Wednesday, January 23, 2013
We flew home to Adelaide for Christmas using the new Emirates routing from Zurich to Dubai to Adelaide. Yes, only one stop in Dubai and it was only for 2 hours, just enough time for a Starbucks and a wander around the shops. This is the first time we'd ever flown Emirates, and I've got to say it was pretty good.
My favourite airline is Singapore Air and I would always choose to fly with them home to Australia if their layover time in Singapore wasn't so awful. It's up to about 15 hours now, which isn't long enough to really go out of the airport and achieve anything, and far too long to sit around in the airport - so you end up paying to check into the transit hotel at Changi and then kicking your heels for ages. By the time you arrive home in Adelaide after such a long layover you feel ghastly. The Emirates connection time was great and the prices were comparable.
After flying long haul I really don't like arriving at my destination in the morning, and then having to stay awake all day when you feel awful and all you want to do is sleep. With the Emirates routing, you arrive back in Adelaide around 9pm and you can go home and collapse and get a good nights sleep. Singapore always lobbed me back into Adelaide in the morning, so Emirates are much better for me with arrival times.
The Emirates planes were fine, quite new, and with brilliant seat back entertainment systems (called ICE). They have more entertainment choices than I've ever seen before, including whole box sets of television programs, so you can catch up with a series that you've been wanting to see. I watched a few new release movies on the way over, and then "Gone With The Wind" on the way back to Zurich.
The staff were quite friendly, and the food was fine with two choices for each meal. Leg room in economy was quite generous, but the seat width was tight with a 3-4-3 configuration - they're obviously trying to get as many bums on seats as possible. It didn't help that they'd oversold each of our 4 flights and the planes were absolutely packed. One nice touch was that when they put all the lights out so that people could "sleep", the ceiling of the plane lit up with tiny stars - it just felt "friendly".
Dubai airport was shiny, new and clean and there were the usual cafes and shops. If you're flying with kids, the airport provided baby strollers at stations by each departure gate, so you could grab a red Emirates stroller to use in the airport. I'm not sure how many are available, so you might want to ask more questions before you depart if you're planning on using them.
Overall, Emirates were good, almost as good as Singapore Air, and we'll fly them again. They seem to have some good deals going from time to time, with Companion Fares in Business and First being offered at the moment, at nearly half the price usually charged - unfortunately they don't do it in Economy!