Welcome to my first trip report of 2023!
This is my ride: A6-EOD. One of the 9 A380s in the fleet to feature this special livery (Journey to the Future)
Flying with Emirates is not new to me, the last time I flew with this airline was on the same route: SIN-DXB-LHR and return and that happened 11 years ago. This is a good time to catch up on how different this airline is back then and comparing with now. Initially I wanted to experience both the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A380 on this trip, however the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft scheduled on the EK353 flight (SIN-DXB) was changed to the A380, that means I get to enjoy 4 A380 flights. The good news is that I will be flying on 2 different configured A380. The A380 aircraft on my return flights has the Premium Economy Class installed in them. The airfare of that class is too expensive for my liking so next time perhaps when it is more affordable. This would be my 10th flight with this airline, I had previously flown on the airline's Airbus A380 (A6-EDR and EDT), both are currently parked, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-300 (A6-EMM, A6-EMN and A6-EMT) and Boeing 777-300ER (A6-EGD). This means I would have at least 2 new registration (aircraft) added to my flight logbook.
Booking with this airline
The interface on the airline's website is easy to use and I used it to do my booking.
The airline has 7 different types of configuration for the A380, I would have flown on 3 different configured A380 by the end of the trip. The return flights (LHR-DXB-SIN) were operated by the 4-class A380 which includes the newest product for the airline, the Premium Economy Class. More information of the different types of the A380 configuration will be on my next blog post (Part 2).
Once I decided on the dates, I went ahead to do the booking.
The airline's mobile app was not bad except that I have to refresh twice whenver I reached the page to access the seat map. Other than that I was able to use it without any issues. I am quite impressed that you are able to access the menu of your meals for your flight and also what kind of expectation I should have for my upcoming flights.
Initially I choose 46A for my seat but ended up choose an aisle seat since it was a night flight, you can't get much view anyway. Do note that due to the design of the aircraft, the first few rows would follow the direction of the curvity of the aircraft fuselage and that may be a problem for the passenger sitting on the aisle, as there would be passengers walking past to access the toilet.
(Photo by aerolopa.com)
My original seat
I was impressed with the feature which allows you to have a look how the cabin surrounding looks like on your flight.
The oveview of your booking allows you to do the following features (shown below).
What's available on the IFE system?
Overall I am impressed with both the mobile and website. Making changes is now easier but at a cost especially if you booking the cheapest class such as the Economy Light. The price I paid for this wasn't considered cheap as I booked it about a couple of months before the date of departure.
A lot have changed during these 11 years as technology advanced with the major airlines keeping up to date to ensure they are doing their very best to snatch as much business as they can from the fiercest rivals. Emirates have expanded a lot even during the early 2000s. With a strong fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER, the airline has no issues deploying especially the Whale jet on key routes and fortunately for the airline, the market of aviation has recovered from the dreadful Covid virus which hit the world in 2020 which means the capacity of the fleet helps the airline gain back profit. No one was expecting the recovery to happen soon.
On my 4th report on Emirates (DXB-SIN), I will give an overall review on my flight experience with Emirates and conclusion plus a comparison between flying with this airline now and back in 2011. So stay tuned for that!
On the day of departure
I took the train from Pasir Ris to Changi Airport, with a stop-over at Tanah Merah.
Once you reached Changi Airport station, you can access to both Terminal 2 and 3. To get to Terminal 1, you can either walk to Jewel from either Terminal 2 or 3 to get there or take the skytrain from either terminal 2 or 3. For Terminal 4, you have to take the shuttle bus from any of the terminals. This is not exactly convenient if you ask me. I know many like Changi Airport because of the facilities but there are some aspects of the airport which makes me less impressed such as the public convenience to access or leave the airport for town. I could go on about it but I think I will leave it as it is.
This is terminal 3
You can connect to the MRT station and also walk over to teminal 2 from here. (Below)
This terminal is also connected to Jewel, do remember to come early and plan accordingly to prevent yourself from missing your flight.
Jewel is like another shopping mall with eateries and those common names you find in a regular popular mall.
This is the popular Birds of Paradise ice cream outlet which is very popular for its cone.
This is the cone, unfortunately the size has shrunk. It used to be bigger but no complaints since the price remained the same.
After enjoying the ice cream, I walked around a bit more.
I did my check-in over here, at the early check-in counter. The staff seemed quite reluctant to help me, he asked me to go over to another machine to check in instead of the one he was at.
