Route: HONG KONG (HKG) to BANGKOK (BKK)
Flight number: EK385 (ICAO callsign: “Emirates 385”)
Flight duration: 2 Hours, 55 Minutes
Date and time: February 2011, 21:15pm (local time in Hong Kong)
Class: BUSINESS CLASS
Aircraft type: Airbus A380-800 (SUPERJUMBO)
The Airbus A380-800, dubbed the super-jumbo, is just sensational compared to; say the (now former) jumbo-jet of the skies, the legendary Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Emirates was the second airline to operate the A380-800 aircraft with 14 aircraft currently in service and 76 aircraft on order. As a keen aviation enthusiast I still find it hard to swallow that such a huge piece of metal tube can run along for 2 miles and fly half way across the world while carrying so much luggage, so many people, so much food, so much garbage and tons of fuel. It’s a shame that even in today’s day in age the vast majority of passengers have no idea what kind of aircraft they are flying on. All they want is plenty of legroom, excellent quality of food while they get from A to B in comfort. This aircraft had 535 seats in a 3 class configuration (First, Business and Economy), though the plane has the ability to accommodate a staggering 853 passengers in an all Economy Class configuration (though no airline has ordered this yet).
Punctuality of the flight:
Very efficient. The Airbus A380-800 aircraft has a special gate allocated at Hong Kong airport, which allows passengers to board quickly, smoothly and efficiently on both decks of the aircraft.
Any baggage issues:
None. On Emirates Business Class passengers can carry a maximum of two luggage bags totalling 40KG in the hold.
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
The check-in staff at the Hong Kong airport were very professional, proactive and efficient.
Comments on the Emirates Lounge:
The Emirates airline lounge used by First and Business Class passengers is located on the 2nd floor after security and just a comfortable 2 minute walk to the gates where Emirates airlines park their aircraft at Hong Kong.
In true Emirates style that resembles the colourful ambiance of the desert region of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), complete with beautiful colours of beige, red and green (representing the national flag of the U.A.E.). As a show of respect and affection for Sheikh Mohammed, and for his fondness of horses, there is a large bronze statue of horses. In fact, you’ll find similar bronze statues of horses in every Emirates lounge around the world. The entire cutlery in the lounge is made from bone china in the U.A.E. by the R.A.K group, and imported especially to Hong Kong for the Emirates lounge.
Complimentary access to the internet, showers with designer toiletries to freshen up before a flight, an electronic massage chair and a lavish display of luxury snacks and main course dishes along with all kinds of wines, spirits and drinks are offered. It’s so good that you may even end up going to sleep here if you get carried away!
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
The award winning cuisine and service commenced even before we set off the ground, consisted of the following:
Drinks of Champagne (Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV) freshly squeezed orange juice and apple juice was offered prior to take-off. Hot towels for refreshment were also offered prior to take-off
A selection of fine white and red wines was offered. I went for the red wine (Torbreck Old Vines GSM 2005 from the Barossa Valley) and the Chateau St. Georges 2002 from the St. Emilion selection of wines. Both had an exceedingly good length that had an elegant and friendly touch to the tongue. One can easily taste the plentiful of succulent seasonal fruits lingering at the back of the mouth as one sipped a lovely glass. At first, a slightly spicy oak tends to dominate the aroma profile. The flavour than rigoursly drives through and widens on the middle palate, delivering a clear, clean complex finish.
A choice of various appetisers consisted of:
· Lobster Medallions (accompanied with balik tartar and caviar that was generously garnished with lime wedge),
· Noya Duck (roast duck breast glazed with plum sauce, served with a sliced pear and potato salad).
I went for the lobster medallions. A tantalising touch to the tongue where one can feel the smoothness of the caviar flavoured in with a neat dash of lime. To have the luxury of caviar on any flight is just a delight, but on Emirates it was a sensational feeling when washed down with a glass of fine Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV.
Comments regarding the first meal:
There were three choices provided for the main course meal consisting of:
· Oriental Lamb Curry served with briyani rice, sautéed okra and paneer mahkani,
· Stir-fried Chicken with Cashews accompanied with soya and vegetable Sauce, served with steamed rice, pak choy and Chinese mushrooms,
· Steamed Fillet of Salmon with wasabi sauce, kaffir lime and celery, served with boiled new potatoes, turned carrots and broccoli.
I had ordered a special meal for this flight (Asian vegetarian). Even though the special meal was scrumptious, I do, however, wish I had not ordered it because the normal three options looked equally tempting to tuck into.
The Asian vegetarian meal consisted of a starter traditional north Indian saag paneer with a small roti (Indian chapatti bread) and some raita (Indian sweet and sour yogurt). For desert I had 3 balls of rasgula which were incredibly delicious! As far as the provision of Indian food during an in-flight meal, Emirates provide an above average standard taste and experience. With strongly flavoured cuisine such as Indian food, it is always best to provide a meal that is nothing but more than just fresh because it has the high expectation from the passengers’, and the flavour has to be fresh as well.
Another positive factor of this meal was that it was neither oily, spicy nor salty but just at the right medium taste that caters for everyone. For those that preferred a slightly spicy flavour, a traditional Indian pickle was provided as an added delight. During the meal service a bread basket was offered that contained a variety of soft and hard breads’.
