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SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Tue Jan 13, 2004 11:33 am

G'day all,

I am back home in Brisbane after a two week trip to Sydney and Auckland. I thought I may as well share some comments about the flights between Sydney and Auckland, on Emirates, aboard their brand new A340-500.

Wednesday January 7th, EK412 SYD-AKL, Economy Class

The flight boarded through door 2L of the A340-500, A6-ERC, the latest addition to the fleet. Unfortunately, this means you can't actually see the wonderful First Class unless you are lucky enough to be seated there. I was able to have a look at the Business Class, which didn't look too shabby at all (though I got the impression perhaps not as spacious as that on some other airlines - could well be something to do with the design of the seat, I guess, or photographic tricks from those other airlines). I was surprised to find my seat, 24A, was in fact at the trailing edge of the wing - the premium section really does use up a lot of room. The seat was immediately in front of the toilet which was itself immediately in front of door 3L. The meant limited recline for me, but the view of the wing was nice. Departure was slightly delayed due to some passengers taking their time, however nothing to complain about. The takeoff was rather powerful - no hairdryers attached to this model of A340.

The ICE entertainment system took a little while to work out how to use, but once I had mastered it, it was rather good. The control box under the seat, however, was a damn pain - I guess thats the price you pay for having a big TV screen to keep you busy. After a relatively fast, and uneventful, flight, we touched down in Auckland, and although Gate 5 (the one with the nice glass airbridge) was free, the aircraft instead parked in one of the new layover stands, from where we were bussed to the terminal. I must say it isn't the most ceremonious way to arrive, and I hope Auckland investigates the possibility of expanding the Terminal, as it isn't designed for the levels of traffic Auckland now sees over the summer months. On the plus side, for me anyway, the bus afforded a nice view of some other aircraft parked on the tarmac, including an Emirates 777-300 which had since taken Gate 5. The wait at both passport control and the luggage carousel was thankfully not particularly long.

Monday January 12th, EK413, AKL-SYD, Business Class

Yup, that's right, Business Class. Due to the flight being full, I was one of the lucky buggers who got told they were being upgraded to Business Class (I have no idea how I was chosen, guess I must just look like a good bloke...). The upgrade was a very pleasant surprise, even if it meant no window seat (I was given 8B). Again, boarding was through 2L, so I guess if I ever want to see those First Class seats, I'll have to cough up the money for the airfare. The aircraft was once more A6-ERC, still with the new aeroplane smell. The Business Class seats are very nice, although the shell of the seat in front does seem to take up a fair bit of space. The big screen was very nice, though. Departure from Auckland was on time, and this time I discovered the forward and downward looking camera features, which made for an enjoyable takeoff. Unfortunately, being an evening westbound flight, they weren't that great once we were airborne. The service was obviously a clear step up, with all the usual items one expects in business class - table cloths (covering up the very nice wooden finish of the table), choices of all courses, good wine, etc. I wouldn't say the service was hugely friendly, but it was certainly of a high standard, albeit perhaps a little rushed.

I found the touch screen controller which operates the TV and the seat to be somewhat mediocre. It regularly stopped working, which was very annoying when trying to get the seat into a comfortable position. I have a sneaking suspicion there may be an overheating problem which causes the controller to not always respond to touch. The actual TV screens didn't share this problem. If it is a wider problem, and not just a fault with my specific set, I hope it can be fixed, because the controller is very nifty. On the other hand, I think it may be easier to simply have dedicated seat controls on the seat, instead of having to take out a touch screen controller. I was able to recline the seat as far as I could get it to go. Unlike the latest offerings from the likes of Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas etc, the seat does not recline to be fully flat, on an angle, but rather keeps somewhat of a cradle form. The recline is nothing to complain about, and as I have yet to try the aforementioned fully flat products, I won't make any judgement on it with regard to those products.

Arrival into Sydney was a bit late, due to headwinds over the Tasman Sea. I had no where to go other than a hotel before my 7:30am flight the next day (today), so it didn't bother me, and gave me more time to explore the entertainment system. The night landing looked great on the forward facing camera. I discovered as we were disembarking that the lady who had been sitting next to me on EK412 was also upgraded to Business class on this flight - life's little coincidences. There was no wait to clear customs, and minimal wait for baggage. The arrivals area at Sydney, both before and after quarantine, is much nicer in my opionion that that in Auckland.

