The Emirates brand is known for over the top luxury and opulence on board their fleet of Boeing 777’s and Airbus A380’s. However, there is a way to experience this service excellence without the price tag, actually two ways. The first being cheaper fifth-freedom flights in Business/First class and upgrade offers regularly offered when booking directly with Emirates.
Below is a link to my recent flight video on YouTube, between Sydney and Christchurch:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWxE9cXfo9w
So, the only way to guarantee a business class seat is to book a business class ticket. Which is what I did on this fifth-freedom flight between Sydney and Christchurch. However, I do currently have a 100% upgrade bid record. This route is normally operated by other airlines on narrow body jets however Emirate continue their Dubai-Sydney A380 route onto Christchurch. You can book only the Sydney-Christchurch leg at a very competitive fares with Emirates – this gives you the Emirates experience for hundreds of dollars not thousands. But what do you get for those dollars spent??Check-In
Like all true aviation geeks, I arrive at the airport hours before my flights. Upon arriving at the airport all check in counters were completely empty however priority queues for Business, First and top tier frequent flyers were still available. Check-in was a smooth process and completed quickly. I was issued with a fast track pass to breeze through security and passport control however this was not really required at this time of the morning in Sydney. Lounge
The Emirates lounge is actually located a level below the main airport concourse hidden away. However, being a level down means that you have an almost face to face views with aircraft at the gates loading and unloading. The lounge overall is fairly dated and is not the most modern lounge I have been too. The food selection on offer was great, a full hot breakfast buffet along with cold selection of meats and fruit. It wouldn’t be an Emirates flight without dates on offer. The lounge was large with heaps of space however I can see it getting busy when a fully loaded A380 business/first passengers load is waiting for their flight. To my surprise only 5 passengers where in the lounge during my visit. This was my first clue that this flight was going to be nearly empty on the top deck. Boarding
The boarding gate is located close to the lounge meaning you can maximise your time in the lounge. Boarding was conducted on time and in the usual manner, premium passengers first then onto economy. Upon boarding the aircrafts top deck, I was greeted by the crew and shown directly to my seat, as well as given a seat tour. The Seat
The business class upper deck on the A380 is in a 1-2-1 configuration with all seats having direct aisle access and more importantly direct bar access. All business class seat recline into a fully flat bed, making this short trip very comfortable indeed. I could easily see myself spending 12 hours plus on an Australia to Dubai flight in these seats. Emirates take your expectations and go that little bit further. On this aircraft a personal bar is located next to your seat, that is fully stocked with waters, juice and soft drinks. In addition to this, the ipad style screen to control the seat back entertainment can also be used as an additional screen to display flight information or other information within the ICE system.The Bar
I have seen many photos of the Emirates bar onboard the their A380s and this is something that I have longed to experience. What is better than experiencing a bar at 38,000 feet – having your own private bar at 38,000 feet. Due to the low load factor on this flight, I was the only passenger in the bar area – this may also have been because this flight took off at 09:00. Hey it’s 5pm somewhere right? The Food
Even though this is only a short flight a full breakfast service is provided. Complete with the highest level of service from the crew onboard. During the meal there was no stage where I could have wanted to anything and if I did want for something the crew were only more than happy to provide it.Overall Experience
My verdict for this flight – the hype associated with flying with Emirates is not overstated. They are a absolutely fantastic carrier. From take-off to touch down there was nothing I could have possibly asked for or thought of to enhance this experience. This was a treat for myself and one I will not forget any time soon. My return trip was onboard another A380 but in the economy cabin – again excellent services the whole trip. Paid business Class upgrades are available on this route fairly regularly and very affordable. Even though, if you have the budget for a business class trip and are travelling to Christchurch – the offering on the A380 is far far far superior to that of any narrow body Australian airline servicing the same route – with prices being normally on par or less.
As with all my trip reports you can see the accompanying video at the link below on my Youtube Channel:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWxE9cXfo9w