For dessert there was the red bean cake (Chinese pudding garnished with mango puree and fruit). Because I had ordered the Asian vegetarian option so I was provided with a traditional Indian desert of rasgula (sweet white balls made of wheat and dipped into a generous amount of syrup).
Comments regarding the in-flight snacks (if any):
The on-board lounge: a sensational Airbus A380 experience on EMIRATES
Hot and cold snacks offered in the on-board lounge included:
· Feuillete of parmesan cheese straws
· Marinated kalamata olives
· Salty nut selection
· Assorted cocktail sandwiches of mini salmon bagel, laugen pretzel with air dried beef and cheese mille-feuille
· Japanese crisps
· Nachos and cheese dips
· Hot snacks offered:
· Tandoori chicken pizza
· Prawn satey skewes
· Mediterranean vegetable quiche
· A free flow of drinks and appetisers, snacks were available in the social bar.
· Fresh fruit slices.
In the on-board lounge there were a selection of beers, cocktails’, spirits’, champagne port, wines and various liqueurs. Snack food consisting of canapés, various nuts, pastries and cute little sandwiches were also offered. A generous layout of international cheese selection (always a favourite) was displayed in the social bar area. Irresistible chocolates provided by Godiva were accompanied with either tea (green tea or black tea), or freshly brewed coffee. You just can’t beat having a freshly brewed coffee at 37,000 feet. As with the typical Emirates service a huge plate full of traditional and exotic fresh fruits was available to tuck into as well.
On the Airbus A380-800, Emirates provide every Business and First Class seat with a personal mini-bar consisting of the following drinks: tomato juice, coca-cola can, cranberry juice, sprite can and mineral water (sparkling).
Comments regarding the second meal (if any):
None. This was a short hop across the waters from the most happening part of greater China to the most happening place in south-east Asia.
Comments on the in-flight system (if any):
The Emirates ICE (Information, Communication and Entertainment) touch screen system is the main platform used for providing a truly first-class in-flight entertainment to passengers with over 1,200 channels which YOU control with the flick of a button. Effectively there are enough movies and music to keep one busy throughout the flight and in actual fact there is something for everyone from the latest PC console games to the latest movies from the world’s cinemas. The ICE programme is perhaps one of the best I have seen on any flight and far more efficient and sophisticated then some other airline companies have to offer. In the First and Business Class cabins, HUGE 17-inch flat screens are used. With the communication programme you can send an e-mail, SMS and use the phone anywhere around the world.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
Special thanks go to Captain Dwayne Malone and First Officer Amos Desanker for this short haul flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok. Captain Malone was kind enough to give me a short tour of his enormous office. Both the take-off and landing phases were very smooth. The aircraft was exceedingly quiet (could hardly know that we had taken off from Hong Kong)! The aircraft is also remarkably quiet even during the cruise. This is very much true because unlike on most other aircraft where passengers have to talk loud because of the noise of the pressurised cabin and the engines in the background, with the Airbus A380-800 it feels like you are talking to someone at ground level rather than at 37,000 feet! It feels rather like sitting inside a high-speed train, except that the high-speed train has the occasional sound of the horn and the plane does not.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
The Airbus A380-800 has a 1-2-1 configuration for the First Class cabins (known as Suites, each of which comes with an 86-inch flat bed), 2-2-2 configuration for the Business Class cabins (each seat with a 79-inch flat-bed), and 3-4-3 Configuration for the Economy lass cabins (each with an 6-inch recline). All of the Business Class seats can be turned into a 79-inch flat bed. In the Business Class cabin, the added feature of a mini-bar for all Business and First Class seats in the Airbus A380-800 aircraft brings along a nice touch, but tends to take up some of the space that could be used to make the seat a bit wider. In essence a Business Class seat on Emirates is effectively equal to one that may be ranked as a First Class seat on some other airlines (no names mentioned!). Though this was a rather short flight but the electronic in-seat built massage system is very helpful to help with blood circulation and also with fighting fatigue.
On the Airbus A380-800 each seat has an independent access to the aisle, an in-seat power supply for laptop or mobile phones (which you can use on-board on some flights), and a personal storage area. This is useful especially for those passengers who would be, say for example, going straight back to the office after they arrive at their destination (like me!). After all, Business Class is made essentially for those on a business trip (“Business is for business” as they say!).
The A380 features a bulb less illumination system, which is known as “mood-lighting” in non-technical terms. LEDs are deployed in the cabin, cockpit and cargo areas. The cabin lighting features programmable multi-spectral LEDs capable of creating a cabin ambiance that simulates daylight, night, or the various levels in between depending on the time of the day/night. On the outside of the aircraft, HID lighting is used for brighter, whiter illumination. The mood lighting displayed by Emirates inside all of their cabins during the various phases of the flight (bright orange during sunrise and dusk, and dark shades of blue during the cruise at night-time) is a sensational piece of art and not just technology being applied.
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 10
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
Watch exclusive videos below taken in the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER in-flight over Chinese Airspace.
Special thanks goes to
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 2
Proud media partner of QATAR AIRWAYS