* Prices may differ from that shown
We have just returned from trip to Maldives with Emirates. It was a bad experience. We normally fly Qatar airlines, and enjoy that, but this was grim
We flew out to Dubai on a Sunday afternoon. Had checked in on line. Boarded the plane, which was a 3-4-3 configuration, except at the back 4 rows which dropped to 2-4-2.
The seats did not feel comfortable, and my 6 foot 2 husband struggled with legroom. Didn't find staff very helpful, and on outbound legs found food only average.
Disembarking took forever on each of the 4 legs of trip, and its hard to see why.
On changing planes at Dubai there is a huge amount of walking involved at this ridiculously big airport, so everything turned into a rush.
The return trip was grimmer, both legs were late leaving. Food was appalling, and because we sat at back, they had run out of meal choices. We had been on the plane for 1.5 hours before we got a drink.....
Staff seemed totally disinterested and would have missed me out completely unless husband stopped them.
The entertainment system is ok, but not as good as other airlines.
I heard people at Dubai saying the level of service had fallen dramatically . I had great expectations, but none met. The overwhelming impression is of people who can't be bothered, and are living on old reputations.
Last summer I flew to Uganda via Dubai and Ethiopia and had an Emirates plane both times. It was my first long haul flight so needles to say I wasn't looking forward to it. But the space and facilities on-board the plane mad me feel comfortable and at ease. We had the privilege of flying on the new Airbus 380 which is an incredible plane. We flew economy which was basic compared to the business and first class lounges, however with personal TVs on which you could watch an endless supply of good movies and programmes, as well as listen to recent CD's and even telephone people at other seats, we were far from bored or uncomfortable. If that wasn't enough, you could use your mobile phone due to the Emirates network which was also handy. Apart from the obvious drawbacks of long haul flights, I have very few complaints and would not hesitate to fly with Emirates again!
We flew to Dubai and back with Emirates and this is the first time in the last 8 years we have used this airline. The last time we flew we were going to Singapore in about 2003 I think. The airline has a very good service record and certainly when we flew to Singapore and back it was very pleasant.
This time we flew from Birmingham to Dubai, a really quite short flight of just over 6 hours leaving at 8.30pm and arriving in Dubai at about 7.00 am their time if I remember correctly. I checked in on line the night before and chose different seats to those we had been allocated. It was a 733 plane with a 3- 4 -3 configuration so I changed from the middle to the side seats and chose an aisle and middle seat so we could get out when we wanted. Check in was therefore very painless and we really just checked in our baggage. It was quick and very easy so far so good.
The plane boarded in seat rows from the back and they were good at stopping people trying to mess up the system. There was plenty of room in the overhead compartments so I didn't have to worry about someone's enormous heavy case going on top of my small bag with my laptop in it like I sometimes do. We got the seats we chose and I had a very quiet, slim young man who didn't move throughout the flight so once again I was lucky. I also lucked out in that the person in front of me didn't instantly push his seat right back as soon as we took off .in fact he didn't move it at all. Unfortunately mu husband was not so lucky and he had to ask the person in front to put his seat upright again so he could eat his meal but that was just unlucky.
The seats in Emirates are a decent distance from the seat in front and you do get your own personal seat back entertainment system. The number of films available was quite amazing. I managed to watch 'Social Network' and 'Avatar' plus half of 'Cairo Time' so that helped pass the time. There was a huge choice of Hindu films, Japanese films and Arab films as well as the English ones. The TV programs also offered a wide choice and there was an entire Disney film section too. I didn't investigate the games as I find the handset too annoying to play games on. There was also radio and music to listen to or you could watch our journey's progress through a map and updates or indeed watch the camera in the nose of the plane.
The hostesses and stewards were not the friendliest bunch and service was very odd. We had to wait some time for the standard meals as the choice of specialty meals on Emirates is huge from fruit platter through halal to vegan, Asian vegetarian etc etc. When the meal did finally come it was actually very tasty, a fresh prawn salad followed by chicken with a salsa sauce and mash potato , followed by a chocolate dessert, cheese and crackers, and then a small piece of chocolate. A very small tub of water came with the meal and it wasn't until about half an hour after the meal that we were offered a drink of any sort other than the tiny water. I asked for water with my gin and tonic then water again when they offered coffee but apart from that no water was brought around at all until 'breakfast which was a cup of tea or coffee and a cake. As I said no to coffee and asked for water I wasn't offered the cake!
Prior to take off there was a safety video but no human demonstration at all which I found quite unusual. The safety video was only in English and Arabic too. The toilets however were clean throughout the journey and I didn't have to queue at any time which was unusual.
The seats were not the most comfortable but then no airline has really comfortable seats after the first half hour. When I did attempt to recline my seat the bottom part came forward and it was not really any better than being upright so I didn't bother even trying to sleep. You were given the usual small pillow and blanket wrapped in plastic which I always use as an extra back support after taking the plastic bag off.
The seats in first or Business class looked very pleasant but as I was not fortunate enough to be upgraded I can't give you my opinion on the service and comfort anywhere other than in economy class.
