Emirates experience anyone?
November 5, 2012 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Emirates Airline?

We are travelling on a long haul flight on Emirates next month (ecornomy) and wondering about the comfort level and other experiences you all could share. Haven't booked tickets yet but looking at Emirates and other airlines. We have heard that the seats are really bunched up and may be smaller than what other airlines offer.


What has your experience with Emirates in an economy class been like (US to Dubai ideally but any other experience is welcome)

Can you suggest an alternate airline to Bombay that worked really well for you (economy)

Thanks al!
posted by pakora1 to Travel & Transportation around Mumbai, India (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We liked it. My other half has flown Emirates quite a lot. The food is better than most and the entertainment is more varied than any other airline we've been on. Didn't find the seats particularly cramped. If you book early enough you can choose your seats and take advantage of websites that will tell you the roomiest options.
posted by kadia_a at 1:45 PM on November 5, 2012

I flew Emirates economy class from the UK to Japan and back a few years ago and it was fine - I don't remember it being much better or worse than average. My most vivid memories of the journey were: (1) they really liked showing rich dudes riding horses across the desert on the in-flight video, and (2) there was a 14-hour stopover in Qatar airport which was way way worse than the flight.
posted by doop at 1:47 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it's an Airbus 380 on the route, the economy is pretty nice.

You might want to consider Qatar airways. Still one stop, in Doha rather than Dubai, and Doha airport is a bit boring if you have a long wait.
posted by IanMorr at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2012

The food and entertainment are good - I didn't notice the seats were particularly different from any other economy flight - I consider them to be one of the best, but probably prefer Singapore Airlines (though it's been a while since I've travelled with them).
posted by heyjude at 1:51 PM on November 5, 2012

I've been flying Emirates several times from Munich to various destinations in Asia, always via Dubai. Can't really report anything negative, the planes were in excellent condition (a lot of them are quite new), flight attendants have been friendly and attentive and the food was really decent for economy class. As far as the seats go - I didn't notice any difference in size and legroom compared to Lufthansa or AA. Also been in Emirates business class to Dubai 2 times which have been good experiences as well. Overall one of the better airlines in my books.
posted by starzero at 1:51 PM on November 5, 2012

I traveled Emirates from the US to Dubai. The only other transoceanic flights I've taken were on Qantas. It wasn't as awesome as Qantas but was head and shoulders above any US airline I've ever taken on a long flight. I'm a short person so didn't notice the size of the seats but the service was top notch, the food was great (and frequent, with menus and all the rest) and I watched a ton of movies on those little back-of-the-chair TVs. They seemed to make an effort to get people to respect other people's attempts to sleep which I appreciated and I found the whole NY - Dubai trip pretty AOK.
posted by jessamyn at 1:54 PM on November 5, 2012

It's been a few years since I took the NYC-Dubai Emirates flight but like the other respondents here, I thought it was actually better than most of the long-haul flights I've taken with US carriers. The seats weren't particularly crowded (actually I recall them as being unusually comfortable and I'm quite tall for a woman). The food was pretty good and the entertainment options were excellent. On one leg I was sitting next to a 5-year-old and felt constrained to only watch G-rated movies but never ran out of things I wanted to watch (did consume pretty much the collected works of Pixar).
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 2:22 PM on November 5, 2012

Emirates is very nice to fly, even in coach, but to and from North America to Dubai it is generally 35% to 50% more expensive than buying a ticket on KLM or British Airways (via Amsterdam or London).
posted by thewalrus at 2:24 PM on November 5, 2012

I've flown the NY-Dubai route a handful of times and have always been happy with the service, the condition of the planes, the food (as others have said: frequent and relatively tasty), and the entertainment. Seats are no more cramped than usual.

If you do end up with a crazy long layover (over 8 hours), Emirates will put you up in a hotel for free and give you meal vouchers. Worth checking into if you're in that situation.
posted by rebekah at 2:26 PM on November 5, 2012

I'm a frequent world traveler. I have never flown to India, but I have flown Emirates, and this is what I can share :

- one of the world's best airlines
- BIG exception : when they depart from India/Africa, the airline experience is unrecognizable (dirty cabins, ill mannered flight attendants, unruly passengers, lack of top level service.

Departing on Emirates from a U. S., Middle East, European city : very good experience.
posted by Kruger5 at 2:34 PM on November 5, 2012

Emirates is a great airline. Much, much nicer than any U.S. carrier.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:45 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have flown Emirates to India from NYC several times, not to Mumbai but to Chennai. I was overall very happy with Emirates. They have some of the best flight entertainment out there, very comfortable, more than decent food and very frequent. The flight from Dubai to Mumbai might be quite different from the flight from NYC to Dubai. The Dubai to Chennai leg had a bunch of unruly Indian men who were returning from the Gulf to their families and were determined to drink as much booze as possible while on the plane. So that got a little uncomfortable and the flight attendants probably did not enjoy it one bit. But it the entertainment + food make up for it in my opinion. You will get heartily sick of seeing the Emirates introductory video though!

