Review of Emirates flight Singapore Melbourne in First

Airline Emirates
Flight EK404
Class First
Seat 2K
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 07:25
Take-off 23 Feb 13, 22:25
Arrival at 24 Feb 13, 08:50
EK   #4 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 519 reviews
lammified
By 11268
Published on 13th November 2013
It's February 2013, and I'm returning to Melbourne for my final year of undergraduate studies. I generally fly down under about a week before school starts, to give me enough time to get things in order, buy textbooks etc. I'm once again booked to fly in economy, seat 18A selected months beforehand.

No upgrade email arrives in the days leading up the flight, and I'm not exactly expecting one either. Flights to Melbourne during this period are generally full, again due to the flood of students heading back to school. I proceed with online check-in 24 hours before the flight, and everything is still showing as economy.

I'm busy with errands in the morning and early afternoon, and I check my flight details online at 5pm, and it now shows 7J - Business Class. Step one complete - Economy to Business. I certainly don't expect another upgrade. I am fully aware of what is within the realm of possibility, and a double upgrade certainly isn't. The thought doesn't even cross my mind. I get my bags together, and leave for the airport with my family. I check libhomeradar and find out that the flight will be operated by A6-EBY, an older 77W which doesn't have ICE Digital Widescreen, and I gripe about not being able to make my own playlist on the drive to the airport.

I get to the airport, check-in at the business class counters (owing to my Skywards Silver status), bags are priority tagged (it was nice of the agent to do so, op-ups normally do not get their bags priority tagged), and I am handed a boarding pass saying 7J with no lounge invitation (op-ups do not enjoy lounge access either). My family and I head upstairs to the Paradise Inn Restaurant to have a nice dinner before I fly off. After dinner, I pass through immigration and browse the duty free shops before heading to the gate. I'm looking forward to having a nice supper onboard, and then to sleep until the flight arrives in Melbourne.

Security at Changi Airport is done at the individual gates, and passengers from the earlier leg from DXB have formed a queue and it's long - F and J passengers can use a premium lane to bypass the queue and that's exactly what I did. Security is generally trouble-free, and now it's to the gate agent to scan my BP. She takes my BP and scans it, and the scanner flashes red. I panic internally, thinking that I've been thrown to the back of the bus. The agent starts fiddling with the keyboard, and I glance over at the screen. The last line of text on the screen now shows 'Shift to 2K' or something along these lines. A short cabin breakdown: F is in rows 1 & 2, J is rows 6 - 11, and Y is row 17 onwards. I am doing mental fistpumps at this point, and the agent uses a pen to scratch off 7J and writes 2K below. Second step complete - Business to First. I'm pretty much over the moon at this point, wondering whether this luck would be better used in buying lottery tickets as opposed to cabin upgrades on 7 hour flights.

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Boarding is soon called, and I'm among the first to get up and pass through the doors onto the aerobridge. Almost all gates at Changi have at least 2 aerobridges, and the first aerobridge is connected to the L1 door. It is 'guarded' by a Dnata agent to allow only F pax through, and he waves me on when I indicate that I intend to use this aerobridge. I have to explain that I have been moved before he relents. He probably fancies himself as Gandalf saying 'you shall not pass!'

I reach the aircraft door, where I am welcomed onboard by the Filipino purser Jerome. He takes my bags and walks me to my seat, also introducing me to the 2 male flight attendants joining him in F, one from Germany and the other from Hong Kong.

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A6-EBY is an older 77W than the ones that usually operate the route (A6-EC* and A6-EG*). It was recently refurbished, hence the new electronic window shades, but it retains the older Panasonic S3000 ICE system, and lacks the newer cabin features such as the high ceiling in the F cabin. I was offered a welcome drink, and 2003 Dom Perignon is the drink of choice, Moet Chandon Brut Imperial was the other champagne option available.

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Amenity kits, pyjamas and slippers are offered as well.

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The cabin is feels noticeably smaller, largely in part due to the lower ceiling on this older aircraft, but the mood lighting and starry sky effects mitigate this somewhat.
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Soon, boarding was completed, all 3 classes at 100%, and we pushed back for departure. Hot towels were offered.

AF257 to CDG at the next gate
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It was a long taxi past Terminal 3, over the South Cross taxiway to runway 02C.
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We departed towards the north, before making a right turn towards the southeast. The SOP was followed, with the purser announcing the languages spoken by the crew, and thereafter coming round to release the suites from their ground mode, and then serve some warm nuts and drinks. I requested to switch out the warm nuts, and my request was promptly dealt with, and a saucer of chips was served shortly after. I also consumed drinks from the minibar.

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Food on this flight was completely on demand, with continental breakfast, snacks, appetisers, mains, light bites, and sweet delights.

