Winston Aldworth flies EK157 from the United Arab Emirates to Sweden.

The plane:

A Boeing 777-300ER.

Class: Business.

Price: You can get into this seat with return tickets from $5305 (Economy starts at $1442). Auckland to Stockholm return is on special at the moment at $8379 (Economy return from $2909).


On time? The flight should take 6h 19m. We're 15 minutes late leaving Dubai as nine passengers manage to get lost in the terminal. Can't blame them too much really - the shopping area at Dubai Airport is about the size of several Auckland shopping malls stacked together. We make up the difference and land at Stockholm Arlanda right on time.

My seat: 7B. A comfortable lie-back number, well stocked with entertainment amenities. It's hard to sleep though, as we're mostly flying in daylight.

Fellow passengers: A few Emiratis heading to Scandinavia, and a bunch of families in coach.

How full: Barely. Just nine of the 28 seats in Business are in use. The ratio is even lower in economy where most of the passengers are laid out snoozing across four seats. This is a new route for Emirates (we were on just the third EK157 and the crew told me it sometimes takes a while for the numbers to grow).

Entertainment: Emirates' in-flight system has some good stuff in the music folder. I wouldn't have picked them to carry classic albums from Massive Attack, Primal Scream and Sly and the Family Stone. Want To Take You Higher, indeed. I listened to Johnny Cash At San Quentin in its entirety for the first time - a terrific album.

But the best entertainment was watching the contours of the desert on a sunny morning in the first couple of hours out of Dubai. At the other end, the first islands of Stockholm's archipelago are just as beautiful.

Service: Terrific. Emirates cabin crews carry a polaroid camera to get snaps of honeymooners and kids. Because there were so few passengers on our flight, a couple of the staff were sharing snapshots with passengers.

Food and drink: Fruit and yoghurt for a light breakfast just out of Dubai. Just before landing we got a lunch that included gravalax - the Scandinavian cured salmon treat. A nice touch aboard a flight into the Swedish capital.

The toilets: A little smaller than their business class equivalents aboard the Emirates A380s, but pristine.

Luggage: Emirates business class allows 40kg in the hold and ample carry-on.

Airport experience: I didn't have long to change over in Dubai, so - because I hadn't prepared properly before departing on the 18-hour journey through Auckland-Oz-Dubai - I took the opportunity to buy some clean, minty-fresh, crisp, spanking-new undies in duty free and have a quick shower in the massive Emirates business lounge. Rarely has a crotch felt fresher.

Would I fly this again: In a flash.

The writer travelled as a guest of Emirates.