Well folks, the review season is about to start! LOL, well, I’ll try not to go overboard here. Seven weeks away finished with three flights, the first two of them on Emirates. I thought I’d start by looking at Emirates because they are one of the world’s biggest and most popular airlines. From Australia to Europe they are one of people’s first choices, and vice versa, I guess. Dubai as a base works pretty well as it’s around 14 hours from Melbourne (less to most other cities in Australia, not by that much though to say Sydney) and then around 6.5 hours to European cities like Lisbon or Barcelona, Paris. Slightly longer to London, less to say Rome.
Qantas are now branching out and planning non-stop flights to London and I think Paris. That’s going to be around the 20-hour mark and I imagine that despite the thought of 20 hours on the one plane, it will prove popular but we will see just how popular when it actually starts up, I’m not sure when but could be in a year or maybe a little less. They have been running test flights this year – also looking to fly to New York non-stop as well.
Personally, I am thankful for a stop. The idea of a 20-hour flight frankly is just a bit much. This trip I think my longest flight was just over eight hours (KL to Almaty with Air Astana), and that’s plenty long enough. Up until the very end I didn’t do any overnight flights, but the final two were.
With Emirates we flew Lisbon to Dubai, and then Dubai to Singapore both roughly 6hrs 40mins. Emirates had the reputation maybe 10-12 years ago as being the world’s best airline or thereabouts, but recently the reputation has faded, I think it’s fair to say. I was interested to see exactly how it was overall.
I am pleased to say actually that I think its reputation has been somewhat restored of late, and speaking to others that had flown them recently, they agreed that in the last 12-24 months they had stepped up their game again. It was hard to fault the two flights we were on, both in economy.
The first flight left Lisbon around 220pm; a bit of a delay due to congestion in European airspace. It was extremely comfortable, plenty of legroom and around half-full, meaning there was plenty of space. 3-4-3 in configuration. No real issues with turbulence, friendly staff from a variety of places, on both flights the majority of staff appeared to be from Eastern Europe. Stuck in the middle I could only manage to take a little video via the flight cameras – of the eight airlines I took this trip, Emirates were the only ones with the cameras, which I rather like. Both flights had them.
The second flight was on the big one – the Airbus A380 which I believe they are no longer going to make. It left around 340am in the morning, and I was tired and frankly felt no urge to take footage or photos of this one simply because I wanted to rest. Unfortunately, I only got 45 minutes sleep, but that’s not the fault of Emirates.
It’s really an unbelievable experience taking off on the A380. You don’t feel like you’re going anywhere near fast enough, it’s so big it’s hard to fathom how the thing can defy gravity and actually lift off from the ground. But hey, it happens! One thing I will say for it is that it gives a pretty smooth ride though, especially while at cruising altitude. We had smooth conditions I gather, but still I feel the size counterbalances turbulence to some extent. Legroom again was excellent. The flight was full I don’t remember seeing a single free seat, so presumably they make decent money flying A380s Dubai to Singapore and return.
The food on both flights was okay, some of the better food you get but I do feel the meal sizes are without a doubt on the small side. They have reduced their selection of drinks available at certain times – often you can only get tea, coffee or juice unless it’s with lunch or dinner, which is disappointing. But not the end of the world, hey?
All in all, Emirates is back up there as one of my first choices when heading to Europe again. They can be booked with Qantas Frequent Flyer points and you can earn them flying Emirates too which is a plus. On the downside though, I really don’t like Dubai Airport. It’s so busy, even when you are there in the wee hours of the morning, it’s not adequately air-conditioned and the prices are little short of outrageous.
But they are convenient, comfortable and reliable. I do want, one day, to try Qatar and Etihad, both I guess similar airlines, to compare. Qatar have a very good reputation at the moment indeed. But they are going to have to wait for now. Thanks for reading today – have you flown Emirates recently and do my thoughts coincide with your experiences? Please do comment below and May the Journey Never End!