Emirates A380 Business Class Kuala Lumpur to Dubai Review
Sit back, relax in ultimate comfort and join conversations over drinks at the on-board bar in Emirates’ A380 business class.
Flight: EK 347
Aircraft Type: Airbus A380
Route: Kuala Lumpur to Dubai
Class: Business Class
Emirates is widely regarded as one of the best airlines in the world, so I really wanted to give its business class product a go. Because there is often more rewards flight availability out of Asia than when you fly from Australia, we decided to book the flight from Kuala Lumpur. This meant we also needed to plan our way there, but we thought the difference in rewards flights made it worthwhile.
The booking experience was easy and was done through the Qantas Frequent Flyer website. It was 50,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai with taxes of just under $300.
To book, just go to the Qantas website, log in to your frequent flyer account and search for the flight you want. Make sure you select to search for “Classic Rewards” as it will give you the availability options for other flights. We booked this flight four months in advance and there was a lot of availability. In comparison, I'd usually plan a booking 6-10 months in advance when flying from Australia.
If the flight you want is unavailable, the best thing to do is visit the ExpertFlyer website. It has a monthly subscription which you can use to search the flights that you want and create an alert for seats. Even if the flight's unavailable, as soon as a seat becomes available under the fare you’re looking for, it'll send you an email notification saying that it's available. Then you can call the airline or jump on the website and book it.
If you book over the phone with Qantas there’s a fee, so it's better to do it online.
Lounge and boarding
The check-in process at Kuala Lumpur International Airport was very smooth, with an express pass for customs and immigration helping us get to the lounge around 10 to 15 minutes after we arrived at the airport. Our flight was leaving at 7pm in the evening, so we got there around 3 hours beforehand.
The Emirates Lounge in Kuala Lumpur Airport is not as glitzy as Emirates’ more recently renovated Dubai lounges, but the traditional Emirates styling means it does still look good. It’s also one of the better lounges available in Kuala Lumpur.
The staff were friendly and welcoming and there was plenty of storage for our bags, as well as shower facilities to freshen up. There is also a business centre to help you catch up on some work, with printing, faxing and scanning facilities available.
For all the aviation lovers out there, you get some great views of the tarmac and the planes. But the refreshments leave a bit to be desired, with very limited options if you don’t like Asian cuisine. Emirates has cut back on food options in some lounges – including this one, where a few years ago you could have enjoyed freshly-made sandwiches and burgers.
There’s also no barista at this lounge. Instead, lounge attendants make your coffee using a coffee machine and bring it to your seat. On the plus side for all the champagne lovers out there, they do serve Veuve.
Eventually, the announcements were made for boarding and we headed to the departure gate. Unfortunately there was no priority boarding for business class passengers, and with it being a full A380 flight, it was a lengthy and slow process. Once we passed the security point, boarding the aircraft itself was quick.
This was a recently refurbished A380 and the cabin was immaculately presented, with seats looking almost brand new. The layout puts business class on the top deck and economy class seats at the front, with a bar at the rear of the aircraft and no first class seating.
The crew on board did an exceptional job of making this a memorable experience. They personally introduced themselves, wished us a safe flight, asked if we had any special requests and let us know they were there to assist us. This was all done prior to departure.
I have flown on many Emirates flights and this was probably the best crew that I've come across, with everyone from the purser to the flight attendants going above and beyond what was expected.
This business-class cabin on the A380 was in a 1-2-1 configuration, with some seats being staggered. This means you're not sitting next to each other in some of the middle seats, so if you’re travelling as a couple, it’s best to jump onto the Emirates website after booking and look at the seat map so you can actually select the seat that you want.
The same goes for window seats, as some of these don’t actually have windows. So if you want to have a look outside and take photos, check the online seating map or a website like SeatGuru to make sure you get that view.
The Emirates Business Class seat is a fully reclinable flatbed with lots of extra features – including a massage function, USB slots and charging outlets for your devices. There was also a small mini bar right next to it, with beverages like Pepsi, bottled water and juice. Emirates has started to install refrigerated minibars in some first-class cabins, but this one didn’t have this facility, so I asked for ice.
