This article is part of a series documenting our flight and lounge experiences as we travelled to and from Europe in First and Business Class (on points) through April and May 2016.
- Emirates Chauffeur Drive
- Emirates First and Business Class Lounge - Melbourne
- Emirates A380 top deck layout with pictures
- Emirates First Class with a toddler (Melbourne to Dubai)
- Emirates Business Class Lounge - Dubai
- Emirates Business Class with a toddler (Dubai to Rome)
- Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge - Paris
- Cathay Pacific Business Class with a toddler (Paris to Hong Kong / Hong Kong to Melbourne)
- Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge - Hong Kong
- Emirates vs Cathay Pacific Business Class... with a toddler
We’ve been in the care of Emirates for the better part of a day at this point. Through our amazing First Class flight from Melbourne to Dubai, to then being able to continue the sanity at the Emirates Lounge in Dubai has been a travel experience we won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
Now it’s time for the relatively short leg of six hours from Dubai to Rome. This time, we’re ‘slumming it’ in Business Class…..
Throughout this article, I reference our First Class flight a fair bit. Rather than linking to it every time, here’s a link in case you want to have a read of it first.
Not that it’s even mildly interesting, but when we boarded in Melbourne, there were a number of aerobridges, and we entered the aircraft and had to turn left to get to First, with Business passengers turning right. Interestingly (or not) on this flight, we entered through the front of the aircraft and up the stairs at the First Class bar I talked about in the First Class review, and then through First Class and on to Business.
The only reason I thought it slightly odd is that we were at Dubai airport- Emirates’ home base- where surely every piece of equipment available can be sourced?
Emirates Business Class seats
I may have mentioned it before, but our original flights out of Australia were meant to be with Cathay Pacific. I’d heard mixed reports about their ‘herringbone’ seating configuration when travelling with kids, so when the opportunity came up to switch to Emirates for part of the trip, we took it to be able to experience both.
The Emirates seat configuration is the same as First Class, in that it’s a 1-2-1 layout, as pictured (once again courtesy of www.seatguru.com).
As you can also see from the drawing, as well as the pictures below, that there are two different staggered layouts for Business Class seats that alternate each row.
Most of your Business Class conveniences, including mini bar, tray table and power sources are located next to you. In one row configuration, you sit next to someone and those amenities are on the aisle side. In the other, alternate row, that amenities area (x 2) is between you and the person next to you. If that wordy explanation made no sense, then the pictures below should explain it better.
It’s a reasonably ingenious design, as the back of that amenities box is the entertainment unit of the person behind you. And under it is their feet when they’re asleep.
Like I said- ingenious.
As was in First Class, there is a barrier that can be put up if you’re just not that comfortable being that close to someone else.
Although not as well stocked as the First Class one, the mini-bar is still handy to be able to grab a (room temperature) water or soft drink without having to buzz for it.
As is the same in First Class, a mattress is put down on your seat for you before sleep. Take note that the mattresses are collected quite a while before descent, and the crew didn’t seem to be too flexible on the matter. If you want to sleep for as long as possible- don’t use the mattress!
For a more detailed look at the First and Business cabins on an Emirates A380, take a look at the A380 overview page I made.
Emirates Business Class amenity kits
I’ll be honest and say I don’t recall the amenities kit at all. We still had all our haul from the previous First Class journey, so I daresay we may have left them behind. Carriage is limited between two adults and a small human.
We did have quite a few Emirates folding brushes follow us around Europe, which are a great toy by the way, so there were definitely a few of them involved.
The Emirates Business Class ‘experience’
I will say from the outset that our experience with Emirates Business Class was less than we expected.
I am only too aware that it was less than four short hours prior to this that we were basking in First Class decadence, but I’m pretty sure my feelings towards Business weren’t tempered by that. I am trying to be as fair-minded as possible.
Our flights back to Australia in a month are with Cathay Pacific, so it will be interesting to see what I think when I have something to compare this to.
