B777-300, EK450 Bali to Auckland
Price Return business class fares are about $2500.
The seat 7F. In the business section there are two seats by each window and three in the middle row. I'm in the middle section by the aisle. This configuration means the the seat's width is basically it - you don't get the separating middle which on the A380s provides space for a mini-bar and more seclusion. But the crucial benefit is still there - the ability to lie flat and sleep.
On time Tail winds were so strong we delayed our takeoff, as Auckland Airport couldn't take the plane too early. Those same winds meant over an hour was shaved off the usual eight hour travel time.
Fellow passengers Across from me were an Indonesian couple excited to spend a week driving the North Island, including Hobbiton. A few diplomatic passports on board too because of the occasion, including NZ Ambassador to Indonesia Trevor Matheson - this was the first flight on Emirates new Bali-Auckland daily service.
How full? The plane has eight first class seats, 42 in business and 304 in economy. On this flight there were plenty of empty seats in the business section, including beside me.
Entertainment A huge variety of movies and television. But most importantly there is live television (even if it cuts out a bit) including sport - the Football World Cup kicks off as we are in the air, and I fall asleep in the second half with Russia two-nil up over Saudi Arabia.
Very good. Some excitement given this was an inaugural flight. The usual multinational Emirates crew - this one spoke 13 languages between them.
Food and drink I missed the breakfast but the beef rendang and mango panna cotta for dinner was great. My glass of Aussie Shiraz was topped up as fast as it went down.
Toilets Clean throughout the flight. Aftershave and hand cream the only real difference from economy.
Luggage Business class passengers can check 40kg. Up to 10 pieces of luggage can be checked so long as the total weight is below that limit. Tempting as that approach is, I only need the one checked bag. On the Bali route you also can check in a surfboard up to 3m without paying the oversized item fee (it still counts towards your total weight).
Airport experience Bali's airport is now modern. There's two lots of security - one to get into the departures terminal, and then the usual ordeal once the bags have been dropped off. At the Emirates check-in there are flowers and women in traditional Balinese costume to mark the occasion, as well as a camera crew filming passengers. It's a little slow but I put that down to first night nerves. Once through to the airside there is a huge range of shops and duty free - Montblanc, Burberry - and good seating. Wi-fi is free and speedy. There's a premium lounge for business flyers too, including an indemand shower for those who have arrived straight from the markets or beach. On arrival in Auckland the plane is given a welcoming water cannon. Emirates business passengers get a corporate cab to and from the airport included in the fare.
Would I fly again? Couldn't afford business but certainly in economy. If I was splurging on a once-in-a-lifetime business class flight I'd make sure it was on the A380s.