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Emirates New Livery outer wingtip 2023Emirates business class from Melbourne to Dubai. Rating: 4.5 stars, Emirates flight 409, Melbourne to Dubai, February 28.

Departure at 6.15 am – you have to be kidding; Emirates for Adelaide passengers like us meant an overnight in Melbourne and a very early start. We staggered into the airport at about 4.30 am to be greeted with the only advantage of such an early start – no crowds. Bag drop was quick and straightforward – and the business class lounge is big and comfortable in true Emirates style – with an excellent food selection.

My two favourite Emirates J class lounges are Paris and London, in that order – the food is vastly better there than you will ever get on an aircraft. Glass of champagne at 5 am in Melbourne? –  let me assure you there were plenty of takers. The flight departed right on time, and in striking contrast to the norm these days – the vast A380 was empty.

Ian McIntosh enjoying Champagne in Business Class.

Ian McIntosh was enjoying Champagne in Business Class.

There are around 60 business class seats on the upper deck – and I counted about 25 passengers – so it was a dream run for the crew. You must have been lavished with attention, you are thinking – but no – everyone vanished immediately after breakfast was served – and only showed up when they had to—no, checking if you would like a glass of water or how about ice cream?

This is a long flight – 14 hours and with the window blinds closed, the crew obviously bank on the fact that passengers will sleep most of the way. I suspect they even hand out pyjamas – an idea pinched from Qantas and Lufthansa. The seating is excellent, and you have a fully flat bed at the touch of a button. The luncheon menu included a delicious potato and leek soup, and I chose lamb biryani as a main course – the latter slightly overheated. Food in the lounge always includes sandwiches and beef rendang as a main course. I chose the excellent Two Hands Lily’s Garden Shiraz 2020 from McLaren Vale in SA to accompany my lunch.

The A380 is the finest aircraft, with window seats for single travellers. There is no need to clamber over the passenger next door when going to the loo. Another advantage of flying with Emirates is that its ICE entertainment system is the best in the air – no other airline gets close to matching the variety of entertainment. Earphones are a bit ordinary, though – I could not adjust mine.

To conclude: Lounge – excellent, On time departure and arrival – excellent, Aircraft – excellent, Seating, sleeping position – Excellent, Entertainment system, excellent, Crew effort – average, Food: average. Even though the cabin was almost empty, crew members were a shade too fast to remove meals and drinks for my liking – I had one mouthful of the delicious shiraz to go, only to have the glass snatched away.

I’m not happy, Jan. I should also mention another excellent reason to use Emirates – the complimentary limo service. We were picked up at Dubai Airport and taken to our hotel – and tomorrow, a car will take us back to the airport. When we get to London – a car will be waiting to take us to our property in Salisbury. It is a 10/10 deal.




Written by: Ian McIntosh