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Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:11 am

Folie1

I just spent the last week giving a course in Dubai together with my colleague, the valiant M. The course was held in the control tower building at the new Al-Maktoum International Airport Dubai. Since my last visit here two years ago, traffic appears to have increased at the new facility, although it is still far from reaching capacity and most of the traffic is freight. There are a few passenger services to and from Al-Maktoum. But as far as I can tell, Qatar Airways is currently the only carrier offering a daily schedule. Other passenger services include charter flights by Finnair or BH Air from Bulgaria.

Fortunately, my flight home from Dubai to Amsterdam will be leaving from the old airport, which lies much closer to the city.

Getting to the Airport
Transport:
chauffeur driven car
Price: complimentary for Emirates Business Class passengers
Duration: 30 minutes
Frequency: n/a

The Emirates chauffeur service is free of charge for passengers travelling in Business and First Class. As my flights had been booked through a travel agent, I had to call Emirates to make the booking for the car, so I could not really say whether it might also be possible to make a booking online at the time you make the flight reservation. The service will pick you up or drop you off at any location within the UAE.

For this service Emirates operates a large fleet of Volvo station wagons, which is particularly convenient if, like me on this trip, you are travelling with a lot of luggage.

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CHECK-IN
Terminal: 3


Emirates has its own dedicated premium terminal for passengers travelling in Business and First Class. We arrive at the curbside where a young lady in the smart Emirates uniform is already expecting me. She opens the door for me while one of the porters unloads the copious amounts of luggage onto a trolley. We are then escorted to the check-in counters. It really is quite amazing to see an entire facility of this size dedicated exclusively to premium passengers.

The young woman checking me in is highly efficient. I explain to her that my luggage shall be continuing on from Amsterdam to Basel, while M.’s things will need to go on the KLM flight to Zürich. But obviously all of this is not really a problem for her. She duly tags all the bags and even labels the boxes with the fragile instruments we are carrying with us to make sure they are handled with care. She also gives me my boarding pass for my onward connection to Basel.

THE LOUNGE
Type of lounge:
dedicated Emirates Business Class lounge
Facilities: toilets and showers, business centre, transfer desk, newspaper stand
Catering: hot and cold dishes, international cuisine
Wifi: available for free, there are signs with the password on the tables

My flight shall be leaving from gate B17 today. I still have about an hour or so to pass before boarding starts, so I figure I might as well check out the Business Class lounge located one floor up from the common departures area.

Terminal 3 is an interesting facility that was clearly built with the Airbus A 380 in mind. Passengers in First and Business Class are segregated from the Economy Class passengers more or less from the moment they enter the premium check-in area to setting foot aboard the aircraft. All the gates at the B dock are equipped to handle the A 380 and are therefore accessible from the upper level as well for premium passengers.

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The lounge itself provides a good selection of hot and cold international dishes. Other than that though, it is more functional than elegant or luxurious.

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THE CABIN
Configuration:
1 + 2 + 1
Pitch: 48’
Length as a bed: 76’
With: 18.5’
Recline: 180 degrees, fully horizontal
Facilities: reading lamp, handset, mini bar with drinks, USB and power outlets, divider screen for more privacy
Entertainment: AVOD – the Emirates ICE entertainment hardly needs an introduction, the screen is quite large and is operated either via touch screen or via one of the two handsets, there are noise cancelling earphones as well

The configuration of the seats is convenient. If you happen to be seated in the middle row of seats, you have two options. The seats in the even numbered rows are quite far apart. As a result, you have more than enough privacy. On the down side, seats on the even numbered rows are adjacent to the aisle, so people might brush passed you as they walk by.

The seats in uneven numbered rows are not directly on the aisle. However, this then means that you end up sitting shoulder to shoulder with your neighbour. But there is a privacy screen that can be raised and which is rather large.

Apart from that, the seat is indeed very comfortable and spacious. The only thing I really do not like, are the colours and materials that were used – plastic painted to resemble varnished wood is not for me. I also think it clashes with the mother-of-pearl and blue panels of the back of the seats.

The seat is partly leather upholstered, which I usually find a bit uncomfortable to sleep on because the leather will make you sweat. With Emirates this is not so much of an issue as they provide you with a mattress to place on the bed.

