Flying from BHX and travelling with my six year old son, I felt very conscious that the festive period not turn out to be a real-life repeat of Home Alone and so held onto his hand while bustling through the busy terminal to get to the Emirates online check-in counter. With over 550 people trying to check in at the same counter, the experience could benefit from some extra staff because as friendly as their staff were, nothing makes a better first impression than having more staff that help whisk their passengers through at a steady rate. Finally arriving at the front of the large queue, baggage check in was near-effortless allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief that at least we were over the first hurdle.
Security is what it is and more an airport-driven necessity, so arriving to the gate and waiting to board was a welcome break before a long flight. There was no lounge as we were travelling economy so we talked about the trip to come.
Boarding was by section and we were greeted with a smile and welcome as we entered the A380 double decker plane before arriving at our window and aisle seat. As we have flown Emirates before, my son’s first comment as he settled into his seat was that the thing he he was looking forward to the most about the trip was flying with Emirates. His eagerness and delight with Emirates reflects how their brand appeals to children and families as well as single, married and business travellers.
Each seat has power sockets, decent sized screen and more than ample leg room. I’m 6 foot and my son is around half my size so whether you’re Arnold Schwazenegger or Danny Devito, Emirates economy is fine for both Twins.
The blossoming tree is part of the Emirates motif throughout the aircraft.
The in-flight screen is crisp, clear and lively with colours. It may be better than some TVs in homes. In-flight entertainment spoils you for choice with new movies, box sets of TV shows, music and more.
Wifi is free (on the return flight but not outbound) for 2 hours and then there’s a charge of $10.99 for the rest of the flight. However, with a host of in-flight entertainment and vast selection of movies, TV programmes, music and podcasts, I’d need to have left work to a very tight deadline to want to log on and connect online. When in the air, be like the airwaves: connected to the moment not to others, so the complimentary 2 hours is enough to WhatsApp that you’ll be unavailable, take airplane views and selfies with clouds or check your email one last time for the remaining 7-odd hours of flying time. After this, it’s time to enjoy the flight and service.
We took off on time at 130pm with an expected arrival time of midnight local time, so I packed the latest Grisham page-turner for company during the rare downtime I’d have between checking I still had my son next to me and monitoring his watching activities. And of course, eating because if Emirates does one thing really well, it’s serve its passengers. Even after take-off, attendants came round and gave the kids flying small gifts. My son was very happy with his colours and toys, which is a great touch and child-friendly. No wonder he likes this airline, he gets a present minutes after we’re airborne!
My son gets his complimentary activity book that keeps him busy for ages and lights up his face when he’s presented with it.
My book is designed for me to chew my nails off before the food arrives. Luckily the onboard entertainment is enough to keep my nails in tact.
The kids meals are also always served first which is great to not only make my young lad feel special but keep hunger-envy pangs at bay as he doesn’t have to watch others receive their trays of food while waiting for his. It’s a nice touch that kids get their meals much earlier than the adults which helps those who need to assist their children with food too.
Each menu is personalised for the route. Note the ‘Birmingham – Dubai’ text at the top.
The food served is always Halal which makes it a pleasurable and a hassle-free experience for Muslim travellers. Even the menu cards ooze simplicity with a neat font and the Emirates motif. Everything on board is in line with the brand, extending their advertising campaign on board so you remember that you flew Emirates. With options for butter chicken or braised beef for meat-eaters like myself, alongside a bean salad and chocolate delice for dessert, the meal provided is an appetizing filler that makes you forget the term “airplane food” as you try out edibles that would be more at home in a restaurant than in-flight. The only slightly off-putting aspect is that alcohol is served (as expected). The gentleman next to us ordered wine and its aroma was unpleasantly distracting.
The scent of food evaporates the minute you unwrap your meal and it tastes better than it looks.
Well presented, decent portion size and taste almost make my stomach happy. The only downer was that there was no Diet Coke – only Pepsi. Yes I can tell the difference and was not happy!
Temperature throughout the flight was comfortable although my son wanted the overhead fan on, so if anything it may be a little warm and cosy rather than sneeze-inducing cold. There are also more than enough toilets with 4 toilets at the back and usually 2 in each section.
Clear blue skies always bring a smile to my face. My son’s teacher always says he has his head in the clouds so it’s only fair I take him there.
We arrived on time and were thanked for flying Emirates, although part of me wanted to thank them for making my flight with my son so pleasant. We were still fresh when we arrived and got to our hotel at 0200AM local time and 2200PM UK time. I’d definitely recommend this flight over a red-eye anytime especially if travelling with children. Service was second to none as on the return journey we had an issue where we had to move seats due to a very loud child and they accommodated us quietly and compassionately.
Arriving to a sea of lights is like your own surprise party every single time.
While we boarded by zone on departure, on the return flight adults travelling with children were boarded first allowing us to christen the plane as the first passengers on the plane. Arriving at our seats on an empty plane definitely felt like a prize worth celebrating!
One point to note is Emirates’ membership rewards scheme entitled ‘Skywards’ is a great way to earn miles, which can be transferred between family members. Skywards surfers is a junior membership which ensures even kids can earn miles towards one account, which is handy and exciting for young ones.
Overall an excellent flight with great service, exquisite food, lots of in-flight entertainment and attention to detail that is appreciated especially when travelling with kids. With Emirates you never feel tired, just welcomed.
My 5 Top Tips for Flying Emirates
- Pack light as they have movies galore! A superb entertainment system means that page turner may be left unturned.
- Don’t be apprehensive if you’re travelling with kids. Staff are very child friendly and they are happy to address any issues.
- Try to check in as soon as it opens, that way you can choose your seat before anyone else! (You have to pay for this but if you’re willing to pay then you can get the seat you want and remove an additional stress of flying).
- Speak another language? Don’t worry! Staff on board usually speak about 13-14 languages making you remember that GCSE languages couldn’t have been that hard if everyone around you is so multilingual.
- When on the flight, get up and stretch your legs regularly. It’ll help you settle the food more, appreciate the cabin’s décor and take a moment to soak in that you’re flying better with Emirates while millions below are oblivious to the world where service exceeds all.
SE Staff Reviewer.