Although the flight was on time, the food was good and the entertainment system great I felt that the service was not up to previous Emirates standard and I did think to have people on the plane for nearly two hours before giving them just a drink of water was very poor. We have flown with Qantas, BA, KLM, Air France and Air New Zealand recently and all of them offered water almost continuously throughout the flight as it is well documented that flying dehydrates you and this can also trigger deep vein thrombosis and cause headaches too. I left this flight with a stinking headache and we were not able to buy a bottle of water until we had gone through passport control etc and collected our luggage almost two hours after we left the plane.
The return journey from Dubai back to Birmingham we left Dubai at 8.05 am and were offered a warm towel then drinks of juice or water. Our meal was a choice of omelettes or scrambled eggs which wasn't great as I am not keen on eggs. There was fruit and cereal, croissant and bread as well though so I ate that while my husband enjoyed my omlette as well as all his food. We were offered drinks of juice, water and coffee and tea.
During the flight the stewardesses and stewards did come round with more water and juice about three times and of course there is always water near the kitchen and toilets that you can help yourself too if you can get out of your seat without disturbing people.
The final meal was bread roll with chicken and egg again so once again my husband enjoyed two meals and I had fruit and the drink only. No alcohol was served during this flight at all which didn't bother me as I don't drink at that time of day but passengers that had flown from Australia might have thought it was evening!
So the return flight was a lot better than the one going but I would still say the service was no better than average and the lack of water being offered on the flight to Dubai left me with a splitting headache from dehydration which is really poor service.
So in short I will not be rushing to fly with Emirates again. I used to think this airline was one of the best but after this flight I am not so sure. I think they need to sharpen up their service and keep passengers supplied with water. Why don't they give everyone a bottle as they get on as this would save them pouring it into the plastic glasses and people could have it when they wanted?
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
I would like to express my greatest dissapointment in the poor service received on my first flight with Emirates.
I had such great expectations after so many people had told me how great flying with Emirates was and how good the service is.
We were on flight 010 travelling from London Gatwick to Dubai, connecting in Dubai on Flight 770 to Cape Town on the 24/12/10.
My husband and I reside in the UK but are from South Africa and Kosovo respectively. My husband has a valid passport and a valid SA vistors visa.
We arrived at Gatwick just after 5.00pm and proceeded to the check-in. The check-in lady was unable to key in the short country code for Kosovo even though you had the country listed in your drop down box when I checked in on-line. The passport was passed over to your flight section and for the next hour the check-in staff and supervisors tried numerous ways of getting the code into the system in order to print out my husband boarding pass. After a hour of trying to do this, they printed out his boarding pass from London to Dubai and took a copy of his passport and visa for South Africa and said to us that the boarding pass for Dubai to Capetown would be waiting at the departure gate. They said the problem was not ours but that your systems could not accommadate the country code for Kosovo.
When we got to the departure gate, there was no onward boarding pass waiting. They then stated that they had faxed a copy of the passport and visa to Dubai and since Dubai had seven hours, it would be no problem and we could collect it from the ticket office in Dubai. I then asked if it would definitely be there as we had a short transfer time of 1hr and 50 minutes. They stated it would be there and that the office in Dubai were aware of the situation.
We touched down in Dubai and cleared security, which left about 50 minutes to catch our connecting flight. We proceeded to the ticket section , had to clear security for a second time and explained the situation.They of course knew nothing about the boarding pass or the situation and said no fax had been received. The ticket office then spent another 30 minutes trying to print off the boarding pass with no sense of urgency that we needed to get this connecting flight. I explained that I had family from all over the world waiting for us in Cape Town.We were asked to wait, I then approached the counter for a second time and queued, at this point we had about ten minutes to get the boarding pass and get across Dubai Airport. Finally after another five minutes they printed the pass and my husband and I proceeded to run across Dubai Airport- clearing security for the third time and arrived at the departure gate. They then took my husband passport and told us we could not yet board the flight yet and that the plane would not leave without us. I was furious at this point, never in all my years of flying had I ever see such a lack of communication between departments of the same company- You would have thought that after all we had been through that the ticket office could have called the departing gate to let them know the situation, so for the third time I had to explain the whole thing again. I also asked them for a complaints form and was passed a customer service form, which I will complete with the same email.
The plane departure time passed and at this point they gentleman at the departure explained that they were now contacting South Africa to verify that my husband could travel to South Africa (even though he had a previous stamped South Africa Vistors Visa in the same passport from 2007).
He also explained that the reason was that Emirates would be fined if he could not get into the country. I explained he had travelled to South Africa twice before this with British Airways and we had none of these problems.
We finally made the flight, which was now delayed for a further 50 minutes due to this matter. I have travelled all over the world and have never felt the descrimation we endured, dealing with your departments both in the UK and Dubai.
I would like to receive a response to this complaint and I will be posting this on every travel advisory site , to see if anyone else has had a similar experience.