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VANITY KIT
Emirates does not provide a vanity kit and I salute them for it. Does anybody actually ever use those things anyway? Instead, eyeshades and socks have already been placed at each seat before the passengers start boarding. Toiletries such as shaving kits and toothbrushes are available in the lavatories. Incidentally, the toothbrushes and toothpaste are both by Colgate and very good.

A pillow, blanket and the menu have also already been placed at my seat.

DEPARTURE
Our departure is to the southeast, I believe. We line up on the runway and immediately accelerate. I really do think that there are only few aircraft out there that can match the A 380 in terms of overall ugliness. Having said that, the absence of any noise in the cabin, even on take-off, and the acceleration really are quite amazing.

FIRST SERVICE
Hot towels:
one before pushback and another after the breakfast service
Welcome drinks: orange juice, champagne is also available (Veuve Cliquot)
Choice: none
Menu:
  • apple of orange juice

  • still water

  • a selection of fresh fruit

  • Blueberry yoghurt

  • croissant, various buns

  • additional pastries served from a basket

  • tea or coffee


Service begins on the ground with a round of welcome drinks and hot towels. The hot towels are nicely scented and very refreshing.

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Being an early morning flight, Emirates has reversed the order of the food service. The first meal is just a breakfast snack. But it hits the spot nicely. My only complaint is that the service lacks a certain amount of coordination: Emirates provides an individualised tray service, which is nice but tends to take longer. As a result, by the time I was asked if I wanted any juice I had already more or less finished the meal. Coffee and tea were only served after the meal.

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The meal concludes with the distribution of another hot towel.

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After the meal I decide to head to the back of the bus to try and take a picture of the wing. There's this tall guy standing at the bar who looks vaguely familiar. It only dawns on me after I've taken the picture that it's Suryo from Holland. So I briefly introduce myself and we discuss what a cool coincidence it is for us to be on the same flight.

Suryo, it was really nice meeting you in person. Hope to see you again some other time, presumably as some airport or on some flight or other.

SECOND SERVICE
Menu:

  • local Arabic Mezze – Hummous, Muhammara, Makdous, Moutabil, Tabouleh, Shanklish salad

  • salad with a choice of balsamic and olive oil dressing

  • roast chicken with mushroom sauce, vegetables, mashed potatoes and chives

  • bread basket


The second service starts just over two hours out of Amsterdam with the distribution of the third hot towel of this flight and an aperitif with warm nuts.

 

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The appetizer is very tasty. The individual dishes are full of flavour and taste quite authentic. The only drawback is that bread appears to be in short supply. Most passengers around me have already finished their starters by the time the crew eventually do a round with the breadbasket. Furthermore, the service process seems somewhat uncoordinated.

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Next up comes the main dish, which takes seemingly for ever for to arrive. And when it does, the portion seems rather small. The taste is alright though, but certainly nothing special.

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I finish the main course but it looks as though the crew is hardly in a hurry to remove the tray. Apparently there would have been dessert or cheese, but the crew appear to have forgotten all about that and do not bother to ask anybody if they would actually like dessert, tea or coffee.

THE CREW
Apparently there is a crew complement of twenty-five in the cabin on today’s flight, speaking no less than seventeen languages. Generally speaking the crew are very attentive, polite and friendly. So it is all the more of a pity that the service should take so long and be so negligent.

ARRIVAL
The flight eventually draws to an end. We land in a southerly direction on the famous Polderbahn, from where it takes ages to reach the apron area. Perhaps it is because of the size of the aircraft or because the pilot is unfamiliar with the airport, but today the taxi seems to take even longer as we are moving at a very low speed. At long last we pull onto our stand at the very end of the G concourse in Amsterdam.

I now have another four hours to make my connection to Basel with KLM, which is a good thing because I only realise once I’m in the KLM crown lounge that I have actually forgotten my wallet on the plane. So I quickly head landside and make my way to the Emirates ticketing desk at the departures level of the G sector. Fortunately my wallet has already been found and brought to the desk.

