Matt Brown flies Emirates EK451 from Auckland to Dubai
: A Boeing 777-300.
Check-in experience : I arrived at the airport at 10.30am ahead of the 12.50pm scheduled departure. Check-in through the dedicated Business Class counter was smooth and I was quickly fast-tracked through security and into the duty-free area within minutes. After a couple of purchases there I made my way to the impressive Emirates lounge to relax before my flight.
Luggage : 40kg plus 7kg hand luggage.
Flight time : A lengthy 19hr 30m, via Bali. This flight was the only option on the day with the usual Wednesday evening A380 direct service not operating due to runway maintenance in Dubai. Having previously flown the direct service as well as the flights that used to go via Sydney and Melbourne I was looking forward to seeing what the 777-300 had to offer.
Seat : 7D. Located in the forward section of the Business Class cabin. It was an aisle seat and I was surprised to see it as part of a 2-3-2 configuration. Not many airlines have a middle Business Class seat these days and there is certainly less space than on rivals with 1-2-1 and 2-2-2 configurations. Emirates are upgrading the 777 Business Class to a 2-2-2 formation. There was a young child and his mum next to me and as the cabin was about half full, I was able to switch to 6A, a window seat, for the Bali leg.
They call this an "angle lie flat" seat — meaning not fully flat, and I certainly found it not nearly as comfortable as the A380 which is fully lie flat. The arm rest on the right-hand side was only large enough for your elbow and, compared with the A380, there is a lack of storage area for amenities.
Entertainment : The ICE entertainment system is simply incredible. There are so many choices, it's perfect for insomniacs and you can never get bored on an Emirates flight. I watched a couple of action films before reading my latest Jack Reacher novel.
Flight check: Auckland to Hong Kong with Air New Zealand
Service : The flight from Auckland to Bali was as good as any I've experienced. Being a daytime flight, there was much more interaction with the crew compared with the second leg from Bali to Dubai. On that flight, I hardly saw any crew after the meal was served.
Food and drink : Outstanding. We were offered dinner about an hour after take off from Auckland. I opted for the traditional Arabic mezze to start with a roasted chicken fillet for my main course. Both were delicious. Emirates often have lovely French wines and the Chateau Meyney 2009, Saint-Estephe didn't disappoint.
There was also a choice of desserts and a cheese board. I chose the latter. A delicious beef pie was served just before landing in Bali.
On the second flight I went for a chicken soup and braised beef ribs, which were very tasty.
Fellow passengers : There were a few Kiwis and a number of European travellers.
Arrival : On time in Denpasar around 5.30pm, Bali time. We had to get off the plane and wait in transit for about an hour and a half before boarding for the flight to Dubai, which arrived 15 minutes early at 12.30am, Dubai time.
Verdict : The Emirates 777-300 Business Class product is very good but doesn't compare with their A380. The service, particularly on the first flight was exceptional, and the entertainment and food and beverage options are outstanding. The one negative is the seat in the 2-3-2 configuration which compares favourably with their A380, making it harder to get a comfortable sleep.