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Emirates A380 Business Class – Sydney to Bangkok

Emirates A380 Business Class – Sydney to BangkokScore 85%Score 85%
TRIP Report: Trip: Myanmar for a birthday




Airline and Aircraft

Emirates  Boeing A388

Date and Time

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Depart: 19:20 AEST
Arrive: 01:45 ICT (+1 Day)
Duration: 9h 27m

Route

EK419
Sydney (SYD) – Bangkok (BKK)

Cabin

14F (Business Class)

Frequent Flyer Scheme

Emirates Skywards

Fare

Booked on Qantas website using  120,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points (Qantas Classid Rewards) and AU$631 in fees per person

Bagage Allowance

Checked: 40Kgs + 12kgs as a Qantas Silver Frequent Flyer = 52kgs
On Board: Briefcase: 

Check-In

Our check-in was pretty smooth. We were asked if we were happy with the ‘couple’ seats we had been allocated (14E and 14F). When we got on board, it was obvious that they had a lot of flexibility in seat allocation, since business class was only half full. With heaps of seats available, we could have chosen any seating configuration we liked.

The biggest visual offence is a surprise

After years of reading flight blogs, and seeing oodles of pictures of the Emirates faux pale walnut wood look, I expected that aspect of the decor to be the most offensive. That was not the case. The most offensive aspect is those sort of bluish/purple waveforms in moulded synthetic something that cover the ‘backs’ of the seats. At best they seem like something out of a 1970’s interpretation of a Pucci print. At worst, they look like someone left the flight engineers in charge of interior design.

The Seat

These are surprisingly well designed, and well executed. The cabin format is not overly cluttered, and the ample ‘desk’ or console space and soft drink array is remarkably useful.

My ‘couples’ seat had the console to the left and the seat divider to the right (in the picture above). The divider screen was up when we got to our seats, and a flight attendant showed us how to lower it before we really noticed it was there, using the controls you can see above on the right of the image.

To the left is the hand control for the ICE entertainment system.

The divider doesn’t fully retract, so it’s still a bit annoying to your sense of space even when down. Don’t get me started on that hideous pattern and colour combination.

You can see the power points in the top left of the above picture – 2 x USB, headphones jack, and an international power outlet. Next to it is the push button for the reading light – see detail below.

Soft Drink Storage

Also to the right of the seat is the soft drink storage area, which I have often thought of as a bit of a gimmick, experiencing it first hand, I found it quite useful. If you’re thirsty at any stage, there is something to drink immediately at hand rather than pressing the call button, waiting to be attended to, and then waiting to be served.

Seat Controls

Simple controls for the seat functions are in the panel to the rightin the console. There are other controls in the ‘tablet’ affixed to the console, but I rarely used them. The short cut controls were enough most of the time.

Boarding

We boarded at about 7 pm. Access to the gate was pretty prompt from the Emirates lounge – up a floor, and then around a corner from memory.

Our Thai flight attendant introduced herself by name (sorry I missed the name and couldn’t read the name tag without appearing to be a dirty old man) and pointed out the toilets and where the bar is.

A glass or champagne, amenity packs and menus were delivered in pretty short order around 7:06pm. This crew were werking!

Headphones

Socks, eyeshades and Emirates branded noise cancelling headphones were already in place.

Amenity Pack

Amenities were Bulgari branded for men:

And included all the essentials. I don’t know whether you are the same, but I rarely use these on the flight, but pillage them later when I’m travelling. For some reason, mini shaving cream aerosols are always useful. The kit contained some Bulgari ‘au thé blanc’ Eau de Ccologne, hand/body and after shave lotion, tissues, a brush, deodorant, shaving cream and a toothbrush and holder.

If you want to make an offer, I have a drawerful of unopened amenity kits at home!

Storage

There was a lack of storage around the seat, although that side console was handy to place things on. There was a bit of a paper storage flap on the back of the next seat:

. . . but other than that, it was really either up in the overhead, or in the footwell or below it.

Cabin Condition

The cabin was at first glance in pretty good condition until you took a closer look – at say the armrests . . .

The business class cabin we occupied was probably about 2/3 full. Most of the ‘couple’ or ‘honeymoon’ seats (centre seats together) were occupied. The centre seating where seats are on the aisle were all empty, the same was true for some of the ‘window’ seats on the aisles. All the true window seats were occupied.

O, Oh! Children

There were a  concerning number of children on board as well. I always anticipate noise and bad behaviour, but that is the cynic in me.

Service

Flight attendants had a good eye for detail and passenger needs in this pre-takeoff time. They cleared the detritus of embarkation – plastic packs from headphones, various rubbish, discarded towels and empty glasses etc.

The flight deck announced – amongst other things – that the Flight crew originated from 17 countries and spoke 18 languages.

