Chris Aldworth flies aboard Emirates EK141 from Dubai to Madrid.


An Airbus A380-800. The 17-hour slog which delivered me to Dubai two hours previously had gradually eroded the excitement of my first A380 flight. Amazing to think one of these things can take off, weighing 560,000kg.

Class: Economy, seated on the lower decks. My brother, the editor of this magazine, wouldn't know how to find these seats. He's usually hobnobbing upstairs in the premium seats. Well, I'm more a man of the people than him and this is fine for me. (And yet I can't help wondering ... )

Cost: Cheapest fares available through the airline at the moment for Auckland to Madrid, with one stop in Dubai, are $1889. That's return, in Economy Class.


On time? We were scheduled for 8hr, 15min and touched down three minutes ahead of time. All up, that made for a 27-hour stretch from Auckland to Madrid. Ouch.

Seat: I was in 47C, which put me next to the aisle. On long flights, I love gazing out the window at the world below so I passed half of the flight at the rear of the plane. From there I caught an incredible view of the great city of Alexandria.

Fellow passengers: A few hundred Spaniards gave the flight some life with their banter.

Their patriotism was equalled by my relief when the arid plains and olive groves came into view.

How full: Completely full. Younger generations of Spaniards rediscovering the world their ancestors once conquered.

Entertainment: They seemed to have the lot. I opted for the simplicity of a Western, The Magnificent Seven. It's not bad.

Service: Top notch. A medical emergency saw the crew swing into action and they were all totally professional, summoning a doctor from among the passengers. The crisis passed and the crook bloke soon looked fine.

Food and drink: I was hungry. After 20 hours in the air, my throat pretty much felt like it'd been blow-torched. Remember to drink plenty of water, people. The breakfast went down well, followed by a Kit Kat.

Toilets: In first-rate condition. I always find it impressive that these things can be well maintained, considering we're 38,000ft in the air. Where does it all go? Doesn't pay to think about it.

Luggage: My luggage in the hold clocked in at 7kg. My brother urged me to pack more - but it's just not necessary! What does he even do with all the crap he carts around? (Ed: Clean undies, change of shirt - you should try it sometime.)

Airport: Spanish Customs have always amused me and I wasn't let down on this journey. Barajas Airport is a no-nonsense, in-and-out place free of the duty-free conmen and coffee stands.

Would I fly again: With the fast transit in Dubai, this would be among the quickest ways to get to Spain. Do it, people.