A couple years ago I had a bit of an issue with them in Dubai that left a bad taste in my mouth, as well as a strong desire to never be stuck in Dubai for any length of time in the future, so I don't tend to fly them any more, but this is not really something that is likely to happen -- more a matter of principle than anything else.
posted by peacheater at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2012

I flew Emirates economy from NYC to Dubai(and then went on to New Delhi) and was also very happy. The food was good, drinks flowed, and I think I even remember a decent movie selection. Got upgraded to business class on the leg from Dubai to New Delhi which was nice

So yeah, much, much nicer than any U.S. carrier. Would happily fly again.
posted by fromageball at 3:27 PM on November 5, 2012

BIG exception : when they depart from India/Africa, the airline experience is unrecognizable (dirty cabins, ill mannered flight attendants, unruly passengers, lack of top level service.

I disagree. I base in Singapore and have Singapore Airlines to compare (yes, the New Delhi flight sucked compared to European destinations) but my Emirates flight in the summer to Kenya was an overall EXCELLENT experience, both the sector to Dubai as well as onwards.
posted by infini at 4:17 PM on November 5, 2012

New planes. Young, hot and attentive flight attendants from all over the world. Interesting food. EK is awesome! I also had a good experience flying BA to Mumbai.
posted by Hash at 5:00 PM on November 5, 2012

I flew Emirates from Sydney to Bangkok a couple of years ago. I must have been on a smaller plane than the other posters, because I found the seats to be so narrow that I was actually in physical pain during most of the interminable flight. The metal sides pushed into my hips. I'm tall and somewhat wide at the hips but not huge, and I haven't had the same experience on any other flight. So I'd recommend that you check a site like SeatGuru and compare the seat width to the seats of a flight you took recently. From what I remember, the service and food were fine, but I was too miserable to appreciate them.
posted by ceiba at 5:09 PM on November 5, 2012

I just flew them from Manila to Barcelona via Dubai and back... great food, some of the best I've ever had on an airline actually - with the exception of Fin Air. Entertainment system was awesome, you can start watching as soon as you are on the plane (with your own headphones).

From Manila to Dubai the plane was older, more cramped and less comfortable. From Dubai to Barcelona was a newer plane, better seats and more comfortable, and one of the best economy flights I've had. So good to check out the planes and seats via seatguru.

Service was on par with other international carriers I've experienced like Qantas or Virgin Atlantic. No complaints.
posted by Admira at 5:17 PM on November 5, 2012

Etihad is by far the best
posted by zia at 11:14 PM on November 5, 2012

I've flown them once long haul and had an experience on par with other long haul flights I've taken with any other major carrier. I find international economy class to pretty samey unless you go with a budget carrier.

Important note though: DO NOT GET EXIT ROW SEATING. Any extra legroom is ruined by an inability to recline your seat, which is a killer on long flights.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 1:34 AM on November 6, 2012

I have traveled almost majority of northern hemisphere and have successfully avoided gulf based airlines for my own personal principles' reasons. That being said, FinnAir and Lufthansa are my 1st preference airlines. Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, United, KLM and Jet Airways are my second preference and BA, Air India are my 3rd preference.

I travel to India quite often. It also depends what you do on board i.e. watch movies or up all en route. I sleep almost all through my flight so I don't care about entertainment options.
posted by zaxour at 6:56 AM on November 6, 2012

I was very pleased with Emirates flying long-haul between Melbourne and Dubai. Plenty of room compared to other airlines (I was on an Airbus 380), lots of entertainment choices, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing cabin experience, the flight attendants were helpful and happy. I've flown long-haul on several different airlines - Emirates, Lufthansa, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Delta, United, American Airlines. Emirates, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand were all good experiences, Emirates was a little bit better than the other two - but all three were much better than the rest, and better any other domestic US flight I've been on.

I agree that Doha airport is small and boring. Dubai airport is a lot more comfortable and enjoyable if you have to stay a few hours. If you're into shopping, don't expect the prices to be any better in the airport than you'd find generally listed in the US.

Here's a seat-selection tip you might find useful: in areas where the fuselage begins to taper, or areas near a bulkhead or other services, the number of seats in a row will usually decrease from 3 to 2 - pick one of these seats for a lot more room. My favorite is a window seat where the fuselage starts to taper. There's usually a good 18"-24" between the seat and the fuselage, which is great for stretching your legs out and keeping your stuff at hand during long flights.
posted by hootenatty at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks so much, some great tips here! A little less worried now :)
posted by pakora1 at 7:58 PM on November 6, 2012

Response by poster: Quick update.

We took Emirates to Mumbai. It was a good but long flight to Dubai. The seats are okay, not too small and recline was fine. The food was excellent and frequent. However tea/coffee was a bit on the sparse side, only served with lunch/dinner. The staff attitude was a bit stuffy towards the economy class and we noticed definite difference in how they treat Westerners and Asians.
Regarding safety we were quite impressed with the landing on all airports, very smooth unlike the bumpy landings we made in other airlines.

There were delays (around 20 min or so) in departure but no explanation on it.

Dubai airport is nice although crowded.

When compared to Korean Airlines, Emirates falls short but not too short. We decided we preferred the 9 hour trip to Seoul and then to Mumbai.

Thanks everyone!
posted by pakora1 at 10:15 PM on December 12, 2012

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