Review of Emirates flight Auckland Brisbane in Business

Airline Emirates
Flight EK435
Class Business
Seat 23A
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 03:50
Take-off 27 Aug 17, 17:10
Arrival at 27 Aug 17, 19:00
EK   #4 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 519 reviews
Rewardflying
By GOLD 1630
Published on 22nd October 2017
photo ek435 cover

Hello Flight-Report #avgeeks. Today is the long awaited Emirates business class flight, a first for me.

jetBlue A320 Ecomomy service ORD-JFK
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class JFK-FRA / JFK Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
Singapore Airlines Suites Class FRA-SIN / FRA Air Canada Lounge
Thai Airways A350 Business Class SIN-BKK / SIN The Private Room
Thai Airways B747 First Class BKK-SYD / BKK Thai Royal First Lounge and Spa
Air New Zealand B787 Business Class SYD-AKL / SYD Air New Zealand Lounge
Air New Zealand A320 Economy Class AKL-WLG / AKL Air New Zealand Domestic Lounge
JetStar A320 Economy Class WLG-AKL

Emirates A380 Business Class AKL-BNE / AKL Emirates Lounge


Qantas B737 Business Class BNE-SYD / BNE Priority Pass Lounge
American Airlines B777 First Class SYD-LAX / SYD Qantas First Class Lounge
Virgin America A320 First Class LAX-ORD

Jetstar arrived to a rainy winter day in Auckland. On a nice day from the domestic terminal over to international is a 15 minute walk. Today a crowded shuttle would take me there for an anticipated first time on the world renowned airline Emirates.

There were plenty of open aisles for the three Emirates A380 flights leaving this afternoon.

photo ek435 checkin

Boarding pass in hand I was off to the Emirates lounge. Recently Emirates announced the elimination of all 5th freedom flights from Auckland to Australia (Melbourne and Brisbane as Sydney had already been cancelled), leaving a single direct flight to Dubai from Auckland. Given there is a huge Qantas lounge next to the Emirates lounge I wonder if this lounge will be closing.

photo ek435 lounge entry 1photo ek435 lounge entry 2

It is a beautiful lounge.

photo ek435 lounge seating 1photo ek435 lounge seating 2

Off to the side is a dining room but there isn't table service. Yet it is nice to see a separate area to eat aside from the general seating area.

photo ek435 lounge seating 3 dining

The food selection was impressive as was the manner in which it was offered. Only small servings were available at anytime and when items were taken they were quickly replenished with freshly prepared replacements.



The lounge was also equipped with showers and private washrooms.

photo ek435 lounge rr 1 hallphoto ek435 lounge rr 2 shower

Soon it was off to the gate where two massive A380s were parked awaiting their cargo.

photo ek435 plane 1

Mine would be the farthest out plus there was a third A380 parked on the tarmac just behind these, presumably for the direct flight to Dubai.

photo ek435 plane 2

The gate area is huge. But today would not be utilized at maximum capacity, or even close.

photo ek435 boarding area 1photo ek435 boarding area 2

The left entrance went upstairs to first/business and the right entrance was main deck.

photo ek435 boarding area 3

The massive upper deck has 76 business class seats, 58 in the front cabin.

photo ek435 cabin front 1photo ek435 cabin front 2

I was in the intimate rear mini-cabin which has only 18 business class seats, 17 of which were empty today.



Lavatories aft are good sized for a business class cabin.



And of course the famous Emirates bar is in the back of the cabin. Today it would remain empty.



Center seats have a privacy divider.

photo ek435 cabin seats center

While pods with the seat against the aisle are exposed. Thus I would avoid any seat in rows 8 / 10 / 12 / 15 / 17 / 19 / 21/ 22 / 24 / 26 as this is your position to the aisle.

photo ek435 cabin seat aisle

Row 22 is a bassinet row, as is row 6 up front.

photo ek435 cabin bulkhead wall 2

In flight mood lighting made for a very pleasant environment for the handful of folks up front.

photo ek435 cabin front 3 inflight

And the single passenger in back. A peaceful time to enjoy a glass of bubbly.

photo ek435 amenity 1

This plane had the older business class seats. They were in good shape, but still showing their age.



