Flight test: This is what it’s like to fly in the best Business Class

If you’re an aviation lover, this flight is probably at the top of your bucket list: Business Class on the Emirates A380.

Because? The A380 is the largest passenger plane on the planetand if you’ve ever been lucky enough to fly in one, you’ll notice two stairs at the front and back of the Economy cabin.

I call them the stairs to heaven because at the top are Emirates Business and First Class, two of the best seats in heaven.

Emirates’ A380 also houses the famous Business Class flight bar, putting it well ahead of any other airline flying to and from New Zealand.

So I went upstairs to try everything and this is what happened.

The route

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The famous A380 Business Class VIP lounge.

Dubai to Christchurch, with a stopover in Sydney. The A380 also flies direct from Auckland to Dubai.

The living room

Emirates has three huge Business Class lounges in Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, and entry is free with a Business Class ticket.

I tried the lounge in Concourse B, which is impressive. Inside there is a Costa café, as well as multiple buffets, a healthy eating centre, a Moët & Chandon champagne bar with matching canapes, an ice cream cart, plenty of showers and quiet spaces to relax.

The plane

A five-year-old A380. Emirates has 116 of the superjumbos.

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Our seats, the middle one, are perfect for couples traveling together.

The seat

The entire upper deck of the A380 is Business and First Class.

We are seated in row 25, near the back of the cabin, next to the onboard waiting room.

If there are two of you, the middle rows are a great option. There is a privacy screen that you can retract, meaning you can chat with your neighbor.

If you are traveling alone, I recommend opting for a window seat as it offers the most privacy.

A tip for beginners: avoid the last seat in the cabin. If the bar is full, it can get a little loud. To avoid this, select your seat in advance and move as far forward as possible.

time in the air

The flight from Dubai to Sydney is scheduled to take 13 hours and 40 minutes, although the actual flight time is faster at 13 hours and eight minutes. For the short hop from Sydney to Christchurch, we’re only two hours and 39 minutes in the air.


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My fried beef tenderloin for lunch.

Like most things, Emirates leads the game here. The screen is 23 inches wide and its ICE (Information, Connectivity and Entertainment) system has more than 6,500 options between movies, TV shows, music, live TV, audiobooks and much more. You can also connect to the Internet, but it has an additional cost.


Exceptional. Luckily, it is a long flight, because the food and drink menu is extensive and takes about 10 minutes to digest. I don’t drink alcohol and am pleased to see a considerable selection of non-alcoholic options, including nutrient-rich “vitality-boosting” beverages. Don’t miss one of these if you’re feeling a little jet lagged.

My three-course lunch consisted of a mezze plate, a succulent fried beef tenderloin and a cheese board.

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Breakfast was delicious French toast.

During the evening, another round of meals were served, including a delicious fruit plate, and for breakfast I chose the French toast.

It was, by quite a considerable margin, the best business class meal I have ever had.


The VIP lounge on board is a great attraction for Business Class passengers. It opens shortly after takeoff and has an exclusive bar throughout the flight serving a considerable variety of drinks, snacks and canapes.

Each passenger receives a Bulgari amenities kit, with moisturizers, dental kit, mirror, lip balm and much more.

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An Emirates A380.

The service

The Emirates crew is first class and makes every passenger feel like a VIP.

The verdict

The best Business Class experience to and from New Zealand. Be sure to also try the Dubai Business Class lounge.

The frequency

Emirates has daily flights from Christchurch to Sydney and then on to Dubai. It also has daily flights from Auckland direct to Dubai.

The essential

Business class fares from Christchurch or Auckland to Dubai return start from around $10,000 to $11,000 per person. See:

The writer was welcomed by Emirates.

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The lounge has the feel of a private jet.

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