All announcements were done in Arabic, English and Thai – in that order. Thai immigration cards distributed along with premium lane passes for Bangkok. I like this, as you can get the administration-of-travel completed before you get off the ground.

The safety video was played at 7:23 pm as we were leaving the gate.

Flight attendants were called to their take-off seats just when the video was talking about not using e-cigarettes in the restrooms. Distractingly a couple of flight attendants were having a good old chin wag across the cabin, during this bit of the safety video.

At 7:44 pm the ‘crew prepare for takeoff’ announcement was made, as the plane turned into its runway approach.

A minute later at 19:45 we were in the air.

The resolution of the external camera was really shitty.

The flight

I went and changed into my pyjamas (Emirates does not supply them in Business class).  I like getting comfortable as soon as I can after takeoff.

Drinks and meals orders were taken by phablet at 8:10 pm Sydney time. Some airline critics complain that Emirates service is somewhat robotic – this is where I started getting a feel of that.

Here are our choices:

Menu for both Drinks and Food

‘The Region’ in this case being ?  Spot the Australian and Thai dishes . . . Would it be the Vietnamese chicken salad, or the mushroom and cheese arancini?

On the other hand, I did like the cocktail list. With the exception of the Cosmopolitan, it had basically all my favourite cocktails.

And for those who know and care about wine –

Happy with the Champagne, and a Barossa Valley Shiraz, althought really, it’s not a very deep selection.

Does anyone still drink Port?

My Negroni arrived along with warm nuts at 8:25.

This was a holiday trip, so it was time to relax and chat with my partner Mickaeli.

Psycho Lights

We got distracted by a weird cabin electronics malfunction. First, the lighting went a bit psycho – with different parts of the cabin lights going up and down, and changing colour. Then our reading lights turned themselves off, and then a flight attended answered our call button, which we hadn’t pressed, even accidentally.  Then the cabin lights came on full and then dimmed and we had to use our reading lights again. Weird. Cabin staff behaved like nothing had happened.

Food

I had snacked a little in the Emirates lounge back in Sydney, so wasn’t that hungry. Still, I didn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night feeling peckish, so I eshewed an entree (starter) and just ordered the main course of seared chicken, mushy peas, sage jus, and fried gnocchi, with a side salad.

At 10:40 Sydney time – or roughly 3.5 hours into the flight, they removed our nuts and water glass, and laid the table.

I ate a little over half – nothing wrong with it, chicken moist, and gnocchi light – just not much hunger.

I was offered dessert, but, preferred to nibble at the cheese plate, which came with a selection of fruit, and some chocolates.

Bar

We had strayed into the bar earlier, intending to fill the gap between takeoff and  meal service with a pre-dinner drink, but it wasn’t really set up. Much better on our return after dinner.

We got a couple of party snaps. It turns out the staff have a Polaroid camera in the bar and will take your image, delivering it back to you in a retro-themed travel card. And yes, that image has been artfully arranged to obscure me and Mikaeli. You don’t want to see the image of us tired and emotional. Believe me, you don’t.

I spent much of my time, chatting with my partner (we are great travel buddies, as well as partners) reading up on Myanmar and watching Black Panther. Not sure what all the fuss was about, but then I’m not much of an ‘adventure’ film devotee. It did keep me entertained.

We were making a conscious effort not to sleep, as we didn’t want to wreck our actual sleep once we overnighted in Bangkok before our flight onto Yangon.

Now I’m not saying that I drank too much, but put it this way, for some reason, I have no photo’s or notes, or anything else until we were about to disembark.

 

Verdict

This was my first flight on Emirates in any class. I was expecting a comfortable flight with professional service, and that’s what I got.

If you overlook the hideous finishes in the cabin, then, Business Class is comfortable, and the service, although a little ‘conveyer belt’, was more than acceptable. The cabin crew worked their butts off particularly pre-takeoff and were constantly alert to passenger needs.

I was impressed.

There are some things I didn’t care for – that tablet controller thingy is just too heavy and fairly useless as far as I was concerned. Other than playing with it because it was there, I found the user interface complex and frustrating. Things that impressed were the console next to the seat that proved a convenient place to rest things on, and I ended up appreciating the drinks cabinet, for quick self-serve beverages.

The external cameras are very low-res, and that’s disappointing.

All round a good solid business class option that I would happily fly again.

Other Posts in the Series
<< Emirates Lounge, Sydney Airport. The most beautiful centre piece in the worldOne night outside Bangkok – Novotel at Suvarnabhumi Airport >>

Verdict

85%

Summary This is a more than solid business class product. Upside is the seat, bar, entertainment and food. Service good but a bit robotic. Surprise - cabin strangely more hideous than I expected - faux wood not as offensive as I expected

85%

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