We are due to fly back with Emirates on the 12/01/10 and I certainly hope that we do not encounter a similar experience
I've been flying with Emirates for close to seven years now. I first flew with them back in 2002 when I was going to South Korea for the World cup. I was an economy passenger but I was impressed with their customer service. They're check in process was very simplified and each member of staff was very polite and treated me like a princess. The seats in the plane are very comfortable, the food is absolutely amazing (they're over 20 different choices!) the in flight entertainment was also up to date. They also provide comfortable pillows, lovely blankets that don't itch (not Ryanair!!) and the flight crew are so efficient. I was so impressed that I upgraded my membership to Platinum member.
As a platinum member I get more benefits than economy fliers! When I recently travelled to Tokyo, they actually called me two days before my departure to ask if I needed to be picked from my house to the airport, which I said hell yeah!
They picked me up promptly, check in was a breeze as they did everything so quckly and I was assigned my own chauffeur. Their waiting room at Heathrow is absolute heaven. Not only were drinks free, but you get watch TV while waiting for your flight, free internet access, and there's a whole buffet of different kinds of food!!
When you enter the plane, a stewardess takes you to your seat and the seats there are just so comfortable. It's like your own jacuzzi lounge! You can transform the seat into a bed, you get fresh towels, pillows, blankets (which you can order as many as you like) and there's like a mini bar where you can chill and relax. The toilets in platinum (or business class) is much bigger and they also have stacks of skin care products which you can take as much as you like. The in flight entertainment is a whole lot better than economy class, there's a massage therapist too who gives you the best massage ever!
All in all Emirates is the best airline I've ever flown with. Their frequent flier program is a whole lot better than BA in which you only need to accumulate 1750 air miles to qualify for a free flight while BA is 3000 air miles. I've already qualified for my third free flight so its all awesome. If you're flying to especially Asia, I highly recommend Emirates. Perfect customer service and you get a whole lot more than you paid for.
I have flown both long and short haul distances with various companies and never had anything to shout home about, in fact probably some of the worst experiences, especially flying with Thomas Cook on a 13 hour flight to Cuba, not a good experience!
Myself and boyfriend recently had a 2 week holiday in Vietnam. We decided to add a stay in Kuala Lumpur on the way there and Singapore on the way back. We booked our flights and tour via The Flight Centre would suggested flying Newcastle - Dubai then Dubai - KL with Emirates and on the way home Singapore - Dubai, Dubai - Newcastle. It was my first time flying with Emirates but I had been told good things so looked forward to it.
At Newcastle airport it was usual goings on at check in. I was suprised when the check in assitant said Emirates would collect and forward our luggage at Dubai so we wouldn't need to collect it until we reached KL. I was really shocked at this little extra and when we reached Dubai everything went smoothly. I got off one plane and was free to wander around the airport which seems to be open 24/7. I boarded with my hand luggage and then my luggage was waiting for me at KL airport. This was a really nice touch.
The flights were all similar and all a pleasant surprise. i loved when I got on the plane there was a bag of earphones, blanket and pillow waiting on everyones seat. This really helped settle me in as usually I can't get comfortable and sleep on planes, not even 13 hour flights! However i slept for over half of the flight, It would of been longer but I love food too much to sleep through it!
There was a lot more space on the plane than other flights but having a 6"2 boyfriend, we would of liked more! It really was nice having a tv each with so many channels and music stations as well as games etc. I ended up watching just released movies before drifting off asleep.
Being vegetarian I always worry about what food I'm going to be served. I pre-ordered lacto-ovo vegetarian meals which basically means vegetarian that eats dairy. I was soooo pleasantly surprised when on each of my 4 flights I was brought out my food first! I usually get served last if not forgotten about altogether! Such a great touch made me feel quite special rather than the freak or minority! The food was tasty, you got a really big selection of foods and a nice range too. For example for Breakfast I was given a hot croissant with jam/butter, tea/coffee and fresh orange juice, hot breakfast for eg spinach omlette with mushrooms and side dish, fresh fruit salad, bun with cheese and yoghurt! All the meals had a great selection and I always looked forward to my meals.
Most people enjoy the free bar, so you can order whatever you want whenever you want for free. A lot of people go overboard (what I call all inclusive 'Benidorm' mentality) ordering wine at 8am and then 830am then again at 9am! I did have a glass or two of wine on the evening which wasn't the nicest but drinkable. There was spirits, soft drinks the only think I wanted that wasn't available was cider! So classy I know! Bur Vietnam is full of beer which I hate!
Overall the staff are pleasant, well dressed and go out of their way to help. It is nice that you don't have to worry about affording ridiculously expensive drinks on board and the food is great. It is more spacious than some flights and the extra blanket and pillow go down great!
I can't wait to fly Emirates again!
Emirates is a Dubai-based airline which is a major player in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceania while connecting Europe and the Americas to Asia and environs via their massive hub in Dubai.
We used Emirates as our long-haul carrier during our six-month family trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2010. The traveling party included two adults and two children aged four and nine, all with quite a lot of previous experience of flying, but with relatively little long-haul experience apart from a ThomasCook flight to Canada from the UK. This meant our comparison was mostly with European short-haul scheduled and budget airlines.