CONCLUSION
I have never fully understood what all the fuss is about with Emirates. And to be honest, I still don't. Indeed I found them quite okay. Their Business Class product is not at all elegant or refined, but it offers a lot of convenience to passengers, starting with the chauffeur service – which would also have been available for me in Amsterdam – to the on board experience. The only issue I have is with their service concept on the A 380. I really do not think that it was a case of the crew not doing their job properly but quite simply that the service concept they have is unsuitable to be able to efficiently serve 76 Business Class passengers with the number of cabin crew available.

The European legacy carriers in particular are always keen to use and abuse Emirates and the other carriers from the Middle East as an excuse for their own failures and deficiencies. But I don't really think that's quite fair, is it? From what I can tell, Emirates is an airline just like any other. But where the old legacies try to pretend as though Business Class were something exclusive and luxurious - presumably to justify the extortionist fares - Emirates is far more pragmatic in its approach. And I rather like that.

Would I fly Emirates again? With out a doubt: yes!
 
bill142
Posts: 7867
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:23 am

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
Emirates does not provide a vanity kit and I salute them for it.

Actually yes they do. I got one as recently as September.
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1865
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sat Nov 01, 2014 5:50 pm

At least in Economy they offer among the best products.
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:52 pm

Hi bill142

Quoting bill142 (Reply 1):
Actually yes they do. I got one as recently as September.

In that case I can only assume that perhaps the vanity kits are only provided on longer flights?

Hi lychemsa

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 2):
At least in Economy they offer among the best products.

I have had a few flights in Economy with Emirates in the past, mainly between Australia and New Zealand. I thought they were rather good back then. But those flights happened many years ago.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
Flightsimboy
Posts: 1777
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:48 pm

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
I have never fully understood what all the fuss is about with Emirates. And to be honest, I still don't.

You having travelled up front on many different carriers, your statement holds a lot of weight. There are truly other carriers out there as well, though EK's IFE does stand out. Other than that, EK is just another airline.

Who would you say are your top carriers so far?
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
 
ronerone
Posts: 1464
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:52 pm

Hi William,

I very much agree with your views in your TRs, but today I can relate a little more than usual because it is Emirates, an airline i am quite familiar with.

Once upon a time, I used to be a huge EK apologist, but with circumstances over time this has changed and i am now able to see the picture from 'outside'. In reality, EK isn't all that bad, but they seem to skip that personal touch that can make it or break it. If they only applied a little more effort on dealing with the inconsistency amongst the different crew sets then they can be better than most.

On a separate note, what a small world it really is that you bumped into Suryo on board   Did you see Ariel too?  


Thank you so much for sharing, and keep your reports coming as they are always an enjoyable read!


Cheers,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
User avatar
tjcab
Posts: 359
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:14 am

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:43 pm

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 2):
I have never fully understood what all the fuss is about with Emirates. And to be honest, I still don't

I'm not sure who is/was making all the fuss (other than them - which is a normal business practice). There is always noise placed around them, and I think expectations are placed very high. Does AirFrance provide its business class passengers a car service? Oh well. While there were some unfortunate shortcomings to the service what you experienced, generally, it find them to be well above average, not the best.
 
Flightsimboy
Posts: 1777
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:02 am

Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
On a separate note, what a small world it really is that you bumped into Suryo on board Did you see Ariel too?
Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
After the meal I decide to head to the back of the bus to try and take a picture of the wing. There's this tall guy standing at the bar who looks vaguely familiar. It only dawns on me after I've taken the picture that it's Suryo from Holland. So I briefly introduce myself and we discuss what a cool coincidence it is for us to be on the same flight.

Suryo, it was really nice meeting you in person. Hope to see you again some other time, presumably as some airport or on some flight or other.

Looks like I totally missed reading this lol  . Suryo on board! How nice !!
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
 
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dirktraveller
Posts: 715
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:37 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:22 pm

Hi William,

Great report on Emirates A380 Business Class! The hard product seems to be great, and so does the meal which seems well presented! Too bad the service was rather inefficient but having 76 J class passengers to attend would be a challenging task to the crew, an issue that EK should pay attention to.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
I have never fully understood what all the fuss is about with Emirates. And to be honest, I still don't. Indeed I found them quite okay.

More recently I've flown with EK in Y in the B77W and I found my experience to be great, although before boarding my EK flight admittedly I have high expectation of them, having heard impressive stuff about them beforehand.

