Winston Aldworth flies EK413 from New Zealand to Australia.

The plane:

Airbus A380, the hulking great skyscrapper of the air. It never fails to amaze me that these things can get off the ground.

Class: Business.

Price: You can get into a Business class seat here for $1750 and $650 for down in Economy. Those are return prices.


On time: These Emirates flights out of Auckland are often a little light on passengers, so there's never a late search for a lost shopper in the Auckland terminal. It's meant to be a 3hr, 30min flight. We got out on time and arrived in Sydney 10 minutes early.

My seat: 22D. On the righthand side, just forward of the bar at the back. These seats are fabulous, but I reckon you're better of booking a seat on the left of the plane - that way the fold out tray folds away towards the side of the plane, making it easier to hop out and head to the bar. First-world problems, huh?

Fellow passengers: In business it was a mostly business mob - except for the two Aussie larrikins who perched at the bar. They were an interesting pair: they fly out to Auckland once a year with their wives to celebrate birthdays. "We love Auckland! Top city, mate! Top city!" Pretty sure I was the only one upstairs going for the State of Origin. Saw a few Blues jerseys in Economy. Heard no cries of "Queenslandaaaaah!"

How full? About a dozen passengers out of more than 70 seats in Business class. It was less than half full in Economy, meaning plenty of stretching out.

Entertainment: I listened to music and finished off some Flight Check writing (had a heap of them from various flights to complete). Had my first proper play with the touchscreen remote control; a handy device.

Service: With so few passengers we have the full attention of all the staff. There are no passengers in First Class, so the staff from up there are wandering around too, meaning there are actually more staff than passengers in Business.

Food and drink: I was booked in for dinner at a raved-about Korean restaurant in Sydney, but found space for the lamb cutlets with aubergine on the plane. They were excellent. As were the strong-side vodka tonics.

Toilets: Clean as a whistle.

Luggage: Everything's faster with carry-on only.

Trick for young players: The overhead bins in the middle of the cabin are deeper than those on the sides.

Airport experience: Had a beer and a couple of strong-side vodka tonics in the Emirates lounge at Auckland. I love flicking through the Aussie papers before departure.

Would I fly this again? It's a great way to cross the Ditch.

The writer travelled as a guest of Emirates.