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.
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.
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.
Amenity kits, pyjamas and slippers are offered as well.
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.
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
It was a long taxi past Terminal 3, over the South Cross taxiway to runway 02C.
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.
Food on this flight was completely on demand, with continental breakfast, snacks, appetisers, mains, light bites, and sweet delights.
A la carte Dining
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
Instant Cup Noodles Popular and satisfying, instant cup noodles are available at any time
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Very soon after, we started descending over Western Victoria, before joining left base for runway 34 and landing on schedule.
Melbourne CBD in the distance Final approach to runway 34
On the landing roll, we passed the big brother EK406 departing for AKL.
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.
Singapore - SIN
Melbourne - MEL
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.
0 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".