I checked in to get my boarding pass before proceeding on to get my baggage tag before checking my baggage in.
Selection of seat was possible at the check-in if you haven't paid for the seats. Usually it will pre-select for you during the time of check-in, but you can change it for free.
Once that was done, I went over to the machine to do my check-in.
I had some Thai food, this is the beef noodles in Thai style.
The famous HSBC Rain Vortex
After seeing my partner off, I went to the air side.
With the help of Flighty, I was able to keep track of the status of my flight.
This is how an aviation geek's phone looks like (Below)
I spotted my aircraft at the caetus garden.
I did a check on my aircraft's progress.
Flighty also offers very good update on your flight details, including the registration of your aircraft. So far it has been 80% accurate, that's not too bad.
With Apple's airtag, I was able to track my luggage.
Time to board!
It turned out to be a full flight. How Emirates is able to sustain such a healthy load on DXB-SIN in addition to the 5th freedom flights to Australia is really amazing.
My ride: A6-EOD (8 + years old)
Delivered: December 2014
Configuration: F14 C76 Y401
168th A380 built
Built in Toulouse
Photo: Tianyi Liu
Flight route: SIN-DXB
Date of departure: 22nd May 2023
Aircraft registration: A6-EOD (Journey to the Future livery)
Seat: 50C (Aisle seat)
Doors closed at 0044
Pushed back: 0048
Take off: 0111
Flight duration: 7 hours
Actual flight time: 6 hours 58 minutes
Schedule arrival: 0415
Actual arrival: 0408
Departure runway: 20L
Arrival runway: 12L
Arrival gate: C21
My flight experience
This turned out to be a full flight, I was glad to choose the aisle seat. My seat mate wanted to change with me because she told me she would need to use the lavatory a few times but I wasn't prepare to squeeze myself between 2 seat mates so I had to turn her down. Boarding started early as expected and the process was smooth and quick. We were grouped according to zones and it was an efficient way to get everyone boarded quickly. Of course there would be some others trying to board when it was not their turn, but the staff sorted it out. Once on board, it was a complete full house but it wasn't that bad in terms of space.
I was on the older Economy Class product and nothing spectacular about it. Was it comfortable? It was ok, nothing special about it. Anyway, I would compare it with the new Y class seats on the return journey to share with you which one is better. What I like about the last row of the Economy Class cabin of each section is that you are still able to recline the seat and no one would be affected especially during meal times. Only thing bad is it is closed to either the lavatory or the cabin crew's work station.
The flight went past quickly and it was a smooth flight for most parts of it. What is amazing about this flight is how quiet the A380 is during take off and cruising, making it more comfortable to fly on compare to the likes of Boeing 777 and 787. What was disappointing was that the Wi-Fi wasn't working and the IFE system on the screen was very much lack of privacy as everyone would be able to see what programmes you are able to watch, but it is not like as if you have something to hide.
Another observation I noted was the mixture of nationalities on board my flight, consisting of crew coming from 19 different countries which doesn't give me the national identity of this airline. Apart from the Arabic and English announcement, I feel the airline is lacking of it. Therefore I am not surprised about the service being below par on my flight. Some of the crew seemed to be more concentrated on their work and forgetting the smiles when the passengers walked past them. The warmth and frierndliness from the crew was definately lacking at least at my section of the cabin.
The meals served were not bad and flying this period was great but things seemed to be back to normal as there isn't any need to wear mask on board and also the portion of the food seems to be the same as before the covid period.
Economy Class photos
The front staircase leading to the premium class.
The bulkhead row offers great legroom space.
This is row 50. Choosing the window seat is not a bad thing as you can lean your head onto the wall of the partition, letting you use it as a form of support when you intend to sleep.
This Economy Class is configured in 3-4-3 which is not too bad in terms of width size.
Everyone was settling down at this point of time.
I was able to take a few more photos of my seat row before my seat mates arrived.
The IFE system is quite impressive.
This aircraft also features the mood lighting which makes the atmosphere of the cabin quite comfortable.
My thoughts on the Economy Class product
The comfort of the seats may not be the best but it comes with a great entertainment system that keeps you entertained no matter how long your flight is. The choices of programmes is absolutely amazing and what I really like about it is the camera view of the outside is available for us to view and I often use it during take off and landing. Even though I sat near the lavatory, with my earphones on, I wasn't affected by the sound of the flushing system.
