Flight test: Emirates business class
Dubai to Warsaw (code-share with Qantas).
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Passengers can earn points in Emirates Skywards and in Qantas Frequent Flyer.
UP THE BACK OR POINTY END?
Business, seat 7A.
Six hours 15 minutes from Dubai to Warsaw, Poland.
THE SEAT STUFF
60 inches (150cm) pitch. It's a 2-3-2 layout for 42 business-class seats, which are the older-style sleeper seats and do not lie flat.
Checked baggage up to 40kg (one piece can't exceed 32kg), two pieces of carry-on up to 14kg.
The fit-out is the old but well-maintained Emirates style, with gilt vases on the cabin walls and shiny walnut throughout.
It's not the A380, but it's good for a relatively short haul. Besides, it's on the ground that the real comfort lies. It's an early start for passengers joining one of Emirates' new routes in Dubai, but for us, it constitutes a great connection.
We've arrived in to Dubai from Melbourne a bit after 5am local time, and the Warsaw service is set to depart at 7.30am. That's just long enough to pass through transfer security, change terminals and have a shower and breakfast in the Emirates lounge.
The aircraft has Emirates' older entertainment system. All the seats have personal video screens showing 15 TV and movie, 22 audio and 18 games channels.
First and business class have 40 more channels, but the show out the window is the winner. It's an extraordinary flight on a clear day, up the Gulf and over Baghdad, the Tigris River, Erbil and Diyarbakir, where the topography changes to a rugged mountain region, before we pass over the rocky wilderness of Turkey.
Fabulous crew - helpful and attentive.
Straight after takeoff, we are served a continental breakfast of breads and croissants, fruit, yoghurt, coffee or tea. A mouthful of yoghurt feels a bit too warm for me, so I skip it, but the pineapple and melon is fresh and the breads are good quality.
Lunch starts about two hours before landing. The entree choice is Arabic mezze, pea soup or seafood plate. Mains are lamb noisette with mash, cheese-stuffed chicken breast or prawn biryani. I opt for the cheese platter instead of dessert. There are three pieces of good cheese with plenty of crackers. The wine list features two French reds, a sancerre and a classy German riesling, the latter "a rarity" on Emirates, says the wine list.
ONE MORE THING
A situation occurs in the back of the plane during the flight, requiring the police to meet us at our destination, Warsaw's Chopin International Airport. The crew remain calm and discreet and manage the situation while maintaining service.
After the big first flight leg from Australia, it's fabulous to have to take only one other to a smaller European destination, instead of bunny-hopping via the likes of Frankfurt. Impeccable service and professionalism throughout the trip make the experience highly pleasurable.