Emigrating in style – 9K on EK016 LGW to DXB – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter
I recently took a job in Hong Kong, swapping the grey skies of London for a life-changing experience in the fascinating Asian city. For my big life transition, I treated myself to Emirates (EK) business class and an upstairs berth in one of the carrier’s Airbus A380-800s. Taking a slightly more scenic route meant an overall journey time of roughly 16.5 hours (versus approx. 12 hours on a direct flight from the UK). That also included a 2.5 hour stopover in Dubai (DXB) en route. I decided to experience transiting the city for the first time ever, and also wanted to take advantage of their checked baggage allowance. I was not shipping possessions separately to Hong Kong. However, I mainly wanted to sit upstairs on the big bird!
Emirates A380 Bar/Lounge – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
In part one of my review, I covered the standard features of the first class suite and product on-board the Emirates A380. In part two, I will cover the unique features of the Emirates A380 available to premium class passengers including the Business Class bar/lounge.
For first and business class passengers, the bar at the rear of the main deck is the place to be and be seen on any A380 flight. It is truly a unique experience and comes complete with a dedicated bartender who will mix up your favorite drink.
Whilst first class passengers get their own bar at the front of the cabin, it tends to be a bit lonely and there is no where to sit; thus, I recommend the business class bar at the back. While the business bar does not have the same high-end beverages as at the first class bar, the crew will happily bring these premium beverages to you when you are in the business bar.
While the first class bar has a wide range of premium beverages, it lacks the atmosphere of the business class bar – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The bar is set up in a fashion akin to what I have seen on many private jets. There is the central bar with lounge seating on either side; this can accommodate up to five passengers on each lounge. In addition to the lounge seating, there is also ample space at the exits which have a standing bar arrangement with a table affixed to the exit which is quite handy when the lounge seating is occupied.
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
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
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.
An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER – Photo: Emirates
In October of 2013, Emirates Airline became the first “Fifth Freedom” carrier to fly between New York City and Milan in Italy. This allowed a stop between New York and Dubai in the Italian city would help to increase services between not only Italy and Dubai, but also the United States and Italy.
Unfortunately, that service has barely been in operation seven months, and Emirates has come under fire from competing airlines, leading to the possible cancellation of the route.
A Qantas and Emirates A380 Fly in Formation over the Sydney Opera House – Photo: Qantas Airways
On Easter Sunday in Sydney, many families spent time to calm down the sugar loaded children while the sun hides amongst the clouds in the southern autumn (fall). Yet in the sky, a unique event happened, never seen before.
To commemorate the start of the partnership between Qantas & Emirates the two airlines decided to hold a special event. At 10:30am, at 1500ft above the Sydney Harbor Bridge an A380 from Qantas, flew in formation with a second A380 from Emirates. This is the first time in aviation history that not only did two A380s flew in formation, but also two from different airlines.
An Emirates A380 flies High and to the Right of the Qantas A380 – Photo: Bernard Proctor
’œThe sight of two of the world’s great airlines flying two of the world’s largest aircraft so close together over Sydney Harbor is a once in a lifetime opportunity,’ said Captain Green Chief pilot for Qantas.
Pilots from both airlines have conducted dozens of special simulator training sessions since January this year. Emirates pilots came to Australia earlier this month to conduct joint sessions in Qantas’ A380 simulator in Sydney and conducted several more practice runs over the past few days.
As VH-OQF (from Qantas) & A6-EDY (from Emirates) flew over Sydney Harbor they used the call sign ’œSeismic’ because Emirates President Tim Clark said ’œthe partnership between Qantas and Emirates will cause a seismic shift in global aviation.’
The two A380s fly over the Iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge – Photo: Bernard Proctor
The Qantas & Emirates partnership is game changing, as it sees the end of the dominant force on the ’œKangaroo Route’ from London to Australia via Singapore. That traditional route was maintained by an agreement between British Airways (IAG) and Qantas for over 15 years. Although Qantas & British Airways are oneworld partner airlines the joint agreement allowed them to coordinate pricing, services and flights between the UK & Australia. However when that agreement ended on the 31st of March, the Emirates partnership began.
With Qantas flying their A380s to London via Dubai, it allows Qantas customers access to 70 destinations in Europe with only one stop over the previous two. Emirates doesn’t come out of the deal empty handed, as they get access to the Qantas domestic network, which is by far the most comprehensive in Australia. Frequent flyer benefits and some on-board services have been aligned between the two carriers making this a true powerhouse to contend with.
The First time two Different Airlines have flown in Formation – Emirates & Qantas – Photo: Bernard Proctor
I can just imagine standing by the shoreline on Sydney Harbor seeing these two large aircraft flying in formation and being surrounded by a stunned crowd of AvGeeks, tourists & locals. It is only too bad that the sun and blue sky were not out.
||This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.
Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.
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