Tash McGill got to fly to Melbourne on Emirates fancy double-decker A380 – and joined a Mile High Club, of sorts.
I’ve just spent six months zipping back and forth between Auckland and Melbourne for a variety of reasons; but never as luxuriously as I travelled on the new Emirates A380 service that launched last week! Whether you’re travelling for business, fashion, food or the special events that make Melbourne so exciting – this will make you seriously reconsider how you travel across the ditch.
The A380 is all about glamour and experience, the romantic nostalgic feeling of great palaces in the sky from Economy through to First Class. If you haven’t yet caught an A380, the first thing you’ll notice are the roomy ceiling heights, with sleek design for lighting the cabin that give you a feeling of spaciousness wherever you are. The push-up overhead bins disappearing into the ceiling rather than hanging over your head and the on-board entertainment features a seemingly endless channel listing.
Of course, for a plane geek like me – it’s all about the upper deck experience that Emirates have taken to a new level (excuse the pun!). Each business class seat includes the lie-flat feature, touch screen controls for just about everything, plenty of storage space and a large foldout table for working or dining. If you’re seated down the centre aisle you can raise or lower the privacy screen, depending on whether you’re travelling alone or with a partner.
But the real excitement starts after take-off when the crew transform a flying bar lounge at the back of the business class section – including top shelf spirits, wines, beer and a range of mixed drinks. The wheels went up and all across the cabin the click-clack of seatbelts signaled the bar was open and the bartender didn’t miss a beat. Bar snacks placed on countertops enticed the eye, and the comfy leather couches come complete with window views!
If you can’t imagine flying without the on-board entertainment and noise-cancelling headphones – you’ve got to try this. The A380 is already known for the ‘quiet ride’ on the top deck, but with all the socializing possibilities (or business networking) the 3 and a half hours to Melbourne zipped past. Our meal orders were taken at the bar and we returned to our seats only to eat, making the most of opportunities to talk and trade business cards.
There are a few experiences on my “plane-geek” bucket list yet to be achieved – but I can now boast successfully joining the Other Mile-High Club; yes, those of us who have taken a hot, restorative shower at 30,000ft prior to landing!
Emirates First Class Suites are equipped with sliding doors for privacy, multi-level light controls including on windowshades, a personal mini bar, in-built massage function in the seat and most importantly; the Emirates Shower Spa – a full size bathroom offering hot showers.
It’s genius! Just after departure, you can book the 30min slot that most suits you and the cabin crew will work in with your schedule for meals and other drinks services. When your booking is ready, you enter the bathroom replete with a selection of toiletry ranges, enormous white towels, hairdryer, perfume and every type of amenity you could imagine. The hot water will run (under your temperature control) for 5 mins from when it starts, leaving you plenty of time to shower, dress, moisturize with the delicious beauty products and feel incredibly pampered.
Although our return flight was just three hours, I wanted it to go on and on! Breakfast was cooked to order from an a la carte menu – I went for the scrambled eggs and grill, yum! The coffee was served in a genuine silver pot and the champagne (it’s First Class after all!) was vintage Dom Perignon.
Whilst possibly a little indulgent for your average flight across the ditch, all I could imagine was the incredible comfort and amazing feeling of landing after a long-haul flight clean and showered, well-rested and well-fed! Of course, it’s the long-haul travel that brings the Emirates A380 to Melbourne from Auckland, before it continues on to Dubai – the Emirates hub and a global gateway for the inspired traveller.
Tash McGill flew courtesy of Emirates to Melbourne, on the inaugural Auckland – Melbourne route.