A la carte Dining

Continental Breakfast

Fruit juice
Refreshing choice of freshly squeezed juices

Breakfast fruits
A palette or ripe tropical and seasonal cut fresh fruits

Yoghurt
Natural or flavoured with fruit

Assorted cereals
Choice of crunchy cornflakes or nutritious muesli

Breakfast bread basket
A variety of soft and crusty fresh baked breads, butter croissants and flaky breakfast pastries served with butter and preserves

Delicatessen's cold meats and cheese
Offering a gourmet selection of goat's cheese, creamy French Boursin with pepper, crumbly Greek feta and Swiss gruyere cheeses, with shaved roast chicken and wafer-thin beef, dressed with an array of fresh crudités and garnishes

Snacks

Instant Cup Noodles
Popular and satisfying, instant cup noodles are available at any time

Appetisers

Caviar
Perfectly prepared chilled caviar presented with a traditional selection of finely chopped onion, chopped boiled egg, sour cream and lemon, served with crisp Melba toast and soft blini pancake

Crab remoulade with papaya and melon
Fresh crabmeat mixture, with juicy papaya and melon, garnished with roasted plum and pink peppercorns

Beef tenderloin roll with daikon
Prime beef tenderloin with Japanese white radish, served with potato salad seasoned with wasabi and rich tangy caramelised onion chutney

Main Courses

Snapper with herb, onion and olive sauce
Firm fresh fish fillet in a crisp polenta coating, dressed with a herb, onion and olive sauce, served with baby carrots, green asparagus and crushed potatoes

Grilled tenderloin
Prime beef steak, drizzled with piquant black pepper sauce, served with red pepper, woodland mushrooms and golden roast potatoes

Roast duck breast
Toasted tender duckling breast, dressed with rich garlic oyster sauce, served with steamed celery, baby corn and steamed white rice

Gnocchi with herbs and tomato
Hand rolled fresh baby potato dumplings, sautéed and tossed in a herb and tomato sauce, served with yellow and green courgettes

Poached chicken breast with tarragon and pea sauce
Succulent chicken breast gently poached and served with an aromatic tarragon and pea sauce, broccoli florets and ribbons of al dente fettucini pasta

A la carte vegetables
Our chefs have paired each meal with their ideal accompaniments, but we offer a variety of alternative vegetables to your taste, including glazed carrot batons, sauteed fine green beans, creamy mashed potatoes, and saffron infused rice

Bread basket
Choose soft, crusty, granary, garlic or Arabic from our variety of freshly baked rolls and breads

Light Bites

Seasonal salad
Crisp fresh garden salad leaves and vegetables, tossed in your preferred dressing

Cheese board
A carefully chosen assortment of the finest boutique cheeses from around the world, served with a selection of crudités, crackers and dried fruits

Sweet Delights

Lime and passion fruit gateau
Citrus sweet and fruity cake, served with fresh redcurrant coulis

Selection of fruit
A seasonal assortment of the finest fresh cut fruits

Chocolates
A luxurious rich chocolate selection provides the perfect finale

Supper was served about an hour or so out of Singapore, when the aircraft was tracking over Java. Turbulence on this flight was quite severe between Singapore and Port Hedland, I distinctly remember my water glass becoming weightless at some points as I held it in my hand and wine was sloshing out of glasses.

Table Setting
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Caviar to start
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Beef tenderloin entrée
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Roast duck main
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Dessert
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A hotel towel and Godiva chocolates to end supper
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I requested my seat be turned down whilst going to the lavatory. The purser saw to it, and brought an immigration card and express path card to me before I went to sleep. He also asked if I wanted to have breakfast and when I would like it served. By this time, we were about to make landfall over Port Hedland and I wanted to get some sleep, so I kept it simple and requested instant noodles be served an hour out of Melbourne.

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I was roused from my slumber about 3.5 hours later as the aircraft was about to overfly Adelaide, and I was served my requested breakfast. Please don't judge me for requesting instant cup noodles for breakfast in F. I'm not exactly a pastry person, and none of the other options seemed appetising at that time of day. At least they served the noodles in a bowl and not in the original cup. I had some apple juice to go along with it.
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Very soon after, we started descending over Western Victoria, before joining left base for runway 34 and landing on schedule.

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Melbourne CBD in the distance
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Final approach to runway 34
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On the landing roll, we passed the big brother EK406 departing for AKL.
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We parked at one of the gates in the International Terminal extension, and then began the long trek to passport control and customs. Thankfully, the queues were non-existent and I was out of the terminal less than half an hour after I left the aircraft.




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Verdict

Emirates

9.1/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering8.5

Singapore - SIN

9.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Melbourne - MEL

6.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

I don't think I'll ever have the opportunity to fly in F again anytime soon, unless something like this happens again, I'm certainly not holding my breath over it. Flying Emirates over the years has made me expect the unexpected at the best and worst of times. I certainly place a value on being a frequent flyer, especially considering the flight I enjoyed in this report, and numerous other operational upgrades over the last 2 years. I hope to hear your views on Emirates and your take on upgrades that you've gotten over the years.