We flew from Glasgow to Brisbane via Dubai (with a refueling stop in Singapore), then from Sydney to Christchurch and then from Christchurch to Glasgow (with refuelling stops in Sydney and Bangkok and a change of planes in Dubai). Our longest individual flight was nine hours (Sydney to Bangkok), the longest journey took circa 30 hours (of which 27 were in the air).
We chose Emirates purely and simply on price: we were going for a long enough period to not too worry to much about other aspects: whatever horrors we undertook while getting there, they would have been long forgotten by the time we were due to come back.
The price was good, and possibly the best we could find. We flew out in June (which is, obviously, the low season in Australia) and we came back in September. The total cost of the initial flights, with all the stopovers, taxes and charges, for the family of four, was around 3,200 GBP. We rebooked our return flights and this cost us (using the terms of our cheapest fare class) 75 GBP per person, so the total cost was 3,500 GBP which is pretty good for a what was initially to be an six-leg journey. One of the advantages of buying with Emirates for families is that they don't technically have fuel surcharges, this is added to the ticket prices and thus any child discounts apply to that as much as to the main portion of the fare.
We booked our flights on-line as to do it over the phone would have been 200 GBP more expensive. The Emirates website is reasonably (though by no means fantastically) usable and the process was doable while you got the hang of it. You cannot, however, change your reservation online - you have to phone the Emirates call centre. I did it several times while we were researching the trip and prior to final rebooking of the return tickets and the staff members I spoke to every time were unfailingly polite, but they varied extremely as to their competence. Some didn't know what they were doing, literally, and gave me wrong price information; some knew the system and understood my needs better than I did. The call centre numbers I phoned every time were in English-speaking countries, but the people on the phone were not always native speakers - and occasionally it showed - though the most competent person I spoke to was a non-native speaker, so it's a question of training and experience rather than nationality.
All flights we took were on time, and there was no problems with check-in, seats or lost luggage. Emirates allow 30kg luggage in economy class, but as we didn't need anywhere near that much, it wasn't an issue for us. The cabin luggage (as to size and weight) restrictions didn't seem to be enforced very strictly and for somebody used to being told that you are allowed only one bag (and it has to fit in the basket) by Ryanair and the like, the amount of stuff people take on board Emirates seemed mind-boggling.
It's the on-board experience that matters most when flying long-haul, and assuming most reputable airlines are much of a muchness as far as safety and the like goes, the choice (if you are not going simply on price) should be made based on that.
And the Emirates experience is, to say fairly, mixed.
The planes were all large B 777-300s, with the 3+4+3 set-up in the economy class. The seats were cloth covered, recliner, with an adjustable head rest. It was possible to raise the arm rest between the seats, and it didn't extend all the way to the seat surface (in some seats the arm rest is fixed, though). This feature is a good thing for people travelling together, but obviously a very bad thing if you end up seating next to an extremely fat person who "spills" into your seat. While on the subject, the width of the Emirates' seat in the B 777-300s, in the economy class is pretty appalling 17 inches - the lowest it goes among the airlines. By comparison, Singapore Airlines offer a 3+3+3 configuration in the same type of plane and the result is seats with as much as 19 inches of width. Bear in mind that 17 inches is not just uncomfortable for a big-bottomed travellers like yours truly. My husband who is pretty normal in bum-width department also found the seats cramped. The only saving grace is the arm-rest you can raise, but if you are a fat (or even normal sized) person travelling on your own, it's worth thinking about it. The seats in the side rows (by the wall) seemed a bit better.
The legroom was better, but not outstanding. Most women will find the legroom in the Emirates B 777-300s just about sufficient, and most men would probably feel seriously cramped (unless you are short, obviously).
The recline of the seats is 105 degrees, which is also on a mean side (Qantas have even less, but their seats are bigger) and not enough to feel that you are actually lying down in any meaningful sense.
All in all, on the space available for an economy class traveler, Emirates are not great. It's sufficient - just about - for a flight of up to about 10 hours, but for the true long-haul you would want, if possible, more (unless you are short and thin).
In addition to all the above woes, the seats in Emirates 777-300s have no footrests, which is not a huge deal as you can make one of a bag or a pair of boots, but it's worth mentioning, especially for shorter people.
What was very good on our Emirates flights was the state-of-the-art entertainment system. Called ICE for information, communication, entertainment, it is totally user-controlled and offers touch-of-the button and individually customisable access to hundreds if not thousands of films,including hundred or so recent releases including some that were still in cinemas when we arrived, what seems like a whole back catalogue of Disney and a selection of Arabic, Chinese, Philippine and other Asian films too. European offerings were limited to two (!) French productions, but otherwise the choice was staggering. The music range was excellent to, from opera and jazz to play lists of iconic artists, UK number 1s for the last 50 years and much more.
I believe there was also a massive selection of TV programmes and quite a few video games available. Nose and belly mounted cameras provided live view of the outside and the flight info was accurate and up to date too. All in all, excellent entertainment system and if you have teenagers or children to travel with for a very long time, a huge advantage. Incidentally, the printed entertainment was surprisingly bad, the in-flight mag way below standards of European airlines be it Ryanair or BA.
The food was good (as far as airline food goes), especially the adult dishes and especially the rice & pasta ones, but obviously it was still the air-plane food.
