We flew four sectors in Emirates economy recently – Manchester to Dubai, Dubai to Perth, Brisbane to Dubai, and finally, Dubai to London.

Emirates is the state owned UAE airline and is now the fourth largest in the world. They pioneered the “hub” concept, flying almost all of their passengers to their hub at the impressive Dubai International Airport and on to their final destination. They are the world’s largest operators of the Airbus A380 super jumbo, and all our flights were on this aircraft type. They have a reputation for excellent service.


Both our check ins, at Manchester and Brisbane, were smooth and painless, with plenty of staff on the desks. You get a generous 32KG hold luggage allowance with Emirates, so we didn’t have to skimp on the packing.

In Manchester, we paid a hefty £160 to visit the Emirates Lounge – economy passengers can pay, business class and above get the lounge free. The lounge at Manchester is spacious and there was plenty of food and drink to choose from, but it’s not as luxurious as I was expecting.

Boarding was also straightforward, as the aircraft was boarded by zones, using letters printed on the boarding cards. For all our flights, we were located downstairs, towards the rear of the aircraft.


On every seat, we found a blanket, a pillow, some headphones and a goody bag containing toothbrush and paste, ear plugs, an eye mask and some slippers.

The seats themselves were wide enough, leg room just good enough and there was a reasonable recline. But I found them a little too firm, and ended up with a sore backside after several hours of flying. The headrests are good, and you can adjust them for height and also pull in “wings” to keep your head straight while asleep.

In flight entertainment

The IFE in Emirates is legendary and is superb. It worked faultlessly, there were hundreds of films and TV shows to enjoy, and the screens, even in economy, are the best I have ever seen. There are also dozens of games available, and you can even play against other people in the aircraft. The information system is also superb, giving you great graphics on your journey, and a choice of cameras to enjoy the view outside.

There is also decent internet availability in flight – a “free” package for all, with limited bandwidth, and a paid option for those who want fully functioning internet.

You’ll never be bored on an Emirates flight!

Food and Drinks

I was disappointed on all four flights that the first “trolley run” didn’t reach us until between 1.5 and 2 hours into the flights. Of course, it was easy to press the call button and order a drink, but I always feel slightly awkward doing so.

Emirates carry a great selection of wines and spirits, and these are all included for economy passengers.

The food is good by airline standards and served with proper cutlery, although the glasses were plastic. On all four flights, we had a main meal about two hours in, and a lighter meal at about 1.5 hours to touchdown. The food was hot and there was plenty of it.

General drinks service was a bit hit and miss. On one flight, the attendants came around regularly with water and juice, but on another, we had to call them to stay hydrated.


There are plenty of washrooms on A380’s and at no time did we have to queue. They were also always spotless. and quite spacious. Emirates put eau de cologne in their washrooms, and it was very pleasant to have a wash, clean my teeth and come out smelling fresh.

All four flights took off and landed on time, and with the exception of the hard seats, the whole experience was excellent and felt a cut above the usual economy service on long haul from many airlines.

Read about our layover in the Dubai International Hotel.