Similarly, I think people nowadays are boarding EK flights with a really high expectation in their mindset prior to boarding. Hence the fuss we are hearing about EK when those expectations are not being met (at times), even due to faults that may not necessarily be EK's. Well that's just my view on the issue though.

Thanks very much for sharing! Looking forward to more of your reports!

Best Regards,
Dirktraveller
 
theaviator380
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:44 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:42 pm

Nice TR Wilian,

EK is one of the rare successful commercial airline, huge by it's connectivity and pax carrying capacity/annum (if I am not wrong).

Their marketing is very huge too, they are always in limelight for reason or another. Overall their product is satisfactory in C, J and Y.

DXB is mega airport and always get attention because increasing number of pax flying thru it every year, graph is going up every year.

They are one of the most heard airline across the world along with Lufthansa, SQ and BA etc. So when people tend to fly them, lot of expectations and people who haven't flown, wants to explore them. Without reason, I doubt any carrier get that big name and brand.

Sorry I am not meant to give lecture on EK but just my 2 pence, therefore all fuss about EK.

Cheers.
 
thaiflyer
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:55 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:51 pm

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
Emirates does not provide a vanity kit and I salute them for it

Yes they do (and a good one ) but only on night flights.
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:07 pm

Hi flightsimboy

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 4):
Who would you say are your top carriers so far?

Itßs really hard to say. Over all, for me Cathay Pacific comes first because of the consistently high quality of their product at all levels. The Business Class seat on long-haul is simply amazing, the food is excellent and plentiful and the crews are mostly very welcoming. I also think KLM is far better than its reputation. The only let down with KLM is the old Business Class seat, which is really dated. But I shall shortly by trying the new 747-400 product and then we shall see.

Hi Roni

Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
Once upon a time, I used to be a huge EK apologist, but with circumstances over time this has changed and i am now able to see the picture from 'outside'. In reality, EK isn't all that bad, but they seem to skip that personal touch that can make it or break it. If they only applied a little more effort on dealing with the inconsistency amongst the different crew sets then they can be better than most.

I think you really pretty much nailed it. Emirates certainly is not at all bad. In fact I think there are only few airlines that have taken so much care to tune their product to the needs of their customers. I also agree with you that the crew do sometimes lack a bit of warmth.

Hi tjcab

Quoting tjcab (Reply 6):
I'm not sure who is/was making all the fuss (other than them - which is a normal business practice). There is always noise placed around them, and I think expectations are placed very high. Does AirFrance provide its business class passengers a car service? Oh well. While there were some unfortunate shortcomings to the service what you experienced, generally, it find them to be well above average, not the best.

That is my point precisely. The Emirates experience is very good, no doubt about that. But there is nothing outstanding about them. That is all I am saying.

Hi dirktraveller

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 8):
More recently I've flown with EK in Y in the B77W and I found my experience to be great, although before boarding my EK flight admittedly I have high expectation of them, having heard impressive stuff about them beforehand.

Well if you had high expectations and were still not disappointed, then I guess they must have been good!

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 8):
Thanks very much for sharing! Looking forward to more of your reports!

My pleasure. Next one coming up shortly.

Hi TheAviator380

Quoting theaviator380 (Reply 9):
They are one of the most heard airline across the world along with Lufthansa, SQ and BA etc. So when people tend to fly them, lot of expectations and people who haven't flown, wants to explore them. Without reason, I doubt any carrier get that big name and brand.

You're quite right. However, I also think that a lot of the carrier's competition has put quite some effort into creating this image of Emirates as some sort of Über-airline - probably to have an excuse to why Emirates is so much more successful than most of them.

Quoting theaviator380 (Reply 9):
Sorry I am not meant to give lecture on EK but just my 2 pence, therefore all fuss about EK.

Not at all. That's my I posted: to get your feedback.

Hi Thaiflyer

Quoting Thaiflyer (Reply 10):
Yes they do (and a good one ) but only on night flights.

Thanks for the clarification.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
QF29
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:10 am

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:27 am

Great Report! Thanks for sharing your experience. Good to see that you had a good time.

