Flight Check: Auckland to Dubai aboard EK449

Max Bania flies aboard EK449, from Auckland to Dubai
Emirates' Boeing 777-200LR Auckland to Dubai.
Emirates' Boeing 777-200LR Auckland to Dubai.

The plane: A Boeing 777-200LR - dubbed the "Worldliner" for its ultra long-range capabilities.

Class: Economy.

Price: $1108 one-way, including my onward flight to London.

Flight time: Currently the longest in the world at a scheduled 17hr 15m. Today's flight only took 16hr 49m, though few were complaining about this particular change to the schedule.

My seat: 22K, window seat near the front of the Economy Class area.

Fellow passengers: A real mixture, from businessmen to solo travellers to the usual cacophony of screaming babies.

How full: Packed in like sardines -- I couldn't see an empty seat. Not a lot of legroom here, even for a man of my modest dimensions, and even less elbow room.

Entertainment: More than 1400 movies and TV shows covering every sub-genre you've heard of, and plenty you haven't. Power points in every seat and the on-board wi-fi was reliable and cheap at $1.40 for half a gigabyte. But the real highlight is the live sports channel. Being able to watch both an NRL game and Liverpool v Manchester United live from 38,000ft over the ocean is pretty cool.

The service: A little varied. Most flight attendants were friendly and helpful, others could've tried harder. It should never take cabin staff 45 minutes to clear meal trays!

Food and drink: Food was slightly above your standard airline fare, with a tasty lamb Madras, but a terrible meat pie. There was a full range of complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and a water fountain in the galley to help yourself to.

The toilets: Cosy but clean.

Luggage: A generous 30kg. As a bonus, there was a space in the cabin to hang up my suit bag, which isn't always a given on planes these days.

The ultra-long-haul experience: Seventeen hours sounds gruelling, but with the entertainment options available it really wasn't hard to pass the time. It's also night time the whole way and therefore easier to sleep. On the downside, the 777 aircraft used on this service is older and less comfortable than the A380s Emirates flies on its other services out of Auckland.

The airport experience: Getting through Auckland airport always seems to be a breeze these days, and the Emirates lounge is excellent. A smooth transit in Dubai en route to London.

Would I fly this again? Yep. The direct flight to Dubai avoids a niggly stopover in Australia and shaves four hours off Emirates' time from Auckland to London.

- NZ Herald

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