Nicholas Jones flies aboard Auckland to Dubai, aboard Emirates flight EK449.
Price: Return Business Class fares are from $6999.
My seat: 21G, one of two in the middle of the Business section, with one seat by either window. Even though I technically have an immediate neighbour it doesn’t feel like it — there’s heaps of space between our seats, partly used for a sort of mini-bar with Evian water.
It takes a second to register that there will be no people trudging by to Economy — we are upstairs.
The seat reclines to flat. There’s a very big screen, and flash headphones. A tablet is available to control everything but I stick with touching as am slightly overwhelmed.
There’s a stuffed care bag, complete with Rexona roll-on, a razor and aftershave.
On time: Yes.
Fellow passengers: Not nearly so noticeable given the space in Business. Australian and posh British accents waft down from a few seats up.
How full: Apparently the entire flight is chocka. There are an incredible 76 Business Class seats in our section, each with a customer.
Entertainment: A huge variety. I settle on Murder on the Orient Express. Swaying down to the toilets later I wonder if the motionless bodies are all still in the land of the living.
Business Class has its own in-flight magazine, with a for-sale section in which the “most wanted” item is an Italian quartzite iPhone case, costing “from” $220,000. Wi-Fi is normally available for all passengers, but wasn’t working on this flight.
Service: Couldn’t be faulted. There are 18 different nationalities on the crew, we’re told after take-off, who speak 21 languages “for your convenience”. The pilot has a thick Kiwi accent. There’s a small bar down the back of the section, with a lone bartender whipping up espresso martinis and manhattans. The retro curved seats have belts for when turbulence (or tipsiness) hits.
Food and drink: As well as the bar you can order cocktails and all the rest with meals. I had the beef fillet and lemon tart. Champagne was offered with breakfast.
Toilets: Clean throughout. Aftershave and hand cream the only real difference from Economy. With so many Business Class passengers there were some queues.
Luggage: Business Class passengers can check up to 10 pieces of luggage, with a total weight of up to 40kg. On the new route that goes via a stopover in Bali you also can check in a surfboard up to 3m without paying the oversized item fee.
Airport experience: Emirates provides a driver service to and from the airport for Business Class passengers. In Auckland it is done through Corporate Cabs. A mix-up with the booking saw the cab turn up 30 minutes late, but there wasn’t an issue after a quick check-in at the airport. The Emirates lounge has everything you need. Smart casual is required, so this was one of the only flights I’ve taken in shoes and not jandals. In Dubai you get a priority pass as a Business passenger, so the class division continues even once off the plane.
Would I fly again: Definitely, but in Economy unless I get another upgrade.
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