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Emirates: Best in the Business

Flying Emirates Business Class from Sydney to Europe proves one of the most memorable travel experiences for writer Bronwen Gora.

One of the best things about flying Business Class on Emirates is gearing up for your soon-to-be travel experience in the carrier’s opulent airport lounge. After checking in at Sydney International Airport for my flight to Switzerland, I followed the signs to the elite haven hidden discreetly on the lower floor behind gleaming sliding glass doors. Once inside, I’m greeted by welcoming staff who usher me into this airport oasis within the busy terminal. 

It takes a moment to get my bearings. The elegant low-lit room is expansive and hushed, littered with lounge chairs, couches and day beds in earthy tones, dark wood and gold trim neatly arranged between potted palms and a dining area that offers an extensive buffet. 

With some time to kill, I pursue the catering to discover a tantalising selection of fine French champagnes and reserve red and white wines to be paired with delicious antipasto plates. After helping myself to a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne and a selection of cheese, I find one of the day beds facing the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the tarmac and relax in preparation for my journey to Zurich onboard Emirates A380 Business Class.

Emirates Airlines Business Class A380
A380 © Emirates

Best in the air business

Emirates has led the way in so many areas of in-flight passenger experience. From being the first airline to introduce television screens in every seat in 1992 to being the first carrier to allow mobile phone use on flights (in 2008). And even pioneering those in-air maps that show you exactly where you are in the world and what it looks like hurtling 30,000 feet above the earth. 

These achievements quickly make sense when entering the elegant Business Class cabin on the Emirates Boeing A380. Here seats are designed for comfort and privacy, with each flat-lying seat nestled in its own spacious nook. There are multiple nifty places to store your belongings. Window seats have the added feature of push-button blinds. A dock with a smart tablet for the entertainment system, lights, and call buttons make navigating all its offerings incredibly enjoyable. 

Emirates Airlines Business Class cabin
The A-380 Business Class cabin © Emirates

Flying in the heavens

Once settled in, I’m all set. Even more so when the friendly cabin crew deposit the first of many glasses of French Champagne on my side table. Soon after take-off, I’m brought a soft doona cover for my seat and given a bowl of olives to enjoy while I peruse a detailed multi-page menu deciding which food to choose. Then onto the films and other entertainment to guide me during my journey from a selection of a mind-boggling 4000 channels, which includes over 1000 movies.

Gold standards

A gold Bulgari-branded amenity bag materialises on my table, filled with all sorts of beauty treats, including a mini bottle of Bulgari’s signature Omni perfume. This complements the bathrooms, equally stocked with Bulgari lotions and fragrances, plus numerous complimentary toothbrushes and combs.

Dining in the clouds

Not only do I have the choice of three sumptuous courses for each meal service during the first leg of the flight from Sydney to Dubai. But gourmet snacks are available anytime alongside a long list of tempting cocktails and mocktails to tea and coffee of all styles, be it freshly brewed to iced Americano.

There are a dozen classic cocktails to choose from, and my server assures it’s easy to create them to your personal taste. Within moments a Kir Royale arrives that’s not too sweet, suiting my palate. Then I’m ready for my first meal of the trip. An entrée of nutty porcini mushroom soup, followed by a main of tender seared beef tenderloin and more of those premium cheeses. Paired with a glass of 2010 French Chateau Ripeau from Bordeaux which I sip while watching The White Lotus.

Emirates Airlines Business Class dining
Business Class dining goes beyond the expected © Emirates

Onboard bar for any time of day

Dinner’s over, but I can’t go to sleep just yet. Travelling on the Emirates A380 in Business Class means I must experience one of its best features – the Onboard Lounge and Bar. Tucked at the rear of the cabin, this exclusive area boasts a stylish semi-circular bar backed by mirrored shelves well-stocked with premium spirits. There’s enough room for dining tables with banquette seating on each side of the bar, which hosts a tiered high-tea-style stand with delicious bite-sized cakes with more gourmet snacks in baskets on offer.

I’m given an impromptu wine tasting by the crew, which includes Graham’s 20-year-old tawny port from Portugal produced exclusively for Emirates. Since December 2022, Emirates has been the only commercial airline in the world where passengers can sip on Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon (in First Class) onboard.

Several hours later, after waking from proper sleep, I take a break from my seat at one of the bar-side dining tables, sip on a fresh hot tea served in a proper mug and nibble on a shortbread biscuit. We’ve travelled almost halfway across the world; miraculously, I still feel human.

The verdict

The remaining leg to Zurich and then back to Sydney via Dubai are filled with equal luxury and largesse. From glasses of freshly squeezed beetroot juice arriving alongside pre-take-off French Champagne to dinner entrées of traditional Arabic mezze bursting with spice not usually found in airline catering. 

From the moment of airport arrival to the time of touchdown, every minute detail of your journey on Emirates Business Class is a five-star experience, making it one of the most pleasurable ways to fly across the globe.

Emirates has 35 lounges worldwide exclusively for First and Business Class passengers, with seven in Dubai.

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