Emirates Business Class in A380 - ZRH to DXB
On a recent summer vacation to Dubai - where we stayed at the fantastic Jumeirah Madinat (find the review here) - I had the luck to get an op-upgrade to Business Class for my Emirates flight.
The booking process on the Emirates website is pretty well done, all of the needed information of the different fares and flights can be seen on one page in a pleasing UI design. What I especially like is the Emirates iPhone app. Compared to Swiss or Lufthansa this is really working well and I have all the information needed and can perform all the actions needed (and don't need to log in every now and then @Swiss!). Example: To find my mobile boarding pass after check-in is just as simple as tapping on the big green button that is on top of everything, because that is what I most likely will need after check-in. Who would've thought?
I was really lucky to get an operational upgrade, since I didn't have any status with Emirates, only one flight this year. Economy was clearly overbooked, I was standing in line with many other passengers to board section F (Emirates section-wise boarding of seats makes sense for the huge A380). When my boarding pass wouldn't work they told me: you got upgraded to Business Class. Oh happy day! A flight in Business from ZRH to DXB costs 2500 CHF for one direction, while I paid 750 CHF for a return ticket in ECO. I have to mention that it's much more expensive to fly from ZRH in premium cabins than from other European airports, like FRA, AMS, BRU. From AMS, for example, one direction Business is just under 1400 EUR (~1600 CHF). I guess this is explained ultimately by the high salaries in Zurich and thus a higher demand for premium. Of course prices in general are higher in Switzerland, but I don't see any difference for Economy fares.
At the airport (ZRH)
Since I got my upgrade at the boarding gate, I can't say anything about the Business lounge of Emirates at ZRH. I hear it's nice though. Thus, let's head right into the cabin. The nice flight attendant who checked my boarding pass after entering in the economy section pointed me to the stairs for Business Class.
The seat seems slightly dated already (the world is turning fast), but it still is a great hard product. I am not a super fan of the decor style at Emirates. I rather like Scandinavian simplicity, like in Swiss Business for example - a little more natural and a little less plastic and gold. But nonetheless, the seat was very comfortable, spacious and even though I had a middle seat, it felt private enough to me. Most of the time I didn't even see my neighbour on the right.
Apparently you don't get an amenity kit in Emirates Business if the flight is below 7 hours. Too bad, I got it in Lufthansa or Swiss on flights at about 5 to 6 hours. What you do get is a fast pass voucher for the Dubai immigration fast lane.
I started my flight with a pre-take-off champagne. It was the Veuve Clicqout Yellow Label Brut NV. Not the worst way to start a flight that would have initially been in cramped Eco.
The flight attendants were very friendly and attentive. They addressed me by name and told me their names as well, which I usually don't get at LX/LH and find a great way to take the FA-to-guest-relationship to a more personal level very quickly.
Soon after the champagne service the FAs handed out the wine and lunch menu for this day- time flight.
I had the decent Bordeaux (Chateau Olivier 2008) to pair with the main course.
Apparently I missed to take a photo of the desert, which was fantastic. I chose the mango and strawberry sorbet.
The much praised Emirates entertainment system did impress me for the sheer amount of choice. The screen was of good quality and size and you had several ways to control the system: touch screen, handset and tablet - I ended up using the touch screen for selecting a program and the hand set for adjusting the volume.
The air show at the Emirates is much more enhanced than I had seen before, since you could see all the information on a left panel and the map in the middle. Not like this old school one-screen slide-show. Additionally on the A380 you get three different cameras attached to different parts of the plane.
I have seen many photos and videos of this before, but to actually be in the bar in the A380 Business class and drink a Gin and Tonic while getting to know very interesting people is just very cool. The FAs were helpful and talkative.
One FA asked me if I wanted a Polaroid behind the bar which I gladly agreed on. I even got two: one with and one without the lady behind the bar. It's a nice memory that you take home signed with date and flight number inside a folded card.
Time in the bar was "flying" (haha) and after a few drinks the FAs started to hand out the Neuhaus chocolate as a good bye (I guess everyone sitting got one too). Unfortunately I couldn't try the lie-flat-position of the seat. From the looks of it I assume it feels a little less claustrophobic than LX/LH Business, but I really can't say before I tried.
|Class||Business Class Op-Up (Z)|
|Flight No.||EK 88|
|Route||ZRH - DXB (about 6 hours)|
|Price||For return ECO: CHF 750 (~ 780 USD)
Usually about 5000 CHF return for BUS from ZRH
I had a direct comparison to Emirates Economy class, since the return flight was just a normal Economy seat. OMG what a crappy seat (table was broken), crappy food, crappy service (they took ages to answer my calls for water etc). There is no way that this is a better Economy than on airlines such as Swiss, Lufthansa or Cathay Pacific, like some said in the past. They are all the same crap. Maybe Chinese domestic airlines or Ryanair are worse, but is that really the level you want to be compared to, Emirates?
As far as Business Class goes, Emirates is among the best out there. This is especially true for the warm service I received. One last example: when I had problems connecting my phone to the WiFi the FA tried it herself and when she couldn't get it done either, she asked for her colleague who is an expert and who fixed it immediately. And they never became grumpy during this process, always seemed as if they genuinely want to help me. That seems much to ask for at other airlines. But then again, it often differs from flight to flight and crew to crew.
The bar is a really important factor for why this flight was much more relaxing than others. Just because I was standing for about two hours of the trip, I arrived much healthier (granted, the drinks I had balanced the health value back again). If you don't have a common and nice meeting place you will not stand up for that long.
All in all, I would do it again :) But not for the Zurich price. Rather for miles or from other locations. I also heard the Business and First Terminal at DXB is supposed to be very cool. And the chauffeur service that picks you up from your home, of course...