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Flight test: Emirates A380
Recline in a glossy walnut-panelled private suite in Emirates A380 business class.
Aircraft Emirates A380.
Route Sydney to Dubai (A380); Dubai to Munich (Boeing 777-300).
Class Business on the A380 (seat 14A) and on the 777-300 (seat 8F).
// Seat pitch and width Seat pitch of 48 inches on the A380, which extends to create a 79-inch flat bed, and seat cushions 18½ inches wide. Seat pitch of 46 inches on the 777-300, with a 20-inch seat cushion.
Seat configuration 1-2-1 on the A380. 2-3-2 on the 777-300. Thanks to the cocooning effect of the seating arrangement on the A380, my window seat makes me feel like the only passenger. Comparatively, the 777-300 feels like a step down.
Luggage allowance 40 kg in this class.
Scheduled flight time About 14 hours to Dubai, then an airport wait of three hours 40 minutes; about 6 hours to Munich.
On-time performance Spot on for the journey to Munich. My return flight from London to Sydney, however, involves a missed connection and much confusion.
Lounge access The Emirates lounge in Dubai is the largest I’ve seen, but crowded. Chefs prepare a wide selection of meals.
Comfort The complimentary chauffeur service to and from Sydney Airport is a nice touch and the creature comforts continue. I like the mood lighting. The multilingual cabin crew is attentive. The seat on the A380 is in a shell with built-in minibar, table, footrest extension, laptop and shoe stowage, literature pocket, adjustable headrests and noise-cancelling headsets. The lounge at the rear of the A380′s business-class cabin is packed throughout the flight.
Food and beverages A six-course dinner menu ranges from Arabic mezze to red-prawn curry. I enjoy the wines from top producers in Australia, France and the US.
Amenities Bulgari toiletries, eye mask, earplugs and socks.
Entertainment A touch-screen Wireless Integrated Passenger Seat Controller handles seat position and in-flight entertainment, viewed on a 17-inch screen. There are more than 1100 channels of entertainment, including 190 movies.
Flight frequency Emirates operates 70 flights a week from Australia to Dubai: a twice-daily service from Brisbane and Perth and a thrice-daily service from Melbourne and Sydney. Most are non-stop. Emirates flies between Dubai and Munich twice a day.
Tested by Gerard Ryle, who flew courtesy of Emirates.
Originally published in the Traveller section.