Sunday, 22 April 2012

Emirates A380 V Boeing 777, First Class.

Manchester to Dubai on the A380.
When you fly with Emirates, either First Class or Business Class, you are picked up from hone by a Chauffeur Driven Car. As planned the Car arrived for us at 10.00 in the morning. it was a large black Mercedes. it was a very comfortable drive to Manchester Airport where we were dropped off at Terminal One and made our way to the check in desk. Check in was chance of an upgrade when your going first class! and we received our passes to the Lounge. Again this facility is for both First Class or Business Class passengers. It was just after 11.30 when we arrived in the  Emirates Lounge at Manchester Airport. The lounge is situated on the second floor of terminal one. It is bright, the windows along its length overlook the runway so you have a good view of the incoming and outgoing aircraft.
It was very busy, but retained a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. The interior decor is in true Emirates Style, a lot of gold, beige and brown tones. It is not old fashioned looking, but verges on it! At one end there is a large screen TV, with 24 hour news on. I do not know if you could change the channel.
The leather chairs and sofas are set out in small cosy groups, but most people bag the ones facing the windows to plane spot. The business centres with its computers was, busy with clients accessing Facebook and MSN. The lounge had free Wi-Fi. There are drinks stations all around offering all beverages from tea , coffee, and soft drinks to beer, spirits & champagne. Most people were having champagne. Magazine racks were well stocked with newspapers and magazines to help yourself to.
Food is served in a restaurant type area, however many people were eating in the more casual seating areas. Lunch was the choice, I don’t know why but because it was morning I had expected breakfast to be on offer!
The selection of cold starters looked very tempting; the soup was a Butternut one. The main courses were Fillet of Beef, A curry, Lancashire Hot Pot, a prawn dish, pasta and a vegetarian offering. I had the individual hot pot, and it would have been a good hot pot had it not been very salty. The desserts and cheese board were sensational. The toilets were clean and had shower facilities: dressing gowns and slippers included. All in all, fantastic! I have to say that the lounge was a real experience for me and I would recommend this to anyone, it really is a relaxing start to your travels. The choice and quality of food was good, and it saves you struggling trying to eat in a confined space offered in Economy class. It was the fastest 2 ½ hours I have ever spent at an Airport.
Then it was time to board the A380, due to the Skywalks we did not have to go up the stairs, but entered the First Class Cabin from the Sky Bridge. 
The first thing I noticed was the space, no over head lockers here, so that makes the cabin look very roomy. There was only the two of us in the First Class cabin! We were offered Champagne as soon as we sat down. then we were shown how to work the seats, the TV and the doors to the Suite, the control is quite complicated and I appreciated the tutorial. we were offered Canapes, both hot and cold ( I was full from the food in the lounge!).
The Flight is the 13.30 out of Manchester arriving in Dubai at just after midnight. We were given the slippers, eye shades, a writing set, and a leather amenity kit. But best of all was the basket of goodies, Toblerone, Pringles, Mars Bar etc. I also loved the large TV, I had a window seat but due to the curve of the aircraft couldn't really see out, but, with the large TV screen and 3 cameras to choose from this was not a problem .
Once airborne we were informed that it was 'Dining on Demand', so we were handed a large menu and told we could have what we wanted, when we wanted it! Now, having only ever been in economy before this is really odd! But, I soon opted to try the Iranian Caviar, just to go with the Champers!!  and it was just as good as it looked.
Then it was time to go and have a shower. There are two shower rooms on the A380, both have underfloor heating. You have to book your time slot to use the shower. but as we were the only ones in First Class, we could go when we wanted to.
All the toiletries and towels are provided, as is a hair dryer. You get water for a five minuet shower and this is OK. You can watch your time count down on a timer. By this time it was time to land, and all to soon the flight was over.
We waited in the lounge at Dubai airport, again the food and drinks provided were good and there was also a Spa facility to use, I had a very good manicure as part of my package.
Boeing 777 First Class. Dubai-Bangkok-Sydney-Christchurch.
Boarding the Boeing at Dubai Airport was rather haphazard with no special boarding for different classes of passengers, just a free for all. But, once on board, the aircraft looked the same as the A380.  A very spacious First Class area. On this leg we were given Emirates Pyjamas as well as the slippers etc. The goodies basket was the same, as was the layout of the first class suite. I now had got the hang of the 'Dine on Demand', and choose my meals from the large menu. I loved the fact I could just have a nice soup, with fresh bread and a salad, all served on fine white china, it was great!
I made my seat into a bed once we left Bangkok, there was a seat liner, real pillows and a duvet to ensure comfort and I slept until woken as we approached Sydney.
Coming home we were on the A380 all the way from Auckland -Sydney-Dubai-Manchester. This flight was full all the way home. As well as the usual goodies we were given an Emirates bag to hold the towel, PJ's, slippers, amenity bag etc.  I had the best breakfast I have ever had on a flight as we came into Dubai.
So! to compare the aircraft, well in First Class the cabins and seats of both are fitted out in the same way, with First Class Suites in both aircraft, you really can not tell the difference. The A380 has more seats than the 777. On the A380 you do have the use of the bar and the Bathroom with the shower. But the experience was fantastic on both aircraft and what I liked best was having a china mug of real tea whenever I wanted it! Now its back in Economy for me!