Airlines & Aviation
Emirates is one of several airlines plying the Bangkok – Hong Kong route. Emirates business class offers lie-flat seating, better food, and a lower staff to passenger ratio. There is also a pre-departure business class lounge at Suvarnabhumi AIrport. Is it worth the extra price?
After spending four weeks wintering in Thailand, it was time for me to migrate back to my home in Hong Kong.
For relatively short trips like this, I usually fly economy class. Because Emirates Airline was offering steeply discounted tickets on Business Class, however, I decided to give it a try.
Will it live up to my expectations?
The Pre-flight Experience at Suvarnabhumi Airport…
I was in such a hurry to get to the airport, check in, pass through security, and make my way to the Emirates Business Class Lounge that I arrived at the airport much too early.
There was a single line for early arrivals, but the check-in counters for Business Class and First Class passengers hadn’t opened yet. And the line was very long and slow-moving.
So I had about 40 minutes to waste.
Why the rush?
I had thoroughly enjoyed hanging out at the business class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport four weeks earlier.
I’ve written in-depth accounts of checking in and hanging out in the Business Class Lounges in Hong Kong and Bangkok – with lots of pix! You can check out my airport lounge and flight reviews at the following links …
- Emirates Airline’s Business Class Lounge in Hong Kong>>
- Emirates Airline’s Business Class Lounge in Bangkok>>
The Emirates Airbus A380-800…
Up to 525 passengers can be accommodated by the Airbus A380-800 in a three-class setup. As many as 853 passengers can be seated in the aircraft if there are only economy class seats.
Emirates operates three versions of the A380 with slightly different layouts. The version I flew on has more Business Class and fewer Economy Class seats than the other two versions of the aircraft.
First Class has individual suites with sliding doors. There is also a shower for First Class passengers.
Business Class has a staggered pattern with most seats having direct access to the aisle and a pair of seats down the centre. Economy Class is located entirely on the main deck of the aircraft.
Every seat is equipped with in-flight power and individual entertainment.
- First Class -14 closed suites with 86 inch pitch, 78-inch bed length, and 23-inch width in a 1-2-1 seat configuration.
- Business Class -76 flat-bed seats with 48-inch pitch, 70- to 79-inch bed length, and 18.5-inch width in a 1-2-1 seat configuration.
- Economy Class – 399 standard seats with 32- to 34-inch pitch and 18-inch width in a 3-4-3 seat configuration
Production to End in 2021
As the world’s biggest commercial airliner, the Airbus A380-800 is a double-decker four-engine jetliner manufactured by European plane maker Airbus.
Emirates was the second airline in the world to operate the Airbus A380-800 aircraft, which has 40% more usable floor space than a Boeing 747, the original Jumbo Jet, which is well past its sell-by date.
Owing to its relatively high level of fuel consumption, the Queen of the Skies, as the 747 was fondly known, is quickly being retired from service by airlines around the world.
Will the Airbus A380 suffer a similar fate?
When Emirates reduced its order of the aircraft in favour of smaller airplanes, Airbus announced that it would end production by plane in 2012.
The plane maker admits that it will never recover the cost that went into the development of the airplane.
The Stats …
- Flight Number: EK 384
- Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
- Scheduled Departure: 13.45 (1.45 pm)
- Scheduled Arrival: 17.30 (5.30 pm)
- Scheduled Flight Time: 3.15 hours
- Cruising Altitude: 40,000 feet
- Distance: 1,466 kilometres (910 miles)
The Business Class Cabin …
The cabin has a camel, beige, and cream colour scheme with dark chocolate accents.
Business Class has a stand-up bar at the back of the cabin, with a couple of seats.
The Seat in Emirates Business Class …
My seat was finished in leather. It had a 48-inch pitch, a 79-inch bed length, and an 18.5-inch width.
There was a console next to my seat with a small counter topped with a tablet and an open-face cabinet stocked with cans of Pepsi and 7-Up and bottles of Perrier, mango juice, and Evian water.
This was a nice touch except that the drinks were room temperature.
In an upright or a reclined position, I could extend my feet straight out without reaching the end the space.
I did find, however, that there was not enough elbow room on the left side when I was eating.
The entertainment screen was quite large. What I particularly liked was that Emirates is one of only a handful of airlines that has cameras so you can watch takeoffs and landings on your screen.
The Food in Emirates Business Class …
We were offered seasonal fruit as an appetizer, a choice entrees, and cheesecake for dessert.
The fruit bowl included watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya, jack fruit, and a lime wedge. I could have done without it.
For our main course, there were three choices: beef, chicken, and seafood.
I opted for the Beef Stroganoff. It was served with noodles, carrots, and string beans. It was only marginally better than the kind of in-flight meals served in Economy. The portions, however, were larger.
I was disappointed that the three courses in Emirates business class were served on the same tray. In Business Class, I would expect to be served course by course.
The Beverage …
We were served Moet et Chandon Grand Vintage 2009 before takeoff. I had to wait until dinner was served before being offered another beverage.
Dinner was accompanied by four wines, two reds and two whites:
- Down to Earth Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – Wratonbully, South Australia
- Chateau de Chamirey Mercury Blanc 2015 – Burgundy, France
- Chateau de Fonbel 2010 – Bordeaux, France
- Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz 2014 – Barossa Valley, Australia.
For dessert, we were offered …
- Dow’s Coheita Port 1992 – Douro Valley, Portugal
What I Loved …
The staff in Emirates business class was friendly and the seats were mosstly comfortable. I loved the amount of leg room. I especially liked the bar at the back of the plane. It gave me a chance to socialize with other passengers.
What I Hated …
First and business class passengers flying on Emirates business class out of Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok didn’t have a dedicated counter for early check-in, and the common line for early check-ins was very crowded.
The seat had zero elbow room for one arm.
The Verdict …
I don’t regret splashing out extra money to fly business class on Emirates Airline – especially since my ticket was deeply discounted.
It is, however, disappointing that business and first class passengers didn’t have a dedicated counter for early check-ins.
The meal service was disappointing. On a three hour flight, I see no reason why meals can’t be served to business class passengers course by course.
The seat was too narrow, and there was zero elbow room on one side.
Disclaimer: while this flight was entirely self-funded, this post contains affiliate links. If you should click on one of them and book a flight, I will receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.