It is reported that 23A/K have the most legroom of any business class seat. I can attest.

photo ek435 seat 4photo ek435 seat 5

There's no question Emirates put plenty of thought into designing these pods.

photo ek435 seat 6

This appears to be a cedar plank inside the shoe box, that's what I mean about detail!

photo ek435 seat 7

Two side wall storage containers are available for true window seats. I can't believe Airbus wants to eliminate this feature on the proposed higher density A380, that will probably never get built.

photo ek435 seat 8photo ek435 seat 9

Push button window shades,

photo ek435 seat 15

but I still don't like the windows for viewing.

photo ek435 seat 14

These seats are based off the Skylounge III made by Zodiac. ANA uses a similar version in their staggered business class arrangement.

photo ek435 seat 10

And a tablet to control everything. I was very surprised at how heavy this device was. Plus it wasn't very responsive. As I said, these were the old seats. I'm sure numerous improvements have been made to these tablets in the new pods.

photo ek435 seat 11photo ek435 seat 12

While the ICE IFE system has great reviews, I found it to be clunky to navigate.



Time to go.

photo ek435 depart 1photo ek435 depart 2a

I must say, it's been awhile since I sat behind the engines. Airbus makes some quiet aircraft.

photo ek435 depart 3

After some bumps that I am quite sure were far more unsettling on a turboprop compared to this A380, we broke through the first layer of clouds.

photo ek435 depart 4

And headed off to the sunset.

photo ek435 depart 5

Marko was my flight attendant. He's in one of the photos above and reminded me that Emirates doesn't allow pictures of their crew. Whether or not that is true, my intention is always to blur the faces of any individual or crew member (including myself!). Marko was a great cabin attendant. Of course I was his only customer but hey, credit where credit is due. I started with a pre-departure champagne.

photo ek435 bev wine 1

Once airborne I went old standby.

photo ek435 food welcomephoto ek435 bev wine 2

Marko suggested I look up this wine. Wow Emirates, impressive!

photo ek435 bev wine 3

The beverage menu



The food menu had a full page devoted to Custard Tarts. What version will it be?

photo ek435 menu food 1 coverphoto ek435 menu food 2

Lemon, not my fav but it will do along with the Pan-fried beef fillet.

photo ek435 menu food 3

Single tray, really?

photo ek435 food 1 pres

Boring, but good.

photo ek435 food 2 app

No choice.

photo ek435 food 3 bread

Everyone in the pool!

photo ek435 food 4 main

At least it wasn't cooked to oblivion as the charred outside suggested. It was tasty but simply horribly presented in an ocean of grease.

photo ek435 food 5 steak

Saved by tart.

photo ek435 food 6 des

Too bad the main meal wasn't as nicely presented and tasty as this dessert.

photo ek435 food 7 des

And the "luxury" chocolate.

photo ek435 amenity 2

While Sydney to Auckland is 2 1/2 hours with the jet stream, going against the winds and a little farther north is 3 hours and 20 minutes. We never caught up to the sunset.

photo ek435 arrival 1photo ek435 arrival 2

Cabin attendant Marko and I had some long conversations during the flight. After hearing about my trip he arranged for me to tour the Emirates first class cabin on arrival. The ladies attending to first class (which I don't think had any passengers) were happy to show me around.

photo ek435 fc 1

While these seats look really nice, I was still surprised as I thought the suites were on the small side.

photo ek435 fc 2

The lovely flight attendant was anxious to show me the built in amenity kit that's stored underneath the lighted mirror.

photo ek435 fc 3

Of course I wanted to see the shower so we headed to the lavatory.

photo ek435 fc 4

While the Emirates cabins are somewhat gaudy, I found the shower lavatory to be nicely understated.



Feeling uncomfortable because the plane had emptied and the crew was probably wanting to do the same, I thanked the two ladies who showed me around and exited the Emirates A380, not really sure if I have the desire to fly them again. And I'm not sure why, I'm not sure.

