“Welcome on board this Emirates flight to Brisbane”
Brisbane? Am I on the right plane?
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please disregard the menu stating Auckland to Melbourne, we are in fact off to Sydney”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Dubai”
Either Dubai now has a harbour with replica bridge and Opera House or I’m pretty sure this is Sydney!
It was kind of farcical, I mean I can understand one error over the PA, these guys and gals are flying all over the world through different timezones and seasons. Whats that old saying? If its Tuesday it must be Belgium? But it seemed that things would be slightly screw whiff throughout this flight. Maybe my expectations were high after visiting the Emirates Lounge in Auckland, surely what they can do on the ground they can replicate in the air right?
Bert and I were flying from Auckland to Sydney but due to mitigating circumstances, we were seated in different cabins. Bert was flying First Class and myself in mere Business Class, woe is me. Bert was using his Qantas Frequent Flyer points and had spent days trying to book a seat in Business Class, countless calls to both Qantas and Emirates were of no help, although the seat would become available online and on the phone, it simply couldn’t be booked. In the end, he flew First. Woe is Bert. Delightfully though, they tagged both our bags ‘Priority First’ through to Sydney.
Boarding was slightly delayed but we were on board within moments of the flight being called. Thanks to a dedicated First and Business aerobridge which leads to the upper deck where the premium cabins are located.
I was quite impressed with the neatness and clean lines of the Business Class cabin. I’ve heard and read that some people dont like the gaudy faux wood panelling and gold, but I found it subtle. There are 76 Business Class seats on the Emirates a380 in a 1-2-1 configuration, with each seat having aisle access and 87-88 inch pitch and converting to a fully flat bed.
With the staggered configuration, the seats alongside the windows have either the seat against the window or the table.
I was seated in the centre section. The come with either two seats together with a table at the aisle which makes it suitable for couples or, as in my case, the table in the middle between the seats which is nicer for the solo traveller.
It was like looking through a telephone book when it came to the entertainment. Pages upon pages of movies, tv shows, music and games to watch on your seat back tv. There is also a small console to operate lighting or call a Flight Attendant without interrupting your main screen, plus a USB and power charger. On a short flight you might want to pick something quickly! I watched the new release Ricki and the Flash and it was a great movie.
Prior to pushback, the crew came through the cabin with a tray of pre departure drinks of Champagne (Moët), juice or water. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m not much of a drinker of bubbles, so it I asked whether I could have a Sauvignon Blanc and was quickly obliged.
I was promptly served a glass of Hãhã Sauvignon Blanc which is a gorgeous drop from Hawkes Bay, and the menu for tonights dinner service was also presented along with a brief explanation of each of the three main dishes available.
It didn’t bother me much that the menu was for the Auckland to Melbourne flight, even if the announcement was previously made that we were off to Brisbane, I just found it a little comical. Apparently others on board may have not when the announcement came over confirming that we were definitely flying to Sydney and it was ‘due to a late aircraft change and the menus had already been loaded‘ as to the reason for the menu mistake. Hhhmm, were the meals?
The menu looked fairly ok for a short sector, fish, chicken or beef. Surprisingly it did not include a Vegetarian dish, I gather this must need to be pre ordered – thats ok for me, I am a carnivore, but if you’re not, keep that pre ordering in mind. When the Flight Attendant came to me, I ordered the Pan-fried Beef Fillet, it sounded delish, then I headed back to the on board bar and met up with Bert for a drink 🙂
Located at the rear of the upper deck, the bar services both the First and Business Class cabins. For both there are canapés and petit fours and drinks as per the Business Class menu. If you are from First Class, you may have a drink reserved for that cabin, thinkMoët vs Dom Perignon, Johnny Walker Double Black vs Johnny Walker Blue. Its a pretty cool area and the crew are uber friendly.
There is a small cocktail menu and Bert ordered Cipriano, I asked for a Margarita, the latter was not available as they looked through the cocktail menu… “If you know how to make it yourself you are welcome to” I was informed. I ordered a Scotch and cola (the Double Black obviously, not the Blue). After the drink, I could see the tablecloths being laid out for dinner, so I headed back to my seat and bid Bert goodbye as he headed back to his.
I loved it when I arrived back to my seat and a dish of warm nuts were accompanying a new glass of wine. While setting the table of my seat neighbour, the Flight Attendant greeted me with “Oh I am so sorry Sir, I didn’t take your order for dinner”
“Yes you did love, I ordered the Beef” I replied.
“Oh I am so sorry” she said while flipping through her notebook. “Hhhmm, no Beef left, would you care for the Salmon Mussaman?”
“No thanks, I’ll have the chicken then….But I did order the beef”
“Are you sure you don’t want the salmon?”
“Um, no, preferably beef, but if not the chicken”
Now I’m not that much of a food know-it-all, but the thought of salmon in a Mussaman curry, which I thought is usually reserved for strong tough cuts of meat such as beef or goat didn’t sound appealing to me. Maybe I should have tried it, they pushed it enough…
I was served the chicken dish with the seafood duo entree. It came on one tray all plated in the galley and on a three and a half hour flight, thats acceptable. The seafood duo with potato salad was nice albeit having that pre-frozen watery flavour seafood can sometimes have.
I just don’t know what to say about the main dish “Grilled chicken with herbed butter and chicken jus lie served with sauteed vegetable” , without being scathingly rude. The crushed potatoes were a scooped gluggy lump of what tasted like a rehydrated pack of Deb Mash. While the chicken looked grilled to perfection, It was the toughest and dried piece of meat I’ve ever tried to cut and chew through. The sauteed vegetables..were nothing but a few soggy pieces of carrot. All of this was bathing in the ‘Jus Lie’, or what was thin waterish pan juice. So disappointing. After a few bites, I asked for it to be taken away and ordered the cheese platter which ‘a selection of international cheeses’ sounded OK.
I peered across and looked at my seat neighbours meal, who also ordered and received the Pan-fried Beef Fillet with thyme jus, potato gratin, roasted tomato, mushroom and asparagus. I was pea green with envy as it looked really good. Alas, it wasn’t to be for me and I stopped watching him eat while I waited on my cheese platter I was about to enjoy.
Served on a wooden board with crudités and a side dish of water crackers, it looked divine and it was but this is where I started to giggle. After it was presented I asked what cheeses were on the platter and where were they from, I wasn’t being a cheese snob, I just wanted to indulge. The Flight Attendant wasn’t sure so headed back to the galley to find out. When she came back she said “White, Blue, Soft, Hard and Adam”. I could do nothing but laugh.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. It was comfortable and drinks were topped up throughout with this nifty tray of bottles complete with new glasses crew would walk through the cabin with.
After we landed in Sydney, the final laughable moment was when they announced our arrival in Dubai.
While it was sometimes a comedy of errors on this flight, the papillon of crew that did their utmost to make it comfortable, except for a margarita at the bar and an order of beef, they responded to all requests quickly. The cabin, entertainment and amenities such as the bar, I thought were great. Overall, while I was disappointed, I was not marred by the experience and would definitely give Emirates Business Class another go.
FreakyFlier purchased his ticket independently.