What does the airline offer for the Economy Class passengers?
A good In-Flight Entertainment system
Earphone set - quality is ok
The camera view at the nose gear
Legroom space for a 6 foot 4 is reasonable.
The safety card of the aircraft
In-Flight Entertainment system
The ICE system (Information, connectivity and Entertainment)
There is even information details of your flight including the registration of the aircraft. This is impressive.
You can use either remote or the touchscreen of your monitor to control the contents on the IFE system. Personally I feel, the remote is not neccesary especially the monitor screen is just in front of you.
A lot of movie contents to choose from and this is a winner!
The safety video was being played. First in Arabic language then in English.
With the camera, you can see angles from the aircraft which is not possible to see from your window seat.
Wi-Fi was supposed to be available but not on my aircraft, it was probably not working.
This is usually a 7 hours flight.
Live TV is also available.
My thoughts on the IFE System
I am amazed with the amount of effort put in to keep the passengers entertainment. While I find the interface of the system quite dull, but it has what it is, to provide as much entertainment available for all kinds of passengers so for that, I have to give credits to the airline management.
As this was an early morning departure AKA red-eye flight, small snack meal was served first before breakfast.
The menu is available online, so you can consider what to have in advance.
I choose the toasted sandwich with cheese for the snack with my favourite gingle ale drink.
This was light, not too heavy. After the meal, I was able to catch some sleep before the breakfast was served. The timing of the meals contributed to the passengers was good.
For the breakfast, I chose the cheese omelette. It was ok, nothing special about it. It comes with a good amount of side dishes which made me quite full. I am quite happy with the amount of food given to each Economy Class passenger.
Like I mentioned earlier, the lack of national identity is a downside of flying with any of the middle-eastern airlines. Not blaming the airlines as their ambition is to be the top airline in the world and hiring local crew only would not be enough to allow themselves to expand as much as their current network is today and they rely heavily on hiring cabin crew from many countries. Some of the crew on my flight were friendly while they are some that were reserved and comparing the service with other major airlines like ANA, EVA Air, British Airways, United Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines..etc, it doesn't feel the same.
Other parts of the aircraft
Flying from the first cabin of the front of the aircraft would allow you to see the cockpit (bits of it) when the door is opened. The cockpit door is usually opened before departure as the cabin and flight crew need to communicate with one another.
The interior of the toilet near the cockpit.
Since I was sitting at the aisle seat and the flight took place during the dark, so no window shot photos for this flight.
It was nice to be back in Dubai Airport after 12 years. The airport offers complimentarty Wi-FI which can used as long as you like.
The summary of my flight (Flightradar24)
Overall, I enjoyed the flight, to fly on the A380 again was definitely thrilling. When the Covid period was on going, few of us would expect the return of the A380. For Emirates, it would be a huge loss for them if they remove this aircraft type from their fleet. Fortunately, the return of the demand of travel came back and airlines are looking for capacity to match the boosts of the demands so for Emirates, the return of the grounded A380 helps a lot to bring the profits back to the airline. The CEO has mentioned that the A380 would continue to fly and would be retired from 2035 onwards, so if you have a chance to fly on one, you have at least 10 years to do so.
Website/Mobile app: 4/5
Airport On-Ground Service: 3/5
In-Flight Service: 3/5
In-Flight Entertainment System: 4/5
Seat comfort: 3/5
Cabin Ambiance: 4/5
Cabin condition: 4.5/5
In-Flight Meal: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 39/50
Verdict: Not bad!
There are definitely changes between 2012 and 2023 in regards to air travel and this is important as the competition between themselves and their rivals are getting fiercer and even the smaller airlines are trying to break up the competition by introducting a competitive product both on ground on in-flight to try to lure the regulars of the top airlines to fly their airlines. Good competition means we can expect more competitive airfares and better products.
Even with the lack of national identity, I think the airline has posed a threat anywhere they fly to as they offer a good Economy Class product with their Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER. I won't vote the airline for having the best product but they are certainly up even if they are just in the 3-star Skytrax group. The general public often vote with their wallets as they rather spend more of their holiday expenditure on their travelling.
I was lucky enough to fly on one of the A380s in the special livery scheme, it's not everytime you get this lucky.
For my next trip report (Emirates DXB-LHR), click here.
You can check out my Emirates 2011 trip report over here.
Thanks for reading!