Flying Jakarta to Gatwick via Dubai in 18 hours, Director sampled business class on the Emirates two aircraft types
When Emirates launched in 1985 it operated just two leased aircraft. Thirty-one years later from its base at Dubai’s Terminal 3 it now boasts a 250-strong fleet serving around the same number of destinations in 80 countries, including six UK airports.
Emirates flies mostly Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, making it the world’s largest operator of wide-bodied aircraft. On this journey Director got to experience both models – a three-class 777 (with first class out of use) was provided on the Jakarta-Dubai leg in place of the usual two-class version due to operational reasons.
The double-decker ‘super jumbo’ A380, meanwhile, is the workhorse of the Gatwick route (plus Manchester and Heathrow). Business class on both aircraft offered attentive crew, flat-bed seats, 1,800 channels of on-demand in-flight entertainment, an amenity kit and extensive dining menus.
It would be foolish not to compare the sheer size and space that the A380 offers to its smaller compatriot, but how does the whole experience fare?
Jakarta check-in and lounge
Check-in and immigration checks are swift with the choice of two third party-operated business class lounges. We chose the Premier – basic with lounge chairs, desks, hot and cold buffet, and few power points but a short walk through passport control to the gate and swift boarding. 7/10
Emirates Jakarta to Dubai (Boeing 777-300)
‘Angled lie-flat’ seats in business class are laid out in a two-three-two configuration. On this 12.40am departure, Director’s was a bulkhead aisle seat but the 60in pitch, 20.5in width plus the addition of a foldaway mattress topper (and complimentary champagne and snack) ensured a pleasant sleep. An omelette and fruit was served two hours before our spot-on 5.35am (local time) arrival. 9/10
At 1.17 million sqm, Dubai T3 is the world’s largest airport terminal. We arrived at Concourse B and after disembarking it took 30 minutes on foot and driverless train via security to Concourse A. Emirates’ modern business lounge offers an abundance of complimentary bars, buffets, dining and working areas. Lifts transport business class passengers via a glass gangway directly to the upper deck of the A380 for a 7.45am departure. 10/10
Emirates Dubai to Gatwick (A380)
The spacious cabin affords travellers a walnut-veneered 18in-wide seat boasting up to 48in pitch, which transforms into a flatbed (from 70-79in). Seats, in a one-two-one formation, have several lockers, three video screens (including a detachable tablet) and a drinks cabinet. The pièce de résistance is the large lounge bar at the rear. We couldn’t resist an invitation to pose behind it for a photo. Tom Cruise, eat your heart out. 10/10
With a meal of croissants and fruit served, we landed as scheduled at 12.25pm. A 10-minute walk to passport control and a 20-minute wait in line meant our priority-tagged hold luggage from Jakarta was waiting for us. After security we were met by a driver from Emirates Chauffeur-Drive, a free limo service for business class passengers for journeys up to 70 miles in the UK. 9/10
What the Jakarta lounge lacked, Emirates more than made up for. The chauffer service was a welcome bonus after so long in the air. 45/50
Emirates flight EK359 from Jakarta to Dubai connecting with Emirates flight EK15 from Dubai to Gatwick
Emirates offers business class flights from £2,343, including taxes