The cabin staff were polite and willing to help, although neither particularly friendly nor going out of their way to help. The ground staff we met were much better on this score, especially in Dubai itself.
Each child got a special pack (and on each leg of the flight, so we came back with a collection of cuddly-toy glove puppets from five continents and a selection of little backpacks and toiletries cases, Dr Seuss books and similar stuff). This, particularly the puppets, were actually rather good quality and made great gifts for lesser friends & relatives on return.
Would I fly with Emirates again? I would if the price was right, and especially if flying medium-haul (up to 10 hours' journey), especially if going away for longer and travelling with children. For the very long haul flights (i.e. going UK-Australia or UK-New Zealand) I would seriously contemplate other options though, as the amount of space and recline of the seats (and the way passengers are packed ten in a row) makes for a bit claustrophobic journey.
Emirates amazing airline!
In 2006 I had the pleasure of expericiencing a flight with Emirates. I had heard good reports from my brother who had used them several times. The bonus for us was that it was a local airport London Gatwick which we are on a short drive away so even better.
When I was arranging the flight on the internet I was pleasantly surprised that there was so much choice in flight times.
We were going to Australia.
In the mid 1980s Gulf Air began to lessen there flights from Dubai so that is how Emirates began. With the go ahead from their Royal Family so that was the start of the airline and it has gone from strength to strength... The Royal Family did purchase the airline's the first couple of aircraft.
Emirates started in 1985 in the month of October. This is the National Airline for Dubai and is very busy with having over 2000 people each week travelling with the airline. Which flies to more than 108 different destinations .In 2008 Emirates moved all operations and services at Dubai Airport to its own Terminal which is Terminal 3 and I understand it is amazing to see. I will be flying with the airline again in August of this year so I will be able to see this for myself.
Emirate flies to different aircraft from an Airbus and a Boeing which has a wide body and there are only eight other Airlines which use the Boeing wide body aircraft. There main pride and joy is the Boeing 777.
Their ranking in world wide airlines is eighth and in the Middle East it is the largest.
The Staff are so polite and cannot do enough for you and makes your journey a very pleasant one.
The cost seems to be very reasonable and for my trip to Australia this year I have found that Emirates is even cheaper than a lot of the other airlines.
When you are flying the refreshments are at a very high standard. They produce fresh and appertising meals. In Economy Class they have beverages which can be alcoholic and no extra charge which is nice.
This will be the airline that I will use more as I enjoy the expericience when I travel with them.
I have travelled with a variety of airlines over the past few years, but Emirates is the only one I WANT to keep coming back to. If I had to sum up the airline in one word, I would say: consistent.
I occasionally have to fly from Shanghai, China to Manchester, UK, and Emirates often has the greatest deals for this route. On the other hand it is also one of the longer travel times compared to other airlines because of the connection in Dubai. This comes as a positive and a negative as Dubai's airport is one of the best I've had the pleasure of spending time in. Now that Emirates has its own dedicated terminal it makes connecting flights very simple indeed, I haven't experienced such easy and enjoyable connections before. The design of the terminal is also quite stylish, with floor to ceiling glass windows that allows natural sun-light to flood into the building. Compared to the usual sterile, almost prison-like feeling of most airports, these basic designs come as quite a refreshing change. Just to feel and see the sunlight makes me instantly feel much calmer and relaxed. Finally, if you like shopping you will probably want to miss your connection altogether -- I literally had to tear my girlfriend away from the cosmetics shop to catch our flight!
Enough with the airport, what about the flights? As I said before, consistency is the key here. I've not experienced anything other than a punctual, helpful, and reliable service. In fact the only time I was delayed was a few years ago as George Bush was waiting to take off in Air Force One and the runway was temporarily shut down because of it.
Emirates uses standard planes for the long haul flights, usually a Boeing 777 or an Airbus A340. Although they have more recently purchased a number of the new Airbus A380's which I read will be added to the Dubai - Manchester route at some point in the future. As somebody who travels in economy class, I can tell you that Emirates has by far one of the best entertainment systems on offer. It is called ICE (which stands for Information, Communication, Entertainment), and if you're unlucky to be flying on a plane with an older entertainment system then you have every right to be disappointed (I have found some of the Airbus' don't have ICE). There are so many films, TV shows and games to occupy your time that boredom shouldn't even cross your mind. Everything on the system is also on demand, so if you want to watch a film then you can watch it from the beginning and pause/stop/rewind/fastforward whenever you want.
The food is also very good, especially the desserts which are sublime. As for the main meals and side dishes, they are not the best out there, but certainly good enough for 'plane food'. There is a list of dietary requirements that you should specify after you buy your tickets. Everything from kosher, to lacto-ovo vegetarian, to low fat options are all available. Choosing a special meal also is quite a perk as you receive your food before everybody else. As a vegetarian I enjoy being handed my meals only to hear whispers of jealousy in the background!!
The air stewards are very efficient, precise and professional. They have done a fantastic job on every flight I have taken and I can't criticise them at all. It's not an easy job they do, but they do it very well.
