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Flight Test: Emirates EK435 Brisbane – Dubai Economy

At just under 14 hours’ flying time, Emirates’ nonstop service from Brisbane to Dubai is a bona fide breeze with double-daily direct flights to the UAE on a giant jumbo jet. Karryon strapped into an Economy seat to check out the onboard amenities and service.

At just under 14 hours’ flying time, Emirates’ nonstop service from Brisbane to Dubai is a bona fide breeze with double-daily direct flights to the UAE on a giant jumbo jet. Karryon strapped into an Economy seat to check out the onboard amenities and service.

Long-haul flights in economy used to mean grit-your-teeth-and-strap-in services where passengers were packed like sardines in a claustrophobic tin can.

Flying from Australia, we’re accustomed to lengthy flights to the Northern Hemisphere but thankfully airlines have adapted to provide comfort and even style for those in all cabin classes.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve travelled to the UK and Europe via the Middle East and I was pleasantly surprised with many aspects of the Emirates experience, including the considered attention to detail of in-seat features and cabin amenities.

My recent Brisbane-Dubai direct flight also arrived at Dubai International Airport one hour early, despite a late pushback, and was made even better with a whole row to myself.

Check-in and boarding

Online check-in can be completed 24 hours before take-off via the Emirates app. The self-check-in kiosks and bag drop at Brisbane International Airport are also fuss-free and straightforward with checked luggage straight through to my final destination.

It’s the first time I’ve had my carry-on baggage weighed for an international flight with the weight recorded and tagged on my cabin luggage, thankfully under the 7kg max allowance.

For my 9pm flight, the security process was quick and easy with no waiting and the ability to keep all items in bags for screening (removing jackets etc) makes it so much more efficient.

The smartgate line is similarly seamless with further passport checks at Gate 73, located away from the main amenities near the Emirates Lounge.

Top tip: The printed boarding pass has a handy map of Dubai International Airport with transit times to the gates – super helpful for those connecting flights as DXB is massive and can take up to 20 minutes to walk between C and B gates.

Onboard comfort

Row 82 on board Emirates’ A380 aircraft.

On Emirates’ giant double-decker A380-800 aircraft, the Economy Class cabin has a 3x4x3 configuration with a 32-inch (81.3cm) seat pitch, 18-inch (45.7cm) seat width and a pretty generous 35-degree recline – roomy for economy standards. Even the window appears larger than usual.

Each seat has an approximately 13-inch (33cm) seatback touchscreen with a detachable console that also has its own screen plus a USB port and power outlet.

My aisle seat, 82H, was located at the very rear of the plane, one row back from the galley and bulkhead row seats on the right-hand side. With two empty seats beside me, I was able to commandeer the window and stretch out for the duration of the flight.

Where many carriers opt for sombre, dark décor colours (easy to clean and mask stains), Emirates Economy Class opts for softer hues that make the cabin appear more welcoming and lighter and brighter – a refreshing change and a more luxe look.

The fun stuff

The ice entertainment system has up to 1,000 movies on demand!

Emirates has a whopping array of entertainment on demand via its ice (Information, Communication, Entertainment) onboard system with more than 4,500 channels, including up to 1,000 movies in multiple languages that reflect its multicultural network, passengers and staff. On my flight, there were 141 newly added movies.

There’s also live TV, paid Wi-Fi (available after take-off), podcasts and audio, music, a huge selection of games, including kids’ games, seat-to-seat messaging and the ICE print mag.

The inflight amenities pouch highlights endangered animals.

You’ll also receive complimentary headphones, a blanket and a pillow along with recyclable amenities in a recycled pouch that highlights endangered animals.

Even the toilets have thoughtful touches such as free feminine hygiene products. It’s these small considerate details that really set Emirates apart to impress passengers without shouting about it.

Inflight food

An example of the A380 Economy inflight meal service. Image: Emirates

On this long-haul international flight, Emirates dished up two hot meals and a light snack, which are served on recycled trays with stainless steel cutlery in Economy Class. You can view the menu for your flight via the Emirates app.

Passengers will not go hungry with generous servings and a selection that includes a hot dish, salad, dessert, bread rolls and small snacks such as sweet biscuits, nuts and crackers and cheese.

I ordered a special vegan meal, which was among the best inflight meals I’ve ever received.

My first vegan-vegetarian meal, served around 1.5 hours after take-off, consisted of tomato penne pasta, a bread roll, salad and a sweet apple slice dessert, while the mid-flight snack was a hot ratatouille calzone with a drinks service – the main cabin snack was a spinach and cheese calzone.

The second hot meal, served two hours before arrival, was a breakfast dish of a tomato tortilla with beans and spinach plus fruit, a bread roll and jam.

Both hot meals also came with a slice of vegan cheese and crackers plus nuts, which I really appreciated as a smaller snack.

The details

  • Aircraft: Airbus 380-800
  • Seat: 82H (aisle)
  • Flight time: 13hrs 45mins
  • Luggage allowance: 2x 23kg checked luggage and 1x 7kg carry-on baggage plus personal item
  • Arrival in Dubai: 5:10am (scheduled)/ 4:01am (actual)

Much has been written about Emirates service however after multiple recent flights to and within the US, where customer service is often over-the-top friendly and attentive, I found the Emirates cabin crew to be efficient and professional but not overly warm.

Not lacking, just different – chalk it up to cultural differences and the overarching reach of US hospitality industry standards.

Overall, the Brisbane-Dubai EK435 nonstop service with its convenient 9pm departure sets a new economy class standard, making the average 14.5-hour travel time fly by in comfort – no matter where you sit on the plane. It’s a luxe experience, minus the exxy price tag.