Flying Emirates First Class ensured exception service and comfort, creating the ideal experience for a long-haul flight. Although this aircraft does provide an optimal choice for a lengthy flight from Australia, given the choice I would opt for the A380.
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I was enthused at the prospect of flying Emirates, an airline regarded as one of the best in its field; after two years of border closures and restrictions due to the global pandemic.
The process of checking in at Melbourne International Airport is smooth and professionally guided by ground staff, particularly for Business or First Class tickets. In fact, the process was so smooth and efficient, that it took within 30 minutes before we had cleared security and customs and had arrived at the Marhaba Lounge.
Due to the fact that Qantas flights were not operating at the time of out flight, Qantas First Lounge was closed and the Emirates Lounge at Melbourne has been closed since the start of the pandemic, which detracted significantly from the experience. The Marhaba lounge was overcrowded and it proved very difficult to find a seat, as many various airlines made use of the lounge.
Crew & Service
We were pleased when the boarding process commence on schedule, shortly after our arrival at the lounge. When embarking on the flight, we were immediately greeted by our purser, who was warm, welcoming and friendly. Our carry-on luggage was taken by the crew and placed into our suites before the purser gave us a quick tour of the suite and showed us all the features.
Shortly after settling in our seat, the crew came around with pyjamas and the Bvlgari amenity kit. We also had some options of beverages before departure, however, on this flight Emirates did not serve Dom Perignon prior to departure; the champagne that was served was Moet Chandon. Just before pushback, we were offered the famous Bateel Arabic dates and Arabic coffee, which is a must-try Arabic tradition and a niche feature of personalised service.
Seat & Cabin
Despite the fact that the Boeing 777-300 we were flying on was one of the older model aircraft, the cabin was clean and well maintained, from the perspective of our private suite. Additionally, if travelling with a companion, the two middle seats are arguably the best options, as they afford travelers with privacy and it is easier to talk to one another. For those travelling solo, the window is the ideal option.
The standout feature of the seat itself was the luxury of space it provided. Not only does the seat fully recline if you are seeking to rest, but the crew can also cover the seat with a comfortable mattress for you, to facilitate sleep. The seat controls were easy to use and the seat is well designed for those needing to work, with enough room for your laptop and paperwork and a supply of notepads, pens and envelopes.
A suggestion for business travelers looking to catch up on some work would be to add your Emirates Skywards number to your flight reservation. This allows you to get free Internet during your flight.
Food & Beverage
Passengers travelling First Class with Emirates are able to engage in an à la carte dining experience, meaning the choice of mealtimes is at the discretion of the individual. Ordering of meals can be done prior to taking off and they are delivered at your specified time.
The menu also boasts an extensive drinks selection, inclusive of juices, mocktails, soft drinks, alcoholic cocktails, wines and spirits which can be ordered at any time during the flight.
Emirates First Class is renowned for its caviar dish, which I ordered. This was easily the standout of the meal service, as not only was it fresh and delicious, but beautifully presented.
Emirates does not disappoint with their award-winning variety of in-flight entertainment. There are 3,500 options, including Hollywood, Bollywood and Middle Eastern movies. For those who are seeking to stay in touch with what’s happening in the outside world, there are also channels live-streamed to the aircraft throughout the flight.
My flight experience was pleasant, with a few recommendations for improvement. Given the choice, I would prefer to be flying Emirates First Class on the A380, however at the time of our flight, the A380 was not in operation, although Emirates is now operating the A380 for Melbourne.
The Marhaba Lounge at Melbourne Airport could also do with an update, especially given the number of airlines using this lounge daily. I personally think that the experience of flying First Class or Business Class begins at the ground experience at the airport and it was disappointing to leave the lounge so quickly after we arrived because it was so crowded with no place to relax before the flight.
Overall, despite these minor issues, this was a great experience and an enjoyable flight. The seat was comfortable and private, the crew was welcoming and the food had improved significantly compared to my previous Emirates flights.