Additional Comments

So all in all, my return flight with Emirates turned out to be very good. I would certainly consider flying them again. The Economy Class airfare (A$460 for Sydney to Auckland return) is great, although other carriers are matching it. One thing which did annoy me, was the inequity in airfares between those ticket in Australia, and those in New Zealand. While Economy Class was comparable in price, SYD-AKL return in Business or First Class was some A$1000 more expensive than AKL-SYD return. I have no idea why this is, but it is a shame, as I would have paid the Business Class price on offer from NZ (roughly A$1000), or probably even the First Class price (roughly A$1250).

If you have any questions/comments, go for it...

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
Big777jet
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Tue Jan 13, 2004 1:55 pm

Your report is so cool. I'm glad you flew for the first time on an A340. How long it take flight between SYD-AKL? Have you try to see inside the cockpit before or after the flight?

Big777jet


 
Akumas
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:13 pm

If first class was albit cheaper, why didnt you take First Class?  Confused
 
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:25 pm

Akumas - sorry, I dont understand your question...

Big777jet - flying time was about 2h30 SYD-AKL, and 3h30 the other way...

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
Akumas
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Tue Jan 13, 2004 6:45 pm

Doesn't matter then. Doesn't really matter at all  Smile
 
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:29 pm

Another thing I just realised - the in flight magazine, Open Skies, which I souvenired, was the December 2003 edition. Given January was almost 2 weeks old, I can't understand why they would have an evidently outdated magazine. In addition to Open Skies, there was a second magazine in Business Class, called Portfolio. As the cover says: "Exclusive to Emirates A340 First & Business Class passengers". I think it would be very good if this magazine detailed the operation of the First and Business class seats - it would be much more reassuring than just pressing buttons and hoping...

Additionally, there was no inflight magazine on the way over - I am assuming this was just an oversight - probably souvenired by someone on DXB-SYD!

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
thaigold
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:23 pm

Hi VirginFlyer

Nice report  Wink/being sarcastic

I am flying the same route later this month all economy (unless I am as lucky as you)... How is the seat pitch in Y??

Thanks!
Dunbar Rovers forever
 
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Thu Jan 15, 2004 4:40 pm

Thaigold - The seat pitch in Y was fine. I am not certan of the exact measurement, but it wasn't uncomfortable. No footrests like those found on some other airlines, though. Also, that drated PTV control box ate up space where I would normally put my feet. I think thats a generic problem on any PTV equipped aircraft though.

I hope you enjoy your trip to on EK, and to New Zealand!

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
srilankan_340
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:49 am

Nice report.

Lucky you - getting upgraded to J class. Wonder if any of the J class passengers were bumped up to F class to make room in J class?

Can't wait till end of May to try the 345 SYD-DXB.

Did they operate the cool night sky ceiling effects or any other effects on the night flight?

Regards
Srilankan_340
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self- centered: Forgive them anyway - Mother Theresa
 
Seat2A
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Fri Jan 16, 2004 6:50 pm

How much did your ticket cost? Also, isn't there some website that offers cheap deals around N.Z., Australia and the region?
 
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Sat Jan 17, 2004 12:32 pm

Seat2A - I paid A$460 for the ticket. As for the website, I don't know. I guess you could try http://www.flightcentre.com.au

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Sun Jan 18, 2004 10:29 am

Hey V/F long time no see.

Great report man! Since when have EK started having full flights to AKL? Usually about 100 POB.

Yes AKL is rather inconvenient at times! Thought I would be on bus to the plane a few months ago, but another QF flight parked on the layover instead and we used gate 4.

Anyway I might have to try EK sometime!
 
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RE: SYD-AKL-SYD, EK, A340-500

Sun Jan 18, 2004 8:31 pm

ZK-NBT - Yeah, it has been a while hasn't it mate! Hope things are well with you over there.

As for the fullness of flights, I am told that over the Christmas/New Year holiday period, all except 1 airline was pretty much full over the Tasman (and in spite of their past performance, that 1 airline wasnt EK)

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh

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