Emirates A340-500 First Class Sydney - Christchurch

23 September 2006

EK412 Sydney-Christchurch

A340-541 A6-ERG

ATD0850 ATA1320 2hrs30mins.

Takeoff Rwy 16R CAVOK

Arrival Rwy 02 CAVOK

Seat 2A POB 1F 4J 139Y

I took advantage of the Skywards September promotion, (50% off for mileage required travelling between Australia and NZ) spent 37,500 miles booked a Sydney to Christchurch and Auckland to Sydney for the weekend. Emirates is a very generous carrier, even on a special 50% miles off promotion, they threw in a Chauffeur drive door to door service, that is pick up from Sydney, pick up from Auckland and drop off at Sydney again! Compare to other airline give such service is Virgin Atlantic but not on discount Business Z class fare or award ticket. EK is much better, provides such consistency on their premium product across all paid fares include redemption ticket.

At 6am sharp in the morning, a sleek looking black BMW 740I awaits me at my door to start my journey to NZ. Arrived at airport in 25minutes and there was no queues at First class check in desk. I was then invited to the new Emirates Airlines lounge at Sydney which they open not long ago. This lounge is downstairs from departure floor at the western end of terminal under Gate 57, 59, 60. First impression is such a grand lounge! Very spacey with nice décor, plush leather sofa and a good dining area.

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The lounge features a great food area with a buffet table set up and a cold food bar.

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There are more amount and choices of food than ANY other airlines lounge in Sydney, which the generosity of Emirates literally put airlines like Qantas to shame. Previously I thought Air NZ lounge was the best in Sydney, now I’ve seen better.

Boarding was delayed slightly around 20 minutes and was given priority to First Class and Business Class and Skyward Gold members. I was holding a red colour First Class boarding pass and was informed that I was the only passenger traveling today to Christchurch.

After boarding and familiarize with the cabin, I took some picture of the great experience.

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There is a special amenity kit on the table, in the semi circle shaped designed space, plus the featured mini-bar with drinks already their waiting for me!

The purser, Hassan came to introduce himself and offer a glass of Dom Perignon and I thought it was a bit too early to start but he insist it was a good time for one. Another steward Jack saw my camera and offered to take a picture of me.

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We pushed back 30 minutes behind schedule and only to be delayed further by holding for takeoff at the threshold. There were 4 arrivals and 3 departures in front of us. Airborne time was almost 1 hour behind schedule and we rotate about parallel to the tower.

Service started very shortly after the seat belt sign have been turned off, my champagne glass was topped off continuously with mixed nuts and a good selection of snack basket offered before the meal service – Brunch starts. Meal service is totally A la Carte style, I have green salad with cheese for the starter instead of cereal and yogurt or fruit plate. Then the main course has 3 choices, mix grill, omelet with cheese or blue seared Coe. I have the fish and it is very tasty. Crew came back to offer more but I was full. The meal presentation is wonderful, and use better Chinas than their Business Class ones. The bread basket was another great thing, and they have some of the finest Croissant I’ve ever tasted.

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After the meal service, I quickly walked around the cabin, snapped a few more photos with my Nikon Fisheye lens. On a surprise note, after return from the lavatory, the purser Hassan had an instant Polaroid camera in his hands awaiting me at my seat; offered to take a photo of me! (Great initiative to have instant camera onboard) and later he presented the pictures in a special EK picture frame with crews signature to make this flight truly memorable.

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I later decided to use the electronic control to close my mini-cabin door and have tea service inside with no disturb light turned on! And I reclined the seat fully to have a short rest, the bed is long enough for a 6 foot person and my toes didn’t touch the front like on Singapore or United First or VS upper class.

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Arrival was eventless in CHC except the MAF of NZ (Custom) couldn’t understand why I want to fly SYD-CHC but going to AKL right away, my explanation of wanting to fly the A340-500 First Class amused them and they let me into the country.

Overall the short Trans Tasman trip over the weekend was very enjoyable with top notch service and amenity from Emirates. The EK412 A340-500 flight have been the best of my 2006 70 flights YTD!

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