What airlines currently serve Al-Maktoum International Airport? Is it mainly cargo and LCC?

Cheers
A318/19/20/21, 330-2/3, 345, 380, B717 B737-4/6/7/8/9 B763 B743/4 B777-2/3 B787-8/9, Q-400, DHC-3 Seaplane, C172S, PA-28, Super Decathlon
 
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cougar15
Posts: 1453
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:10 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:48 pm

Quoting Thaiflyer (Reply 10):
Yes they do (and a good one ) but only on night flights.

Great Buvlgari Ammnety Kit, but only on flts longer than 7 hrs. cheers
some you lose, others you can´t win!
 
loalq
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:24 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:45 pm

Totally agree with you regarding Emirates. They have a solid product on business class, but miles and miles away to the offerings of Cathay and Singapore, for instance. For me, having anything more than 1-2-1 configuration on business is already a dated product (such as BA's 2-4-2 and EK's 2-3-2). And the fact that EK is not part of any alliance also annoys me when collecting miles for redemption. But, their chaffeur service is indeed a great idea and anyway I would fly EK anytime needed. Just not my first option.

Thanks for the excellent and enjoyable TR!
"...this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped."
 
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AirPacific747
Posts: 9756
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:52 am

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:35 pm

Thanks for a great TR.

I just flew CPH-DXB and DXB-CPH in Business and on both flights when they take your orders for the food to be served, they don't take the order for the dessert right away. It was the same on both flights. It seems to me that they are trying to save some desserts by not taking any orders until after the starters and main courses have been served to see how many people still want to order a dessert.

I never flew Business Class before these two flights, so I don't know much about the service levels in other carriers. I'd say that EK Business is good, but I would never pay full price for the Business fare. My employer paid for the tickets this time. I just would not justify that much money on a Business Class seat (About 3500 USD for a return ticket) when you can get the finest luxury hotel room for a week or more for the same amount of money. I am very happy to have tried it though. It was really great food.

BTW Business Class on the A380 looks better than on the 77W. Access to the bar and your own mini bar makes an important difference I would think.

[Edited 2015-08-08 09:38:02]
 
caleb1
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:51 am

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sat Aug 08, 2015 5:29 pm

I had the great pleasure to fly with EK only once, on a roundtrip between LHR and DXB. It was a flight in Y and I thought they were phenomenal! It reminded me of what flying used to be like in a more refined era. Living in the US, the commercial airline experience has been degraded to such an extent that flying is now something to be endured, or largely avoided, but certainly not enjoyed. I applaud EK for putting forth an effort to offer an exceptional product (in my opinion). I only wish, however, that their US counterparts would follow suit, but that is an issue for another thread. In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your report, and I thank you for posting it.
 
thaiflyer
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:55 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:32 pm

Quoting cougar15 (Reply 13):
Great Buvlgari Ammnety Kit, but only on flts longer than 7 hrs. cheers

This is not correct, They provide ammnety kits on shorter flights as long it is a night time flight.
For example DXB - BKK flight is about 6 Hrs and they provide the kits.
 
mdavies06
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:28 pm

RE: Emirates, Business Class - A 380 To Amsterdam

Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:00 pm

Thanks so much for posting the trip report. I noticed in the past few months that fewer reports are being posted, so your report is indeed much appreciated. As for EK, I try my best not to fly them because I want to support the weak. Also, flying to Europe from HKG via ME usually involves say 5 hours of additional travel time, which to me is a lot, so this option I can easily pass up.

[Quote]
I have never fully understood what all the fuss is about with Emirates. And to be honest, I still don't. Indeed I found them quite okay. Their Business Class product is not at all elegant or refined, but it offers a lot of convenience to passengers, starting with the chauffeur service – which would also have been available for me in Amsterdam – to the on board experience. The only issue I have is with their service concept on the A 380. I really do not think that it was a case of the crew not doing their job properly but quite simply that the service concept they have is unsuitable to be able to efficiently serve 76 Business Class passengers with the number of cabin crew available.

Would I fly Emirates again? With out a doubt: yes!
[Unquote]

I have to say I am a bit confused. Are you saying they are great or just so-so?

[Edited 2015-08-21 07:02:27]

[Edited 2015-08-21 07:25:33]

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