Overall, a great airline that has consistently delivered. Of course there are going to be horror stories with every company, but you can fly with piece of mind knowing you're not taking much of a gamble with Emirates.
This is one of the most consistent airlines that I have flown with.
1) On seating, you can immediately start using the inflight entertainment. There are a plenty to do on the inflight for a 15 hours flight. There is also usually a laptop plug or a usb so that you can get work done too.
2) Food. Not one of my favourite but then airplane food generally taste quite bad. I would say that since they are still serving food, it is not a bad deal and although the food usually have too much gravy for me, they do serve the food with good service.
3) Seats. Very comfortable, but then I am about 156cm tall so except for budget airlines, the seats do fit me.
4) Service. Excellent. I had cold food with me once and the air stewardess was willing to keep them cold for me in the fridge until I reach London. They also do go around enough times in the night with water (would recommend siting near the galley though)
5) Price. Book the flights early to secure a good price that is equivalent to the european airlines. The website usually provide the cheapest price.
6) Website. One thing that irks me is that it is kinda hard to select flights based on schedule. On the price/date combination, they do show a lot of flights. On the schedule, there will be only 4 flights (but on the price date schedule, there is definitely more than 4 flights out!) and they offer the option of using paypal or cards to pay. Using Paypal almost always leads to an error message so just use your card directly. (I think some technical issues due to new change in site since they ued to allow bank transfer)
7) Places that they fly to are plenty. One thing to note is that dubai and london are the hubs so you do get long stopover benefits (hotels etc) if you come from certain places.
I have flown Emirates several times over the past ten years or so, having also flown most of the other major long haul airlines.
Emirates would always be my number one choice if possible. The flight schedules are fantastic, as are their flight times, especially to and from Europe to Australia.
If you can get a fare when they have their sales out, you will almost always pay the same cost as (in my opionion) a below par airline such as Air France or KLM.
I am of average height (5" 7) and have always found the seats to be spacious and comfortable. I have never had a problem with their on board entertainment systems. And most importantly I have always found that the staff have great customer care and will look after your needs.
Should the flights you want not meet within 6 hours, depending on the rules, you will be put up at the Airport hotel in Dubai at no extra charge. If you choose to fly with Emirates and have never been to Dubai (which can be expensive) definitly consider taking a 2 night stopover and go see Dubai.
Can't beat value for money when the early birds/sale fares are out. Best connections to and from Europe. You can also mix business and economy class, ie London to Dubai in economy (7hrs), then Dubai to Perth in Business (11hrs)
Having had the luxury of travelling from a young age I have flown with various different airlines and now having reached an age of being able to book flights for myself I would chose to fly with emirate before any other airline. In all honesty I actually don't bother to even look at other airlines for the most part anymore. Having moved to Scotland from Melbourne 7 years ago and spent the first couple of journeys home having to fly Glasgow -London - Hong Kong - Sydney (so close but so far) and then finally onto Melbourne when I found Emirates flights(Glasgow - Dubai -Melbourne) I thought I had struck gold! I do tend to pay a bit more to ensure the stop over time is diminished but I have to say even when didn't do this the maximum wait was 8 hours although I'm not sure if this is still the case.
They have started stopping in Singapore but this is only for an hour or so and after getting off the plane to "stretch my legs" the first time I have decided its not worth the hassle, by the time you manage to get off the plane you practically have to start lining up to board the plane again. Although this time with all the previous passengers and the ones coming back from their holidays all fresh faced and smiling (they of course have not already been on a flight for 13 hours!) It's a matter of opinion but I don't think it's worth the hassle.
The economy seating does not give you a lot of room for movement and having not had the luxury of flying business or first class I cannot comment but having been marched through business class towards the back of the plane I can see that the seats are spacious and it seems you would have plenty of privacy and probably be able to sleep through the whole flight!
There is always a huge selection of recent movies and Tv shows to watch along with games to keep the children occupied. I have noticed that the staff are great with the children and they are treated to colouring packs etc in the attempt to keep them occupied for at least 10 minutes of the flight.
The food is good and they cater to various requirements. Trays or water and orange juice are regularly brought through the cabin however alcoholic drinks are also offered at no charge.
My one guilty pleasure is the flight from Dubai to Glasgow, this tends to be quiet enough for you to be able to spread out across the seats. This allows you to catch up on the sleep you have been unable to get in the confinement of the small seats and the upright position! The pillows and blankets that have spent the majority of the time on the floor or shoved in your overhead locker can now be put to good use!
One stop flights/short stopovers
Friendly & helpful staff
Excellent in flight entertainment (Movies etc)
Online check -in and seating plan
The seats in economy are small and there is not much elbow room but this is really to be expected and standard throughout most airlines.
So I wish to write my experiences of flying with one of the airlines that everyone raves about. I have managed to fly with this company now on three occassions, New Zealand and Australia to the UK and my only other airline of comparison is Singapore Airlines.
Like you I have heard numerous fantastic tales of Emirates and the sheer quality of their service, however I will have to say I have mixed feelings about this airline and it seems to be the mid point of my journey in Dubai that cleaves my experiences.