First of all, we were treated like a bit of a hassle. As you can see from the A380 overview page I made, Business Class on this aircraft is in two sections. The forward section is pretty large, followed by a rear section with far fewer seats. We deliberately chose the smaller section as it was much less densely populated when we did our seat selection back in Melbourne. Our plan was to bother as few people as possible with our 15-month-old son.
We found the crew to be pretty rude and far from accommodating when it came to Clarrie. He’s a brilliant traveller and as a rough estimate, this would probably be around his 15th flight. He did get a little grumpy at the beginning stages of this hop and all we got from the crew were rude glares.
The cabin was reasonably empty, and many of our fellow passengers seemed to understand our situation. The forward (and immensely larger) Business cabin was just as empty- any passenger could have easily moved if they were that bothered. I would say the crew should have offered that to anyone who did seem disturbed.
The best we got was Elyse’s crew member offering to bring her meal a little later as she was trying to get Clarrie to sleep.
The initial safety information was extremely loud, which obviously didn’t help Elyse’s efforts in getting Clarrie to chill out and relax.
I know this sounds like an over-entitled rant (which it is), but I really feel like one of the biggest things about Business Class is the service. Getting to Europe for $1200 is a pretty sweet deal in Economy. Considering Business often costs four times that (or more), then I think a few smiles and the occasional help wouldn’t have gone astray.
Emirates Business Class meals
The meals were excellent – I had a pumpkin soup entree and a beef main.
Emirates Business Class entertainment system
The entertainment system was the same as First Class except with a slightly smaller screen (and obviously less privacy).
I watched “The End Of The Tour”. A really, really great film about David Foster Wallace. Sad too. I cried.
Jason Segel was exceptional in the role of Wallace, although I found Jesse Eisenberg pretty irritating as David Lipsky. I tend to find Eisenberg irritating in everything he’s in. Not sure why. I think maybe he’s a bit of an over-actor. But then again, this isn’t a movie review, so what do you care?
Being able to watch the camera feed from outside is pretty great too. I know that’s pretty standard these days, but todays flights are the first time I’ve encountered it.
Emirates Business Class bathroom
So, there’s no shower as in First Class, but there are a couple of bathrooms. These certainly seem bigger than Economy but are by no means a ‘room’. There’s enough space to do your business and that’s about it.
They do however have a window which is pretty cool. Doing a wee at 40,000 feet and looking out the window wasn’t something I really expected to do in this lifetime.
Emirates Business Class bar
The Emirates Business Class bar is the best part of this entire aeroplane. And not for the myriad of drinks and snacks on offer. Just having the opportunity to get up and roam around without having to walk up and down the aisles and through the galley is a fabulous freedom and not one I knew I wanted before.
For anyone travelling with a small child or two, the area is an excellent space to get away and change the scene.
It’s also great for people who want to have a conversation, as they can go to the bar without bothering anyone in the cabin. With many of these long haul flights in and out of hubs like Dubai, most passengers are on completely different time zones. While you and your travelling companion may want to have a few drinks and regale in the previous adventures of your trip, the people around you may just want a bit of a nap.
As you can see from the pictures, it wasn’t overly populated for much of the flight.
Overall thoughts on Emirates Business Class with a toddler
Flying Business Class with anyone is amazing- this just didn’t meet expectations. Without doubt, the crew had pretty much everything to do with our ill feeling, as all else was great. The meals, the seats, the screens and the bar area – all fabulous. And let’s not forget the window in the toilet.
Add to that the amazing Emirates Chauffeur Drive experience. Being picked up in Melbourne was great, but the best part of the adventure was being met by a driver in Rome and taken to the door of our apartment with zero hassle. I have written a more extensive piece of Emirates Chauffeur Drive which I welcome you to read also.
I hope one day to experience Emirates Business Class again and leave with a higher opinion.
And here I’ll leave you with a picture of us trying to entertain Clarrie as best we can with only 20 minutes left of the flight….. Yes, I have star stickers on my forehead….