Friday, February 25, 2011

Emirates Business Class : EK406 Melbourne to Auckland on the Boeing 777-300ER


After flying Emirates back in 2008 on a return trip from Sydney to Bangkok I had acquired enough frequent flyer points to upgrade a Melbourne to Auckland ticket from economy to business class. I decided to take advantage of this and booked a cheap one way ticket which I immediately upgraded to business. It's only a little over 3 hours flying time but I was looking forward to trying out the EK product! The online upgrade process was quick and easy on emirates.com and I was able to select my new seat instantly.

I arrived at the airport a little after 6am for the 8am flight. The Emirates check-in desks certainly stand out with large billboards featuring attractive Emirates cabin crew inviting you to queue:


After check-in was complete I was through security and heading up the escalators to the Emirates Lounge which is a shared lounge for both First and Business passengers.

Emirates Lounge Entry Melbourne Airport

After a long night at work with zero sleep before the flight I was please to find they had shower facilities in the lounge. Unfortunately the water pressure was low, but it was enough to freshen me up before breakfast.

Shower Room - Emirates Lounge

lovely view from Emirates lounge

The Emirates lounge is located above the main terminal and has lovely views of the airport which is a nice change from the star alliance lounges located on the ground floor.

The first thing I noticed as I walked into the food and beverage area was the Moet and Veuve champagne in the refrigerator. Very impressive! I am a fan of Veuve myself so I went straight to it! I was intercepted on the way by one of the lounge staff who told me she would pour me a glass and bring it to my table. Fabulous service!
I helped myself to the breakfast buffet which was of a really high standard with lovely yoghurts, pastries and a good selection of hot food including eggs, hash browns and mushrooms. By the time I got to my table with an airport view my champagne was waiting for me and everytime I finished a glass the lovely waitress would bring me a refill.

What a pleasant way to spend the morning, sipping on champagne and having a great breakfast while plane spotting. This was to be my first breakfast for the day, with the second breakfast waiting for me on board.... that is if the aircraft shows up on time! The inbound flight from Dubai had been delayed and it appeared we would be departing late on the Auckland flight.
The delay certainly didn't bother me, as I was quite content to just sit there with the champagne and look out the window, despite feeling very tired from lack of sleep. Eventually our Boeing 777-300ER landed and made it's way to the terminal.


My aircraft arrives from Dubai



























With about an hour's delay we were finally called to board the flight so off I went to the gate for my first Emirates business class experience.

I was welcomed on board by the multi national crew and directed to the second aisle and to my seat in the 2nd cabin, seat 9K. The seats are angled lie flats with wireless hand held seat controls and very large entertainment screens. I soon settled in and was offered a newspaper, I took the Herald Sun for a quick read before takeoff.

My jacket was collected and hung soon after I had settled in, and I had a welcome glass of Moet. A nice feature is the entertainment system that displays your seat number digitally on the screen in front of you.

Although there is no amenity kit on this short sector the crew did hand out socks and eye shades and the lavatories had a supply of amenities if required.

I spent a few minutes using the electronic controlled window shades, with the press of a button the shades can be raised or lowered, or there is a see through shade as well if you would like partial light. Nice novelty that I had not seen before!

















The menu's were handed out and today breakfast was on offer. There was 3 choices, a breakfast grill, a swiss cheese omelette or french toast. Not a bad menu at all. If you weren't very hungry there was a cheese plate on offer as well.




Eventually we pushed back and made our way to Runway 34 for takeoff, about 1 hour and 20 mins behind schedule. The flying time was just over 3 hours to Auckland.

Soon after takeoff I started playing around with the seat controls which are found on a small screen beside the seat. You can pick up the screen and use it wirelessly as a remote control for your inflight entertainment as well as for adjusting your seat. I was fortunate enough to have the seat beside me so I had plenty of room to spread out.

I found the seat quite comfortable and although it does not go fully flat it seemed quite pleasant enough to sleep on. The 'ICE' inflight entertainment system from Emirates is one of the most, if not THE most comprehensive in the sky with literally thousands of options. It is very hard to get bored on an EK flight!

As we reached a higher altitude the crew commenced inflight service. A table cloth was placed on my table followed by this meal tray:


The bread basket was on offer as well as some nice strong coffee. I took a piece of fruit toast, although it was more fruit bread than fruit toast, could have been cooked a little bit more but it was still good!

Presentation overall was good although putting the yoghurt in a bowl might have been a nice touch. The fruit and yoghurt were both very tasty and once I had finished them, the main meal was delivered. I had the mixed grill which hit the spot quite well. The small piece of steak was juicy and tender. Two thumbs up! The bread basket was offered a couple more times during service as well as regular tea and coffee top ups from the young and attentive crew.



Unfortunately at this point of the flight my eyes could barely stay open (combination of a lot of champagne and lack of sleep). I put the seat in bed mode and managed an hour and a half nap before top of descent into Auckland.

Seat fully reclined

The flight was rapidly coming to an end... what a shame it wasn't a bit longer as I was enjoying the Emirates product very much. The captain announced our descent and we were soon approaching the New Zealand coastline.

We made a fairly routine approach and landing before parking at the International terminal and disembarking. Feeling pleased and still a bit drunk I headed for passport control and was promptly processed and allowed in to New Zealand.



On approach to Auckland

Unfortunately there was a very long delay, about 30 minutes or so to get the baggage. No reason was given but the passengers were getting very frustrated waiting, I was just wanting to get to the hotel to have a bit of a rest before exploring Auckland. Eventually they showed up and I was soon through customs and onto a hotel shuttle van.

Overall I was impressed with Emirates trans-tasman business class. It is quite comparable to the Air New Zealand Boeing 777 and 747 product on this route but quite a bit cheaper generally. I still think Air New Zealand is the winner though, but only just! 


One last look at the seats as we disembark

2 comments:

  1. Love the way you write and your pictures are fantastic. You come across as lovely person :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment, much appreciated. Please follow my blog and keep reading. cheers

    ReplyDelete