Winston Aldworth

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Flight check: Dubai to Auckland on Emirates

Winston Aldworth flies EK412 from the United Arab Emirates to New Zealand.
Emirates' menu is incorporating elements from Qantas following their recent partnership. Try the Reuben sandwich. Photo / Dean Purcell
Emirates' menu is incorporating elements from Qantas following their recent partnership. Try the Reuben sandwich. Photo / Dean Purcell

Plane: A380.

Class: Business.

Price: Business class return starts at $8129 and economy return at $2529.

Seat: 25A.

On time? Perfectly at all points.

Fellow passengers: Mostly families and business travellers, with the odd random thrown in. About 40 minutes out from Sydney airport, a big Kiwi bloke treats the rest of us to a memorable spectacle. He's been snoozing in his business-class seat wearing a singlet and small - really small - footy shorts. So he stands up, faces down the aisle so the rest of the cabin can see him, removes his singlet, scratches his bare belly and puts on a Team New Zealand long-sleeve top. Stay classy, New Zealand.

How full? Full house on the Dubai to Sydney leg, but for the final hop across the Ditch, there are barely a dozen of us in business - a somnambulent vibe.

Close to 80 per cent in economy.

Food and drink: As we're flying against the datelines with an early start in Dubai, this journey features five breakfasts, one lunch and several glasses of champagne. Plus a couple of vodka tonics with an English guy who wanders down from first class to visit the bar. One way or another, I've probably seen enough croissants for quite some time. Emirates' menu is incorporating elements from Qantas following their recent partnership. Try the Reuben sandwich.

Entertainment: Piles of channels. Good music, too. I always grab loads of newspapers and when boarding in Dubai on a Monday morning, there are copies of that day's New Zealand Herald waiting for us by the door. I settle into my seat and rejoice in Andrew Alderson's gripping tale about Counties' first Shield defence in Pukekohe. I can almost smell the pies. Or perhaps that's just another croissant.

Service: Excellent. When there are so few passengers the staff have more time for a nice natter.

The toilets: Immaculate. Business class travellers get a little toilet kit that includes shaving gear. Perfect for a quicken freshen up half an hour out from Auckland.

Luggage: Heaps. And no problem pouring more into the overhead lockers.

Airport experience: Hi! Welcome to Sydney! Please stand in this queue for 40 minutes so you can reboard the same plane and sit in the same seat. Tantalysingly, the Emirates business lounge is just beyond the transfer security check. I just have time for a revitalising shower and breakfast number five since leaving Stockholm 20 hours earlier.

Would I fly this again? Certainly.

Winston Aldworth travelled as a guest of Emirates.

- NZ Herald

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