I flew Emirates 384 from BKK-HKG on 5 July, 2007 in Y class, seat 12A on board a 777-300 which did not feature the updated interior with new J and ICE IFE system. I had relatively high expectations for Emirates service, many of which were disappointed by this flight.
Check in was smooth. The agents were pleasant, efficient, and spoke English proficiently and clearly. They did however demand I put a tag on my carry-on. I wasn't so sure what that was about. I had checked in very early and so I had plenty of time to wander Suvarnabhumi's extensive duty frees and to eat lunch.
The aircraft was about 35-40 minutes late arriving from DXB. That wasn't so bad. What was, however, was the boarding process. The volume on the PA system was barely audible and the gate agent spoke in English which was very hard to understand. Almost no one in the gate area understood the boarding announcement, leaving everyone confused. A few people got up and just randomly got in line, and then everyone did. The gate agents attempted to tell people to sit back down and just board by row, but quickly gave up. Boarding took forever, as it was total mayhem, people in the front were blocking the way for people seated in the back and the queue backed up almost all the way up the jet bridge. In any event, when finally this all settled, the flight departed, now more than an hour behind schedule.
Emirates 777-300 aircraft are configured in a 10 abreast Y class (3-4-3). I found the seat width to be adequate in every way. It was not the most spacious long haul Y seat I'd ever been in, but it felt about par for the course when compared to most 747 or A330/340 Y seats. Emirates offers 34" pitch, which as someone 6'4" (1'94m) is nice. The shape of the seats also seems to offer a little more leg room. My flight was only perhaps 80% full, and no one was in the two seats between me and the aisle.
The IFE system on my flight, emirates old system, was alright. It did have a good number of channels with a good diversity of programming. On the music video channel the choice language was not censored at all, something I appreciated. That said, it was not AVOD.
Once in flight a menu was distributed. Offering a menu in Y class is something I always appreciate as a very nice touch. The choices were a fish fillet with chinese noodles and greens or a curry duck. Perhaps this is just my taste as an American, but I found it odd to see neither chicken nor beef offered. Not being a fan of curry, I went for the fish fillet. The fish was predictably disappointing (expecting great fish on an airplane seems deluded in my mind), however the salad offered with the meal was fresh and pleasant, the noodles accompanying the fish were pretty decent. The cheesecake offered for dessert was too spungey, but otherwise was fine. Emirates did offer metal cutlery which was a nice touch. The tray they served lunch on was too packed and it made eating very tricky. I appreciate offering a nice spread for lunch, but it was simply too cluttered.
One completely unacceptable thing about the service was that in the 3 hour flight there was only one full drink service. It was followed by a service of coffee or tea. Before landing coffee was offered again. Perhaps it is just me but in a 3 hour flight I expect at least 2 full drink services.
The cabin crew was pleasant, most were proficient in their english. They were always polite, however they did not go the extra mile the way crews do on Singapore or Cathay, for instance. I suppose this was to be expected on a flight that is overwhelming coach heavy and short haul.
A final note is that in HKG I waited approximately half an hour for my bag after I got through immigration and down to the baggage claim for my luggage. This was the slowest I'd seen in a dozen flights in Asia in the past month.
Having just flown on a number of UA 777 aircraft with PW engines, the unique sound of RR Trents on EK's 777-300 was very noticeable. They sounded more grating and mechanical than the muted roar of PW4000s or the high whine of GE90s. While EK's fairly comfortable 10 abreast layout shows the great flexibility of 777, I would really prefer they offered the cabin in 9 abreast instead.
Ultimately, EK's disorganized boarding process, single drink service, slow baggage service, 10 abreast Y, and simply sufficient cabin service did not wow me, and in some ways left me unsatisfied, especially compared with some of the over a dozen other flights I'd just flown in the past month.