Stephanie Simons flies EK413 from New Zealand to Australia.

The plane:

Emirates' Airbus A380 is rekindling some of the glamour of flying. The term "Airbus" doesn't sound particularly appealing but once you're on board, this large, luxurious plane puts this airline in a class of its own.

Class: Business. The whole experience from express check-in to arriving at my seat and being presented with a glass of champagne is worth every penny. The business-class section is quite large (76 flatbed seats) with cosy little pods for stowing your things within arm's reach so you can stretch out and enjoy the comfort and exceptional service. I just wish I was flying further afield than the three hours to Sydney.

Price: I was lucky enough to be on board courtesy of Emirates and the New Zealand Herald, so it cost me nothing. However, this return flight in business class to Sydney usually costs NZ$1580 (see above, worth every penny).


Seat: 25F. Ask to be seated in the back section as it has only 18 seats and feels less busy. Plus it's closer to the cocktail bar - if you can be bothered leaving your fully reclining seat with massage settings and large-screen telly.

On time? We left at the scheduled time.

Fellow passengers: Business class doesn't really encourage interaction unless you make the effort to leave your cosy enclosed pod, or lower the privacy wall between you and your seat mate. As my seat mate was my sister, Letitia, I thought I should be sociable and speak to her during the flight.

How full? Business class was about two-thirds' full.

Entertainment: Take your pick of the latest movies and TV shows (I was able to catch up on Broadchurch) or music and games on the wide screen while wearing a very comfortable set of noise-cancelling headphones. Business and first-class passengers also have power and USB ports for charging or for using personal devices. And if you can't bear to be disconnected from the world during the flight, then wi-fi can be purchased on your credit card (great for those mid-flight Facebook status updates, if you're that way inclined).

Service: Faultless. The Emirates crew boasts 18 nationalities and as many languages, so if English isn't your first then someone is bound to speak your language. The crew are immaculately presented, very friendly and helpful, and the service is what you'd expect for this calibre of airline.

Food and drink: When I was handed the dinner service menu I felt excited about plane food for the first time in a long while. The appetiser was poached prawns, followed by a choice of three mains - I went with the duck confit which was absolutely delicious, and me being me I couldn't bypass dessert and chose panna cotta creme fraiche. Refreshments are offered throughout the flight.

Toilets: Very nice and from 25F, only a short walk. They are slightly roomier than most airline bathrooms and offer some extras such as a full-length mirror, disposable shaving gear and toothpaste and toothbrush sets for pre-arrival freshening up.


Luggage: For business class up to 30kg checked and two carry-on pieces weighing up to 7kg each.

The airport experience: Express check-in is a real treat, and after that it was plain sailing all the way to the Emirates lounge. No matter how you're travelling, I find Auckland International Airport relatively efficient and pleasant compared to others I've experienced.

Would I fly this again? Definitely. Although I probably won't be lucky enough to be in business class.

Stephanie Simons flew courtesy of Emirates.