This post concludes the Emirates Long Haul Business Class experience featuring a review of Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (extended range) product, plus a few more views of the A380, and final thoughts about flying Emirates Business Class.
This is the final part of a multi-part series about the Emirates Experience. Thank you for reading and feel free to check out the earlier parts:
Flight summary: Johannesburg (JNB) to Dulles (IAD) via Dubai (DXB)
(Please note that all times are local).
Johannesburg to Dubai
- Departure/arrival: 1:50 PM to 11:59 PM
- Flight time: 8 hr 9 min
- Equipment: 777-300 ER (three classes)
Stopover in Dubai – 2 hrs 21 min
Dubai to Dulles (Washington DC)
- Departure/arrival: 2:20 AM to 8:40 AM
- Flight time: 14 hours 20 min
- Equipment A380 (3 classes)
Johannesburg (JNB) lounge
I got to Johannesburg airport fairly early the next day. One thing about JNB is there are quite a number of sketchy people hanging out offering services prior to check-in. I kept my head forward and said “No thank you” quite a lot. One unsavory character said he had to examine my passport and papers. I mumbled something and walked away quickly, finding the Emirates Business Check-in which had just opened – the same friendly, efficient service as in Dulles.
I made my way through emigration and security and headed first to the gate to see our Boeing 777-300ER, then headed to the relatively new Johannesburg Emirates lounge.
Johannesburg Emirates Lounge. The lounge is marvelously pleasant with fast Wi-Fi, attentive service, and plenty of international charging stations. I wish I had taken a picture of the power towers Emirates has throughout the lounge – basically a tall device that has most every outlet size available, plus USB ports galore. As usual, I got to the lounge well before pretty much any other passenger did, but as we approached flight time, the lounge filled up quite a bit but never felt crowded.
The drink selection – including alcohol – was quite extensive. And of course Moet again.
As the clock passed noon, I suddenly was in the mood for a jack and coke, or maybe some Moet, oh what to do. So I had both. Because I could. I decided to take a pre-flight shower (also because I could) and the bathrooms and showers were impeccably clean.
Boeing 777-300 – JNB to DXB
Once again I was among the first to board and received the same warm Emirates greeting.
A Peak at First Class
The attendant noticed me looking at first class and invited me to take a quick look if I like. So of course I did. Some day…….
Boeing 777-300 Business Class Cabin
Many reviewers write negatively about the Emirates version of the angle-flat seat but I found it very comfortable like a deep recliner and easier to sleep in than the A380 seat. My only recommendation is to change the name from angle-flat to cradle-flat seat, because angle-flat still implies the old and tragic seats from the early 2000s that gave us wedgies.
The service was the same wonderful, friendly, and efficient service as my inbound flights.
We were offered champagne while boarding – this time Laurent Perrier Brut NV (non-vintage). After takeoff i enjoyed a mimosa, and some mixed nuts – nicely made mimosa.
Food and Wine
The lunch menu and snack menu. What would you select?
I was torn between the pumpkin/ginger soup and the grilled prawns. I picked the prawns – moist and flavorful and the salsa was a refreshing compliment. Either would have been a great pick as the soup smelled delicious.
For my main I was torn between chicken biryani and pan-seared kingslip. I went for the biryani for a bit more international flavor and was not disappointed.
For those not familiar, it is chicken marinated in aromatic spices and slow cooked with rice, garnished with fried cashew nuts, raisins and onions, a wonderful raita (similar to a yogurt with spices). A 2007 Chateau Meyney from Saint Estephe, France worked beautifully as an accompaniment.
For desert I had a macadamia nut tart with vanilla mascarpone and some more Nieport 20 year old Tawney. Yum.
After dinner I watched a laugh-out-loud movie about a gangster cat named Keanu and I guess I laughed quite a bit. As the flight attendant walked by she peeked at my screen. Later, she told me she wanted to see that movie because everyone who watches it laughs so hard. Again this was another example of humanized service (on many levels) and I really do appreciate it.
Between a meal, two movies (the other movie I saw was Little Girl Blue about Janis Joplin – I loved both movies), and a nap, the flight itself seemed like it was over in no time and we soon landed in Dubai.
Boarding from lounge level
I will not repeat anything about the Dubai Business Class lounge in this post because it was pretty much the same, except two things:
- There was a stand that had American-style hotdogs and buttered popcorn. It was popular. Felt a little like Penn Station in New York. I could not get a good picture : (
- Boarding was from the lounge level (loved it!). This was the one and only place that they requested no photographs (politely, preemptively, and reasonably).
Back on the A380 – Dubai to Washington
After a wonderful 777-300 experience I was ready to get back on the A380. Although take off was at 2:20 am, I was feeling wide awake and once again excited. As I have already written extensively about the Emirates A380 Business Class experience, I will not repeat it here, except to call out the food.
Bottom line – This plane and the crew were as wonderful as they were on the inbound flight, and although the food on the inbound flight was good, the food on this outbound flight was absolutely amazing.
We were offered a dinner service at what was local dinner time in Washington DC. And I was hungry again. The menu was wonderful (what would you request for dinner?)
Appetizer – tasty and fresh.
I had Chilean sea bass en papillote (baked in parchment) with mushrooms and herbs, served with dill sauce, parsley potatoes, and steamed vegetables. This dish was amazing.
After some sleep I awoke to see we were over Iceland, so it seemed appropriate have some clam chowder. Very nice. I do not recall what beverage(s) I was having but i got my buzz on for sure.
The internet was reasonably functional on this leg of the flight, so much so that I was able to Facetime a couple (of very envious) friends and readily send and received emails.
For breakfast I again had the continental cold plate with grilled chicken, beef pastrami, and red Leicester cheese. And once again this 14 hour flight went by quickly and pleasantly.
Final thoughts on Emirates
- Flying Emirates in upper class is so much more that a means of getting from point A to point B. It is an experience unto itself. I highly recommend it if you get/can make the opportunity.
- Emirates customer service sets a standard that is so much beyond the big 3 US carriers. Emirates has found a balance between eloquent and friendly. On the flight, the service is well-choreographed in its efficiency. To me this is a plus (which contradicts some other flight reviewers) because in the unlikely event of some sort of emergency I want well-choreographed efficiency.
- The A380 hard product is amazing with its fun and functional showcase bar. The Boeing 777-300 product is a fine and comfortable airplane. If I were to make any suggestions about the hard product, it would be the widen the seats on the A380 maybe by 2 inches, and to remove the center seats on the Boeing 777-300.
- Food and beverages – excellent, well thought out, plentiful and delicious.
I noticed some reviewers are less generous to Emirates Business Class product than I am, but I also noticed that many of their reviews were done after they had previously flown Emirates First Class product. That is a bias I image is hard to overcome.
I recognize that the recent “barriers” Emirates is facing in the US market are having an impact to them. I hope Emirates keeps their US flights and especially keeps flying the A380 to/from the United States. As I pointed out earlier, Emirates significantly raises the bar, and the bar really needs to be raised.
Overall, I have a new favorite airline.