There is something reassuring about a new plane. The engines are not as overworked, the seats are cleaner and the entire experience is smoother. The Emirates A380 800 is one of those planes that delivers such an experience, especially when you’re seated on the top deck, away from “cattle class”.
Flying from London Heathrow to Dubai on a morning flight, my spirits were lifted by an upgrade to a business class seat.
The new fleet of A380s has had an interior facelift. Gone are the grey plastic framings, replaced with wood veneers that re-enforces the feeling of luxury. The fully reclining seats of this aircraft offer space, comfort and sufficient privacy – each seat is attached to a personal minibar perched on top of a high cabinet. Within the cabinet is a foldaway table, sturdy enough to enjoy your meal and place your laptop. Given the power plugs next to the minibar and on-board Wi-Fi, working on those presentations becomes a doddle.
The in-flight entertainment is more enjoyable on the bigger screens and the option of strolling to the bar at the back for drinks and nibbles promised a sophisticated alternative to economy class ankle rolls to prevent deep-vein thrombosis. For those that wanted to sleep, a cotton duvet is available so no static shocks during your snooze.
The service was attentive with no chance of going thirsty or hungry as the cabin crew paced the aisles with drinks and snacks to sample. The menu offered a variety of dishes including chicken, salmon and lamb. I opted for the cold meze to start (a staple on all Emirates flights it seems) and the salmon, cooked just right for my palette – a tiny bit pink in the middle.
However, the experience was tarnished a little by the piercing screams of children. This was not the forgivable short-lived cries that occur during take off and landing or a child in distress struggling to get to sleep; this was unruly children not being managed by their parents.
Airlines should consider bundling families together in one section and leaving part of the plane as a quiet zone for adults – particularly those wanting to get some work done.
The professionalism of the staff made up for it though; they did their utmost to keep the children entertained.
An Emirates spokesperson tells Triska Hamid more about the Emirates experience:
How frequently does Emirates fly from London to Dubai and on which aircraft?
We fly to both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports. We have eight flights a day in total. For London Heathrow, we fly an all A380 operation five times daily. For London Gatwick, we fly thrice daily and have just announced the second A380 on the route.
Unruly children can ruin a flight, what is Emirates’ policy on this?
Emirates offers special assistance to make travelling more comfortable and convenient for our youngest flyers and their families, at every stage in their journey.
Has Emirates considered ‘adults only’ zones on the A380s?
No we have not.
What has been the response to Wi-Fi on board?
The response has been tremendous. It’s free to blog, post or tweet from your seat on most of our A380 aircraft as you can enjoy 10MB of data for free. In fact, we have found that the longer the flight, the higher the rates of people connecting on our flights.
What inspired the menu selection for the London-Dubai flights?
Menus are planned for each individual route to ensure that meals served are appropriate to the destination. Emirates strives to make every journey a destination in itself so our passengers get a taste of local palate or be reminded of home, prior to their arrival. The menus are planned by regional catering managers and the concept development team who visit outstations to sample the dishes before launch.
* The writer was a guest of Emirates.