Emirates is the state airline of the United Arab Emirates and uses Dubai as it's main hub (as far as I'm aware all your flights will connect through here) and runs services from numerous airports in the UK including Heathrow and Manchester. They are a long haul service and fly to so many destinations throughout the world, including the Middle East, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand. They are by no means a budget airline and you will definitely notice this in the price of your ticket. Services onboard include First Class, Business and Cattle (alas I wish I could comment upon First and Business Class, however luck is yet to gift me a free upgrade). One thing that Emirates is exceptional at are very fast connections, on all my trips the longest transiting time has been two hours. Good to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, a little duty free and reboard. Far better than any other airline I have ever flown with.
Services offered onboard are a selection of tasty meals, if I recall 2 meals for a seven hour stint on the plane. In flight entertainment is offered via multimedia system in the backs of all chairs, offering a vast selection of films, television, basic games and a vast collection of recent chart and classic music (the Inspiral Carpets were included in the latter list, not quite sure about that) played through personal headphones that are free but must be returned. Newspapers are offered to all boarding passengers, although you may not recognise the titles. Facilities for children are available (the standard cot at the front) with plenty of toilets etc. Emirates have numerous planes in their fleet however my experiences are from a Boeing 777.
Seats are of reasonable comfort and offer you an acceptable volume of leg room (so that your are not sandwiched into your seat prior to take off and then removed at the end with the aide of a crowbar. Blankets and tiny pillow are supplied but no comfort bag (toothpaste, brush, eye patch thingy).
Booking can be completed via travel agents however I used the online option. I don't think Emirates are known as being one of the cheaper carriers but on all the occassions I have flown with them they have offered the best deal at the time. Flights are very regular between destinations (more than twice daily) and it is possible to amend your bookings prior to your flight, although a cost may be incurred if the desired flight is more expensive. Alterations can be handled via email.
An airmiles scheme is offered and regular miles updates are sent to you with an online catalogue of what it is possible to buy with your accumulated miles (my newest purchase an IPOD).
So, for my experience. Initially with Emirates I flew from New Zealand to Manchester (via Dubai). The first leg of the jouney was Auckland to Dubai (with a couple of touch downs in Brisbane and Singapore). Well all I can say is that this has to be my worst experience of long haul flyng. The plane was crowded (which being cattle isn't a problem and to be expected) but the service was abominable. The staff were blatantly busy but they were rarly seen. Typically on a long haul flight you expect regular refreshments of at least water to maintain your hydration for the 14 hours of your flight, however the stewards seemed to only manage to deliver fluids when food was served, so probably every 4-6 hours. I had a gentlemen sat next to me ask on three occassions for some water to be repeatedly told yes in a minute. Until the third time the stewardess snapped at him (a little unreasonable, three requests over two hours isn't exactly nagging). The staff were blatantly busy but I'm gessing Emirates employ enough crew to staff a full plane and provide suffieicent service.
However the second leg, Dubai to Manchester was fantastic. Again the plane was stuffed full of passengers but on this occassion the staff were better mannered and seemed to offer a higher level of service with good grace and better timing. Although again Emirates could do with offering more refreshments to make the journey more comforatble. I completed te return journey and found the division in the quality of service to be the same. UK to Dubai was fantastic, whereas Dubai to the Antipodes was truely uncomforatble.
My third occassion to travel was by far the best but this was probably due to the 90 passengers on board. However the check in staff ensured I had as much space to myself. There was also mild confusion regarding my booking which was very efficiently resolved. This occassion was a flight from Singapore to the UK (via Dubai) so I am unable to really pass comment on the Australasian leg on this occassion.
All in all Emirates seem good at what they do and are effective at getting you on time from a to b however to my disappointment the high service I have heard of was lacking for parts of my journeys which when stuck for periods of 7-10 hours is pretty awful to deal with (tiredness from travel did not likely aide my mood).
My point of reference is having flown with Singapore airlines. I have heard that they use more cabin crew on board which in my opinion if they do or don't they offer a much more attentive service. They will run the length of the plane with a refreshment service and then seemingly head back to the nose and start again, offering snacks also (the gentlemen next to m managed to consume an entire bottle of wine prior to passing out which gives you an idea of the frequency of refrehments). It seemed that the staff just offered better service and this was on two very full flights from London to New Zealand (via Singapore).
When consideing further flights in the future I would use Emirates again as I'm sure there are far worse experiences to be had and all in all, I just had to sit on my bum and get to my destination, no hard task. However as Emirates typically charge a premium for their enhanced service I would not pay extra to fly with them over another airline, however if you offered me flights with Singapore Airlines for £50 more I would be chomping at the bit!
As the official airline of the United Arab Emirates, this airline is a great choice for flying to and from the middle east. I got a flight to South Africa with them and it was probably the nicest flying experience I have had. There were many small things that built up to leave me with a good impression of this airline.
I first noticed a difference between this and other airlines when I saw the magazine rack full of various newspapers and magazines from various places that were available to passengers for free. Although I didn't find much there to interest me I thought that it showed a real interest in making the customer happy.
