I was lucky enough to win a Beachcomber competition for a place on an Emirates A380 Experience at Manchester Airport in September.

I met Caroline Chadwick, Regional Sales Manager at Beachcomber Tours for the North of England, and Rob Spencer, Senior Sales Executive at Emirates for the North West in Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport together with a few other travel agents who had also secured places.

After an overview of the check-in operation and ticket desk we visited security to collect our temporary passes and headed airside.

We walked through departures, along Pier B to Gate 12, which is specially equipped to service A380 aircraft with two airbridge access points.

Our timing was impeccable, as we arrived at the gate, one of the crew waved us through to board Emirates EK17.

This Airbus A380-800 had three classes, we started with economy class which has 399 standard seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. The seat width is 18.0 and pitch 32-34 which is very comfortable and spacious and the ICE entertainment system has an extensive choice to keep passengers occupied during the flight. Economy is split into 4 sections divided by toilets or galley in the main cabin.

We walked through the aircraft to climb the spiral staircase at the rear, this was the first time I have ever been to the upper deck and I liked it!

I was very impressed with Business Class, there are 76 flat bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, there’s a small section with 5 rows by the bar, and then the remainder of seats together in a larger area. The seat width is 18.5 and pitch / bed length 48/70-79. For couples seats E&F are popular in the middle, and for parents with young children row 22 & 6 have seats D&G with bassinets available.

Finally, it was time to see how the other half travel in First Class! The 14 closed suites are configured as 1-2-1, so if travelling as a couple there are 3 rows with two suites together in the middle of the aircraft, you can choose to lower your divider if you’re feeling sociable. Families tend to take a row of 4 across, although it is staggered. The seat width is 23.0 and pitch / bed length is 86/78. The shower/spa facility is popular, each first class passenger can reserve time to freshen up during the flight.
Emirates A380 First Class Suite.jpg Personally I found First Class a little ostentatious, I’m not one for gold trimmings. I definitely aspire to travel Business Class when possible in the future, and of course if I was offered the opportunity to experience First Class I’d be there in a heartbeat.

The second half of our tour was a lunch invitation in the exclusive Emirates lounge.

First Class or Business Class travellers are welcome to use the Emirates lounges as well as Emirates Skywards Platinum or Gold members. Access is denied to everyone else, you cannot buy a lounge pass.

The Emirates Lounge at Manchester is floor to ceiling glass overlooking the apron and runway. There’s a quiet section for anyone catching up on work or reading, and a TV lounge for entertainment.

The restaurant has a selection of hot and cold food on offer with a full bar service including a full fridge of Veuve Clicquot champagne. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch, the two types of curry that I tried were stunning.

Before we left we watched EK17 push off from Gate 12 and depart for Dubai, it dwarfed all other the aircraft.

The History of Emirates

Established 25 October 1985
Currently serves 150 destination in 80 countries
Hub is Dubai in the United Arab Emirates

Emirates Services from the UK

6 daily flights from Heathrow
3 daily flights from Gatwick
3 daily flights from Manchester
3 daily flights from Birmingham
2 daily flights from Glasgow
Daily service from Newcastle

Aircraft Type

Emirates operate 1 x B777-300ER and a 2 x A380 wide bodies aircraft on its services from Manchester to Dubai
Lunchtime A380; 527 seats (427 economy, 76 business and 14 first class), on board premium lounge and 2 shower spas
Evening A380; 615 seats(557 economy and 58 business class), on board premium lounge for business class customers
The A380 is the largest commercial airliner in the skies

Baggage Allowance

Emirates offer passengers a generous baggage allowance of:
30KGS – Economy class
40KGS – Business class
50KGS – First class

Useful facts

Quick and easy connections in Dubai Terminal 3
Stopover options when flying to Australia and New Zealand

Dedicated check-in area, located in Terminal 1
Emirates representation throughout
Check in closes 60 minutes before departure to ensure on time departure
Manchester is one of six UK departure points
Flying time to DXB – Approximately 7 hrs
Only 20% of passengers terminate at DXB, majority travel onwards
Dedicated check in area for First class, Business class and Skywards Platinum, Gold and Silver members.
On line check in – user friendly, 48hrs/2hrs max/min
Chauffeur Drive available for all Business and First Class passengers – 70 mile radius (must be added to the booking no later than 72 hours prior to departure).