Plane: An A380.
Luggage: 40kg in the hold, plus 7kg hand luggage.
Check in: A breeze. Arriving for the last of Emirates' four daily flights to Dubai from Auckland airport, but only direct flight, I was the only passenger at the Business Class check in two hours before the flight.
Airport experience: Very smooth. After completing the fast-track immigration I made my way through the terminal to the Emirates Lounge. It had an impressive array of food from traditional Arabic mezze to cheese and crackers, soup and several main courses such as salmon and chicken cacciatore. I sampled a lovely Marlborough pinot noir, The Brothers 2013. A bonus in taking the later Emirates flight is the lounge is only about a third full. It is usually chocka earlier in the day.
Flight time: A lengthy 17 hours, however having previously flown through Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Dubai where you have to get off the plane for a couple of hours I was looking forward to getting on and ending up at the destination.
My seat: 25K is near the back of the plane on the upper deck, just in front of the bar. A and K are the best seats if travelling on your own in Business as they offer more privacy.
It's a fully flat seat which allows for a comfortable sleep. Initial concerns that it might be quite noisy due to the proximity of the bar were allayed as there were only a handful of passengers on this flight who took advantage of the bar.
Entertainment: The ICE entertainment system is state of the art with hundreds of movies, dozens of TV shows and enough musical entertainment to keep you occupied the entire flight and back again.
I watched the war movie Hackshaw Ridge before popping a Zopiclone sleeping tablet, putting the seat back and enjoying about six hours of uninterrupted sleep. However that still left me with about seven hours to kill when I woke up before the marathon flight arrived in Dubai.
Service: Fairly unobtrusive, the cabin crew were polite if not overly friendly and were from 19 different nationalities. They offered a glass of champagne before take-off and mattresses to make up the bed.
Food and drink: The food and wine selection was outstanding. We were offered dinner about an hour after take-off, three choices of entrees and I had a tasty sweet potato and ginger soup. I don't usually have chicken as a main course but can report the tandoori chicken with vegetable jalfrezi, tikka masala sauce and rice pilaf hit just the right notes.
Getting in the mood for a couple of weeks covering the French Open in Paris I enjoyed the Clos du Marquis 2006, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux — Although they also had a nice Cloudy Bay Te Waihi Pinot Noir 2013 from Central Otago on the wine list. Dessert was a mocha mousse which I couldn't finish, then an Emirates special, Godiva Belgian chocolates.
Fellow passengers: A mixture of Kiwis on holiday or business and a number of predominantly British travellers heading home. Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and his wife Joan were also on board. My only interaction was with an Englishman in the bar who works at Auckland Airport. It transpired he commutes from Brisbane and has been to every Rugby World Cup final.
Arrival: After departing about 15 minutes late, we arrived on time at Dubai International Airport at 5.30am.
Verdict: Certainly a great way to travel long haul: the bar is cool, but most importantly there is plenty of space to stretch your legs during such a long flight.