – United is offering a first class cabin on planes with propellers.  I caught my upgrade on a quick business trip from Denver (DEN) to Durango (DRO), Colorado.

All of United’s Q400s are actually operated by Republic Airlines, one of many regional carriers for UA.  They are configured with 71 seats; seven in first class, 10 in Economy Plus, and 54 in economy.  As to be expected on a regional plane, “first class” really only meant a wider seat, more legroom, and a free beer.  Well, we got some pretzels too.   Continue reading Flying First Class…On a United Q400

Flying Art: Experiencing Lufthansa’s 747-400 First Class

D-ABVS, my ride to FRA behind double-glazing. Photo- Bernie Leighton|AirlineReporter.com

D-ABVS, my ride to Frankfurt, behind double-glazing – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

As we all know, I am insane – I do stupid things, usually inspired by a picture I saw of something from years ago on the internet, fanning an intense jealous desire to have the same experience for myself. Why this is of any interest to the readership is because I consider getting there to be, at least, half the fun.

This time, I was off to UACC (IATA Code TSE, or as most people call it, Astana, Kazakhstan) to attend the third KADEX (also known as Kazakhstan’s defense expo). Originally, I was booked in Lufthansa business class for the Vancouver-Frankfurt portion of my itinerary, but after being informed by our Associate Editor that the aircraft I would be flying was not only rife with available first class seating, but that it was D-ABVS (an aircraft equipped with the new first), I felt it was my duty to exchange currencies of various forms and reasonable amounts for a soon-to-be vanishing experience.

Lufthansa, you see, is configuring these aircraft from three class (First, Business, Economy) into a different three class (Business, Premium Economy, and Economy). First class on a Lufthansa 747-400- will be gone for good soon- and I will sorely miss it.

Continue reading Flying Art: Experiencing Lufthansa’s 747-400 First Class

IMAGES: Qatar Airways Unveils its New Airbus A380 First Class

Qatar Airways new A380 First Class. Photo - Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways new A380 First Class – Photo: Qatar Airways

This week, Qatar Aiways unveiled what their new First Class product on the Airbus A380 will look like and it is impressive.

There are some immediate things that jump out and excite me beyond the hard statistics. The colors and branding fit right in with the overall Qatar Airways color palette. Many airlines, to their detriment, completely lose all branding in their premium cabin and begin to focus on creating an atmosphere that attempts to soothe the passenger away.

Qatar Airways’ first A380 took off from Toulouse on its maiden flight to Hamburg where the aircraft will be fitted with its cabin before being painted. Image: Airbus.

Qatar Airways’ first A380 before being fully painted – Photo: Airbus

There are some airlines that even make their premium cabins look like hospitals covered in billboards… but I won’t mention names.  It looks as if Qatar Airways has decided to create an elegant, welcoming living room-like atmosphere without losing their identity as an airline inside. As an aircraft interiors geek, I find this exciting.

Continue reading IMAGES: Qatar Airways Unveils its New Airbus A380 First Class