Happy flying!

lammified

Information on the route Singapore (SIN) Melbourne (MEL)

17 Comments

  • Comment 92735 by
    lagentsecret SILVER 10632 Comments

    Thanks for sharing your first FR and welcome aboard

    You were incredibly lucky with this double upgrade

    I find EK to be incredibly stingy with not allowing access to the lounge for upgraded pax

    I hope to see you soon for another Flight Report, even not in First Class ;)

    G_G

    • Comment 284022 by
      lammified AUTHOR 14 Comments

      They allow lounge access for mileage upgrades, just not operational upgrades. Seeing that the flight originated in Singapore, it's not really necessary to go to the lounge, since there is complimentary WIFI and the airport itself is an excellent place to spend some time walking around. Keep a lookout for my next report which will cover Jetstar's new 787 from Melbourne to Gold Coast in Business Class, probably sometime next month.

      Cheers!

  • Comment 92737 by
    kelval 122 Comments

    Thanks a lot for this FR.
    I guess you can indeed feel like you won the lottery!

  • Comment 92738 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4958 Comments

    Awesome report! Wow a double Op-Up, that's rare with any airline. Interesting that you've had several Op-ups over the years as a Silver--Emirates must have a lower percentage of high-level Elites as Op-ups rarely go to silvers on most carriers, especially the US airlines that I am used to. I'm not familiar with Skywards, does lounge access only come to Gold and higher or is it uniquely for premium cabins? It's nice that with EK in F you can have anything you want on demand, even ramen :-) A truly First Class experience! Thanks again for sharing this first report!

    Welcome to Flight-Report!

    Kevin (KévinDC)
    Community Manager and Moderator

    • Comment 284032 by
      lammified AUTHOR 14 Comments

      For Op-ups (as a Blue or Silver FF), this is most apparent on their routes out of Singapore to Australia, both to Brisbane and Melbourne, since they are 5th freedom routes, and have only 1 flight a day. The same is not true of the rest of the Emirates network. Lounge Access varies depending on booked class of travel (Business or First) or Skywards Gold/Platinum/IO, but Silver FF get Business lounge access in Dubai as an additional perk. Thanks for the comments!

  • Comment 92739 by
    East African 1508 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this once in a lifetime experience!
    welcome aboard :-)

  • Comment 92748 by
    PAT62 5044 Comments

    You are the Lucky Guy for this month...
    Very nice flight considering an economy ticket,
    Do you have a secret for upgrade (Going in special Church ...)
    for upgrade ?
    Welcome and thanks for this report !

    • Comment 284033 by
      lammified AUTHOR 14 Comments

      No secret. I typically travel during peak periods, when the flights are heavily overbooked, so I usually expect an op-up regardless of whether I'm booked in economy or not. This flight was actually my second double upgrade on Emirates, but that is a story for another time. Thanks for the comments!

  • Comment 92759 by
    GtFloridian 44 Comments

    Hi Lammified,

    Welcome Aboard, as lagentsecret said you were incredibly lucky with this double upgrade
    Nice Flight Report on Bling-Bling Airlines.

    Best

  • Comment 92774 by
    A380B77W 4347 Comments

    Thanks for this very good first report !

    Nice pictures and again a very good catering with EK :D

  • Comment 92788 by
    marathon GOLD 9515 Comments

    Flight Report is a strange world where students get to fly First class. Too bad I am no longer a student ^^
    You appear not to have taken cheese, which saves me the trouble to comment on them (a favorite topic, lately).
    What I blame are not the instant noodles, but the disposable chopsticks, the kind you have in any Far East food court.
    You may like or dislike EK's tastes in interior design and decoration, but you cannot call it bland.
    This is an excellent first FR; you are welcome to post the reports on your next flight, no matter the class. Welcome among the website's contributors !

    • Comment 284034 by
      lammified AUTHOR 14 Comments

      I typically avoid cheese onboard aircraft (makes me flatulent) and I'm not a big fan of wine either. The disposable chopsticks look a big out of place in a First Class cabin, but at least they plated the noodles. My most recent flight with Emirates in Business Class had them serve it to me in the original cup, which is unacceptable for Business Class. I've grown accustomed to EK's interior stylings, so I'm immune to the excessive wood and gold trim, but someone who's flying for the first time would probably be overwhelmed by it. Thanks for the comments!

    • Comment 284067 by
      Papoumada SILVER 5631 Comments

      And next to the Roquefort area ;)

    • Comment 284082 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4958 Comments

      Yes, and it's my favorite cheese :-)

  • Comment 92831 by
    Papoumada SILVER 5631 Comments

    Thank you so much for sharing this once in a life time experience.

    Your first FR is really excellent : hope to read again from you in the future.

    Your new academic year could not start a better way. Hope it has been the same all around ;)

    Welcome on board.

  • Comment 92897 by
    aurel-lil 4259 Comments

    great first FR and welcome to flight report ;)
    double upgrade, you're a Lucky guy !

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