I found my seat very comfortable, especially given it was a seven-hour flight. If you are a taller person, you might find it a little bit tight with your legs, but compared to some of the other airlines I've been on, the seating was very nice.
Emirates has won a lot of awards for its in-flight entertainment, and once again won the 2018 Airline Entertainment Award, so you won’t be disappointed with the variety. There are 3,500 options onboard including Hollywood, Bollywood and Middle Eastern movies. And the best thing is that those who like to stay in touch with what's happening in the outside world have channels like CNN and BBC live streamed to the aircraft throughout the flight.
As mentioned before, Emirates went above and beyond with its service during this flight.
Straight after taking our seats, the cabin purser came along and introduced himself, addressing me by name. Not many airlines do this, and the personalised service was welcome.
Next, one of the senior attendants came by and also introduced himself. Then, the attendant who was looking after us throughout the flight brought us hot towels, which many airlines have now cut back on. We were also offered a choice of orange juice, water or Veuve champagne.
After that, we were provided with Bulgari Amenity Kits. These were very high quality and, although they didn’t provide pyjamas, mine did come with a razor, toothbrush, hand cream, perfume, aftershave and lip balm.
The three major Middle Eastern carriers – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar – have really shaken up the airline industry in terms of inflight dining. Unfortunately, Emirates’ meals have dropped a little in terms of the quantity and quality compared to these other carriers.
On this particular flight it was a dinner service. For appetisers, we were offered minestrone, and our choice of a chicken dish and a tuna dish. For the mains, there was a chicken and a steak option, as well as a Malaysian dish.
I had the chicken galantine with fresh mango and chutney, which was nice and flavourful. For main course I chose a beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce. I've seen this same beef tenderloin for about five or six years now on all Emirates flights, so it's probably time for an update, but overall the food was tasty.
For dessert I chose the chocolate toffee served with caramelised bananas, which was very tasty. There is also a choice of tea or coffee.
Other beverage choices included champagne, red wine and white wine from Australia, New Zealand and France. There were also soft drinks available.
I couldn’t fault the service of the meals. The meal service started 40 minutes after departure and, within an hour, all food was served and all trays were cleared.
There’s also the choice of ordering food at any time if you get peckish, as well as food from the bar, and snacks at the back of the plane. In short – you’re not going to go hungry on this flight.
The onboard bar
If you really want to get the most out of this flight, a 6pm or 7pm flight is a good option because you get to actually use the services that are available to you on an A380, such as the bar. At any time throughout the flight, we could also order a cocktail from the bar menu, which offered drinks like margaritas and espresso martinis that the crew would prepare for you.
The onboard bar itself is also a great place to go and relax. It looked sensational during our night flight because of the LED lights.
While you're at the bar, you can track the progress of the flight, watch live sports matches, have a glass of wine or meet other passengers. On this particular flight, I got to meet a lot of people from different regions of the world. Emirates’ slogan "You can meet the world at 40,000 feet" was really true in this case.
Another nice touch by the cabin crew was that they offered to take a photo of us behind the bar and even offered us the famous Emirates hat to wear. They also put our photo into a little frame and signed it. Again, this was a nice touch from the Emirates team.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is provided, but it's for a very small amount of data. One way around this is that – if you’re a Skywards member – you can enter your username and password into your booking (even if you’ve booked the flight through Qantas). With this you get complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi if you’re travelling business or first class.
The perks for this flight continued once we landed, with the crew giving us express passes to clear customs quickly.
The Points Finder Flight Rating: ★★★★★☆
Overall, I found the cabin and the seating to be comfortable. One thing that Emirates does very well is little touches such as its amenities kits and the friendliness of the crew. The cabin was also lovely, with the stars on the ceiling being a nice detail.
Emirates could reach the full 6-star experience for business class if it had a smoother boarding at KL, and if its food options both onboard and in the lounge were improved. Other comparable airlines are ramping up in the food department, with Etihad actually having an on-board chef that prepares your meal for you.
Overall though this is a great use of 50,000 Qantas Points.
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