On the plane there was plenty of leg room and an amazing in-flight entertainment system that kept me entertained for the entire duration of my flight. I was in economy class and each seat had it's own screen that the passenger controlled. It had films (many newly released), TV, Music and Games. The games were great as they allowed you to play against your friends on the plane.
As well as this the staff were very friendly and ready to help you with any problems.
I first flew Emirates through chance rather than out and out through design. Of course I knew about them, had heard all the rave reviews etc. but as they only are an option for long haul through Dubai from Vienna, I'd not had much opportunity to try them out. That changed when I wanted to have a week in Hong Kong - and Emirates were doing a EUR 520 return ticket from Vienna - which was considerably cheaper than the competition.
For my second longhaul trip of the year, to South Africa, I spurned the EUR 600 tickets with Lufthansa via Frankfurt for the EUR 820 ticket with Emirates - because of the better longhaul comfort, and also because of the fact that the flight timings were more convenient - especially for the return leg - where I was able to get a flight at 22:20 from JNB - more than four hours later than the flights I could take with Lufthansa, and I was still able to get an earlier connecting flight from Dubai (I was only there for just over an hour) onto Vienna.
Bearing in mind that I had just spent EUR 900 getting to London and back in under a day to get a new biometric passport after mine was stolen and you'll understand why I don't think the extra outlay to be excessive. Similarly after experiencing air rage on a flight from JNB to Madrid two years ago, and finding Iberia economy class to only be acceptable if you were under about 5' 6" (I am a healthy 7" taller than that!) you can understand why I enjoy not wanting to spend the entire flight in immediate proximity with my knees.
There was also the added advantage that I didn't have to do the whole trip in one go and as I was undergoing light therapy, being in Dubai for sunrise was also a very good thing to ensure I got my light therapy. Another very positive reason was I wanted to limit the impact of jetlag - by using the stopovers in Dubai to get my body clock back in sync at least to Dubai time (GMT +4) from Hong Kong time (GMT +8) I was at least going to have less of a problem when I got back from my whistlestop trip to the Far East. I pamper myself on the the longhaul trips - when I am in the airport for 6-8 hours for the connecting flight I take advantage of the airport hotel in the terminal - admittedly a luxury at approx EUR 130 or 160 for a standard or deluxe room - but again worth it for my own personal comfort.
Booking the trip online, and then signing up to Skywards - their frequent flyer programme immediately - was definitely the thing to do. I was able to check in early - so all that I had to do was the baggage drops at Vienna and then get my baggage in Hong Kong. It also meant that I was able to select my seat - and on a couple of legs I got that done early enough ahead that I was able to get an emergency exit row seat - worth it for the leg room alone.
Additionally there was such a wide range of special dietary options, and although I have no special dietary requirements, going for the "fruit platter" option has become my established choice (I did this to Hong Kong and back and also to Johannesburg and back). One extra perk of Skywards through Emirates is that I can have fast-track immigration set up for me - so I am through passport control when transferring in seconds.
The in-cabin baggage allowance is a lot more generous - no remarks were made about me travelling with a rucksack and a camera bag - and the overhead locker space is very generous. Similarly, boarding by sectors (so not everyone scrambled into the plane at the same time, and separate boarding for first and business class) means that the boarding experience is a lot more pleasant than the usual scrum with everyone charging to the gate desk the second the mention of boarding is made.
The in-flight entertainment (ICE) is exception - with screens in the back of every seat on the routes I have taken (usually in a 777). For a cricket and comedy fan, the flights fly by, although I did spend one flight playing the incredibly addictive "Bejeweled Blitz" game - as the console is also a games system. The choice of programmes is excellent - I watched several episodes of Flight of the Conchords, The US Office and Fawlty Towers and from the second series of Benidorm on the way back from Johannesburg when I wasn't sleeping. If you don't own an mp3 player, there is also a very adequate selection of music to enjoy.
There is also another reason for why I am intending to fly with Emirates more frequently. Currently a trip to Japan in the spring is planned - hopefully in April for the cherry blossom and by then flying to Tokyo through Dubai, although again not quite the cheapest flights, I will have collected enough miles on the trips from Vienna (Hong Kong return, Johannesburg return and Tokyo return) to then fly business class with upgrades for a planned trip to Australia for the Ashes.
Additionally my five internal flights in South Africa on South African Airways also netted me miles - and because I had already reached silver status (25,000 miles) I get increased miles for those flights. Indeed, within ten days of getting back from South Africa, my cards and baggage tags for silver Skywards membership and a leather travel picture frame had already arrived.
Additionally one very nice touch at Dubai airport (DXB) is that they provide free baby buggies for those travelling with babies - so it means that your buggy can go in the hold and you can use theirs through the airport. This is however, typical of the exemplary level of customer service that Emirates has.
All in all, Emirates is an airline that I will be flying with again - hopefully very frequently. While friends have chosen Qatar Airways for similar routes to the above mentioned due to the cheaper price, I'd rather pay a bit more and enjoy the extra level of comfort that a trip on Emirates offers over its competitors. Granted it might not be a viable choice for a family travelling together, but for a solo traveller or a couple - I'd advocate the splurge.