For more information on this flight and how I got 20,000 points for about $150 go to rewardflying.com

Flight path

photo ek435 flight path
See more

Verdict

Emirates

6.8/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Meal/catering6.0

Emirates Lounge

7.3/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Services8.0

Auckland - AKL

6.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Brisbane - BNE

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

I guess my ending sums it up the best: "not really sure if I have the desire to fly them again. And I'm not sure why, I'm not sure." Sometimes when you experience something you want it again. I can't say that about this flight, even though everything was excellent (sans the grease pool). Great plane, good seats (newer are most likely are better), excellent crew, quality wine and food. What else could you want?

Maybe for them to fly the A380 out my home airport and not the 777?

Information on the route Auckland (AKL) Brisbane (BNE)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Auckland (AKL) → Brisbane (BNE).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Emirates with 8.4/10.

The average flight time is 3 hours and 46 minutes.

  More information

8 Comments

  • Comment 416967 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4986 Comments

    How appropriate that this report comes just weeks after QF and EK announced that QF will be taking over all the trans-Tasman routes from EK. It's kind of a shame they're stopping because these flights were one of those rare opportunities to sample EK A380 F or J for decent prices. Oh, well, at least QF will be running some A330s with Vantage XL a few times a day, even from BNE. How nice to have had the entire mini J cabin to yourself and it sounds like you had a great crew with the royal treatment. Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 416968 by
    Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 466 Comments

    Hi Kevin, how true. But at least there is still one EK A380 flight left,SYD-CHC I believe. Originally I had booked the AKL-SYD flight and when they cancelled it back in July I was put on a QF737. Not for the price I was paying! But EK let me change everything at no charge so it worked out. The plus side is Brisbane was awesome, I liked it far better than Sydney. Speaking of QF and the A330's, I actually think I like the 737 better for a short haul flight. I didn't like Qantas' Vantage XL pod. They used a faux leather and it was cold and uncomfortable. Maybe with a mattress pad it's better but I didn't care for it at all. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Comment 416969 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4986 Comments

      Ah yes, I do remember now you had previously said you didn't care for the QF version of the Vantage XL. The QF 737 is totally fine on a 2.5 hr trans-Tasman flight, it's just not the sexiest option when there are so many widebodies across the Tasman. I had thought that the Christchurch flight was operated by a 777 (at least it was in 2016 when I was looking at doing that route on EK), buy I see now it's been upgraded to A380, so good, there will indeed still be at least 1 EK A380.

  • Comment 417173 by
    Razza_Pr 205 Comments

    Greetings, Rewardflying, and thank you for this FR.

    "Two side wall storage containers are available for true window seats. I can't believe Airbus wants to eliminate this feature on the proposed higher density A380, that will probably never get built."
    -Fingers crossed it won't have to be. Fitting 3-5-3 economy sounds absolutely horrific - especially concerning safety of passengers.

    "This is the same style seat as in Thai's new A350, the Stelia Solstys."
    -I don't think it's Stelia Solstys?? Because China Southern has the same J class on their A380 as well, so maybe a different seat but similar staggered layout? In any case still better than the 2-3-2 on their 777.

    Interesting. Emirates offers (offered?) the most luxe trans-Tasman experience - I guess the argument here is whether or not it's really worth it. From your report I've managed to deduct what really lacked was.. character. From the lounge, the meals, to the flight attendant. Did the offer to visit their Suites cabin come across as up selling to you?

    4 hours between Auckland and Brisbane. If ever Virgin Australia operates A330s for the sector, and Emirates were still running A380s - honestly, which would you rather?

    Thanks again for this FR. Cheers!

  • Comment 417186 by
    Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 466 Comments

    Hello Razza, good to hear from you!

    As far as the seat, true it doesn't have the tray on the back of the forward pod that's a signature of the Solstys seat. I've looked and can't find who makes it. I still think It's an Airbus seat and obviously highly modified for Emirates. BTW, I saw a photo of Asiana's A350 seat and it look identical to Thai's. So maybe Thai didn't modify it and it's just the Solstys seat designed for an A350. Anyway, agreed on the J seat for EK's 777.

