Since growing my logistics business over the past 10 years, I'm very much a realist by often admitting "I've become spoilt with Business Class" when it comes to travelling long haul.
Whilst me and my business partner/staff can afford to spend money from the company on such luxuries, sadly it isn't always the case when it's coming from your own pocket x a family of 4. So, choosing the best economy for value and comfort is something always high on my agenda. As well as gathering Airmiles where I can to try get us an upgrade (like that time to Australia!).
If you've kept up to date with these blogs you'll know we travelled to Dubai earlier in May. We did use some miles to upgrade one tier that time, using BA Avios getting us to Premium Economy. The review on that is here.
This time we got a great deal for the perfect flights using a helpful chap at Dial-a-Flight called Nick Beattie. I've flown Emirates before but only in the spoilt section - upstairs on the A380! This was a first for me.
We got the 8pm flight from Heathrow Saturday night, and returned the following Sunday on the 2pm flight. So we also have a Daytime vs Nighttime comparison.
The entertainment system onboard (ICE) is one of the best. Regardless of seat class, it is probably, the best I've come across. It has such a large variety of films and TV programs to choose from, as well as music and games.
The aircraft is superb... If you go from Heathrow or Gatwick which should mean you're onboard the A380 as opposed to the 777 from Stanstead. It's large, incredible size-wise, impressive, but most of all the cabin pressure is almost non-existent which was coincidentally so helpful, as Nancy was just getting through a perforated eardrum/infection!
Service - The staff are attentive at all times, from check-in, to stewards and to arrival. Couldn't fault them.
Value - Price-wise, it was at the time on par with BA's economy but perhaps just a tad under. Not much to sway the decision but we thought we'd test EK out anyway.
Dubai Airport - Generally, seeing as Emirates pretty much owns the airport, the entire place is full of Emirates planes when you get there, so as you can imagine all the best/premium arrival gates and terminals are given to Emirates. If you fly anyone else, don't be surprised if you land at a different terminal and have to get the internal shuttle or bus across. It's not more than 20 mins out of your day but, just saying...
Food - Decent quality. The girls always complain that aeroplane food is disgusting but they all seemed to finish their dish as did I!
The seats, whilst always appearing spacious and quite good 'for economy' when I've walked past them previously, was surprisingly quite uncomfortable. My backside felt like it's been sitting on a concrete traffic block for 7hours. We were all quite disappointed as everything else was so good. Comfort is however quite important!
No onboard menu was provided to buy as and when you want, but was provided for the set meals during the flight. I'm sure if you ask, you can get something extra but, we didn't try, and only noticed that on other airlines you get some sort of extra menu for sweets/snacks. Not here.
Headset - Real poor quality, and whilst I appreciate you pay for what you get, in business class their headsets are noise-cancelling high-quality headphones. Luckily myself and Amber have our own Bose, but Nancy and Libby wore the shoddy thin, Xmas cracker prize style over the ear headphones all flight.
Overall, if flying economy again to Dubai I'll not rule out Emirates at all, but purely for the seat comfort I'll look to sway more towards BA. Especially as I have more air miles with them, and would like to think we have more chance of getting bumped up a class due to the tier level I have (although we've never experienced that yet!).
The second change we'll make is if flying economy we will definitely book the daytime flight out instead of the evening flight. We assumed getting the night flight meant we would sleep easier, and of course, arriving at 6am the next morning means you save an extra hotel nights cost. After this experience of not sleeping at all, I'd gladly pay the extra night's hotel fee and get the day time flight. We all said it - it would have been so much more bearable staying awake just watching films for 6-7 hours than actively trying, and failing to sleep. That was horrible. The flight home proved that theory to be correct.
(We receive no reward, commission, kudos, discounts from anyone mentioned in our review)