Winston Aldworth flies aboard EK451 from Auckland to Bali.

The plane

: A beaut 777-300. Fun facts: There are 158 777s in the Emirates fleet, and the 777s have carried 298 million passengers since they started in 2004.

Class: Economy. There are 310 Economy Class seats, split into three sections (eight in First Class and 42 in Business). We're in the front of those three sections, which has a more peaceful feeling than those busier spots further back.


My seat: 18D.

Price: Fares from $1139 return.

Airport experience: It was quiet inside the Emirates lounge where the food is probably the pick of the airline offerings. There's good cheese, bubbles and all you'll need to mix that white Russian.

Crucially, the lounge has a solid selection of magazines and plenty of copies of the New Zealand Herald.

At the other end, Ngurah Rai International Airport is a heap slicker and more air-conditioned than it was when I staggered through there as a backpacker on my way to my OE two decades ago.

Flight time: You're airborne for about 9hr. The 1.50pm departure means it's a solid movie-food-magazine haul; there's not a lot of sleeping going on.

You'll skid into Denpasar at about 6pm local time — which is 11pm, Kiwi time, so if you're travelling with kids (we were) you'll need to factor in a hefty sleep upon arrival. So, naturally, our kids were up at around 5am local time doing bombs into the swimming pool of the Bookabach villa we were in.

On time? We were bang on at both ends.


Fellow passengers: A solid mix of Kiwis heading for a Balinese sunshine break and, as EK451 continues onwards to Dubai I'm guessing a bunch of them had landed cheap fares to Europe.

Food and drink: As a neglectful omnivorous father, I naturally neglected to get my daughter's vegetarian preference sorted out before rolling up at the airport. A helpful Emirates staffer sorted things for us and Zoe duly tucked into a tasty ravioli. (Hot tip, dads: Spare yourself dark pre-teen glares by logging on a couple of days early.)

For the rest of us, lunch was airline regulation beef and chicken. The vege dish was the best.

Entertainment: Finally got around to seeing Avengers: Endgame. Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola are wrong; it's a cracking flick.

My son Baxter (pictured) gave the IFE's vaunted gaming options a solid workout over nine hours.

Toilets: Well-maintained throughout.

Final word: This is the only year-round connection between Auckland and Bali. It's a terrific flight time for a family holiday — load up on airplane grub and settle in for entertainment before a solid snooze at the other end.

An Emirates 777-300; Baxter Aldworth (below) tests out the gaming system.
Photo / Getty Images; Winston Aldworth