    So your point on Tasman service is interesting. Yes they do have the most luxurious service. Air New Zealand will fly their widebodies occasionally but a lot of economy only A320's along with Jetstar Y only. Qantas and VA have been 737's with business class. There are/were some other 5th freedom routes between the two countries, Latam 787 and China Airlines (recently cancelled). The Latam flight is always the least expensive in J, sometimes under $300 versus $500-$600 for the others. Emirates is priced at the same as Qantas. So all this leads me to believe travelers stick with their preferred carriers. It's like a United flight will go full to Tokyo in their crappy business class and an ANA flight will be half full, both at the same price but the UA's are looking for upgrades. Or travelers aren't looking for premium service on this route due to duration. My take anyway.

    I wouldn't say they tried to upsell me, just a casual comment that I should try first class next time. I just think the attendant thought I'd be interested in seeing it, due to the fact I'd told him I've been trying different carriers. I'm sure me praising Singapore helped that cause :)

    4 hours between Auckland and Brisbane. If ever Virgin Australia operates A330s for the sector, and Emirates were still running A380s - honestly, which would you rather?

    -No hesitation, Virgin

    Back next in a few weeks with the finale, American Airlines first class! I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat. Happy reward flying!

  • Comment 420038 by
    socalnow GOLD 926 Comments

    Thanks for this look at an interesting 5th freedom route. I had no idea that EK ever had such a robust trans-Tasman network and now they are winding it down.

    "It is a beautiful lounge."
    -And huge. Your question about the future of the lounge is a good one however.

    "I was in the intimate rear mini-cabin which has only 18 business class seats, 17 of which were empty today."
    -Woo hoo, private cabin.

    "It is reported that 23A/K have the most legroom of any business class seat. I can attest. "
    -Nice looking and private J seat there.

    "Marko suggested I look up this wine. Wow Emirates, impressive!"
    -Holy grapejuice! Really? That's remarkable for a 3 hour J flight.

    "Time to go."
    -Odd to be behind the wing but in J...

    The tray service is understandable if that J cabin was full. It seems odd when you are alone there. The meal didn't look as well as it reads on the menu.

    What a fun crew and tour of the F cabin.

    "Feeling uncomfortable because the plane had emptied and the crew was probably wanting to do the same, I thanked the two ladies who showed me around and exited the Emirates A380, not really sure if I have the desire to fly them again. And I'm not sure why, I'm not sure."
    -Interesting. From a points perspective the F redemption is challenging. The J service is underwhelming so I suppose I understand.

    Thanks again for sharing Mark. Happy flying.

  • Comment 420043 by
    Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 466 Comments

    Hi Christian,

    Thanks for this look at an interesting 5th freedom route. I had no idea that EK ever had such a robust trans-Tasman network and now they are winding it down.

    -Christchurch is going to be the only option left. Problem is in our summer it's cold down there. Snow!

    And huge. Your question about the future of the lounge is a good one however.

    -They probably will close it and use Qantas' lounge next door. My prediction.

    Woo hoo, private cabin.

    -Almost a private jet!

    Nice looking and private J seat there.

    -Yep, finally figured it out. While I stated it was a modified Airbus Stelia Solstys that is wrong. It is the Zodiac Skylounge which is what ANA uses and UA Polaris basically is. Too bad they don't put these in their 777's.

    Holy grapejuice! Really? That's remarkable for a 3 hour J flight.

    -Laughing...

    The tray service is understandable if that J cabin was full. It seems odd when you are alone there. The meal didn't look as well as it reads on the menu.

    -Disappointing is all I can say.

    Interesting. From a points perspective the F redemption is challenging. The J service is underwhelming so I suppose I understand.

    -Price for sure, plus I was really surprised at how small these first class suites were. The other is EK flies the 777 out of Chicago and J is 2x3x2, no thanks for 15 hours, but it's rumored that the new FC suite will go on this route, not that they release any space on this flight anyway. But maybe some day and I win the AS point lotto.

    Happy Reward flying!

  • Comment 488640 by
    STAR-ALLIANCE-FLYER 47 Comments

    EK lounge should deserve at least 9/10. well their onboard catering really sucks..same to CX.
    But you should rate AC lounge as 2/10, or even 0/0. It has NOTHING

Login to post a comment.