The flight departed at International terminal and check-in was divided into 4 lanes: economy, online checked-in, business/gold/silver and finally first class/platinum. There were a lot of people queing up in the economy lane, while business and first class lanes were nearly empty.
At Syndey Airport, there used to be an express security channel for premium passengers, just behind Qantas's first class check-in area. However, on the day of the flight, it was the beginning of mainenance of that area, so the express channel was unfortunately closed. Luckily, during the early hours, there weren't too many passengers.
Business and first class passengers are entitled to enjoy the Emirates lounge. The lounge is situated next to gates 50-57, just next to Starbucks.
The Emirates lounge is just one level down from the main terminal area. Upon entry, you'll be greeted by a friendly staff who will check your boarding pass and verify some details and after that you're all set to enjoy the lounge. There are 2 area in the lounge, one is just on the left, away from the main lounge area which is quieter and the main area is larger with the buffet section and washroom.
I chose to sit at the main lounge area mainly because of the buffet. There are 2 morning Emirates flights, one departing for Dubai (the earlier one) and the other to Christchurch. It could be a bit noisy and busy when passengers flying to Dubai hasn't left the lounge yet. Once all the passengers for the Dubai flight have left, the lounge became peaceful again.
I settled down on the far right-hand corner of the lounge, just under the Emirates logo. For the buffet, continental style breakfast was served during the morning hours, which include sausages, hashbrown, toast, scrambled eggs, fruit plates, museli and more. As for drinks, they include coffee, tea, juices, a wide variety of wines as well as water. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of the buffet.
WiFi was also offered, however, the speed was slow.
The flight was boarded at gate 57, not far away from the lounge.
Boarding is divided into economy and business/first passengers.
To my surprise, economy passengers seated at zones C and F were asked to board before everyone and they had to wait in the aerobridge before business and first-class passengers actually stepped into the plane.
The business class cabin is divided into 2 cabins, both of them are behind the first class cabin on the upper deck. There is also a bar area behind all the seats for both business and first-class passengers to enjoy.
And this is my seat, a very decent product. A pillow, blanket and a noise-cancelling headphone were provided. Apart from the overhead bin, you can also store your personal belongings inside the cabinets just next to your seat.
A high-quality noise cancelling headphone (among all airlines headphones).
There are one large screen in front of the seat, just above the footrest. There is also a tablet-sized screen next to you, in which you'll find it convenient to control the large one.
Just next to you, you'll find a tiny drink cabinet, where Evian water, Perrier water and a few cans of soft drinks are provided. Charging including an USB port and a power outlet can also be found. A HDMI inlet is also provided if you wish to broadcast your own media to the large IFE screen.
These are the seat recline functions
Basically, you can choose to lie flat completely, gradually recline the seat, revert to its original position or move the seat forward or backward
The window shades on premium cabins are also slightly different. Instead of using those traditional plastic shades, paper blinds are used, which are controlled by 2 buttons (up and down) under the window. There are 2 layers of blinds, with the first layer drawn down, you'll still get a bit of sunlight in however with both layers down, there'll be almost no sunlight coming in.
There is also a remote control that lets you control the entertainment system as well. This would come in handy when you're reclined at an angle and couldn't reach the tablet on the far right. This remote gives you control over entertainments, in-flight information and also seat controls such as overhead light and crew call bell.
As mentioned earlier, there is a bar area at the back of the cabin. Fresh fruits and a wide range of alcohol were served. You can also act as a bartender and the friendly crew will take pictures of you. They are really nice and funny too!
There are some seats on both sides of the bar if you wish to meet new people onboard or simply chat with your friends
Then breakfast was served, there were 3 choices:
1) Poached eggs with hollandaise
2) Scrambled eggs with truffle
3) Gingerbread french toast
I went for the second option
It was also served alongside with a muffin, salmon, fruits and pancake. In my opinion, the salmon was a bit dry, the eggs tasted a little bit strange and the best food here was the fruit
This is the seat in the recline mode (i.e. reclined the most) Of course the seat can be lied completely flat however I didn't find that too comfortable given that I wasn't sleeping
We soon entered New Zealand above a series of spectacular snowy mountains and landed just 10 minutes late, given that we departed 30 minutes late, meaning that we were able to catch up some time
Emirates hasn't let me down in any aspect of its business product, except for its catering onboard. The lounge is also fairly outdated, which would require some upgrades to match the standard of other airlines lounges. Overall this was a very enjoyable flight across the Tasman