Keep me occupied on Emirates
November 21, 2007 12:24 PM   Subscribe

The wife and I are flying to Dubai from JFK (and back again) on Emirates next week. We're in economy - what amenities will we have?

So - it's a 16 hour flight there, a 16 hour flight back. Trying to keep myself and the wife as occupied as possible.

I've heard good things about the ICE entertainment system, and I've read all about their plans to have iPod integration with the IFE system by "mid-2007" ... but has anyone actually used it? Is it in service? I can imagine eating my iPod 5G's battery fairly quickly if I can't charge... Also (I know it's a lot to ask, but), do they only have power outlets for laptops and other similar devices like some airlines do in First/Business Class?
posted by kuperman to Travel & Transportation around Dubai, UAE (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Honestly, get some ambien take it, and enjoy you 3-4 hour flight. There is very little other then sleeping that can make super long flights tolerable in my opinion.
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:27 PM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: SeatGuru says that ICE-equipped Emirates 777s have AC power outlets in economy. However, I would not assume that your plane will be so equipped; non-ICE planes have power in business and first classes only.
posted by backupjesus at 12:37 PM on November 21, 2007

This Emirates flight is, like, the QE2 of airline experiences. You will be coddled, to say the least.

You can see exactly what's on here, if the link works. If not, go to the Emirates website, select "US" and "English", go to "flying with Emirates" in the top corner, select "in-flight entertainment", and then on the right hand side of the new screen, you'll see a place to select your origin, destination, and date of travel. I assume you're on the nonstop flight as you didn't mention, uh, stopping. I won't quote the whole website here, but the website indicates that the Boeing 777 which operates your flights (204/205) on the random day I chose (November 28) should feature the ICE system.

I hope this isn't too presumptuous, but I assume from your question that perhaps you've only flown on US-based airlines before; note that after this flight, you will never want to fly on any other US-based airline ever again, because none will be this good. I flew Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Los Angeles nonstop in February - a flight of similar length - and it took all of my willpower to get off the plane at the end of the flight. Not just because the in-flight entertainment was so amazing - hundreds of movies, games, TV shows, albums, etc - but because the service was so great too. Anything you needed or wanted (yes, even in economy) was provided quickly and with a smile. I felt like the flight attendants actually liked being part of a team and helping people. They'd go up and down the aisles with water at least hourly, and they wouldn't go past my seat without stopping and asking if I wanted anything to munch on in between the three huge, amazingly tasty meals. Really top-notch, and I have a feeling Emirates will be the same.
posted by mdonley at 12:45 PM on November 21, 2007

I've flown London to Sydney on Emirates and the ICE system is fantastic. You can choose the film, stop, start and pause it whenever. And there are over 300 films and something daft like 900 cds from what I remember. Really top notch, you shouldn't have any problem keeping yourself amused, even without your iPod. And I can confirm what mdonley suspects, the crew are amazing and really do make the flight a pleasure.

Unlike Iberia which didn't even have seat back screens for a 12 hour flight just 2 little crappy drop down screens and you got your food literally flung at you. God, they were awful.
posted by jontyjago at 12:57 PM on November 21, 2007

Best answer: Aha!

Here's a thread from the hard-core frequent flyers of FlyerTalk that while in-seat laptop charging may or may not be available in economy on the 777-300 (your plane) - there seems to be some disagreement in the thread - you CAN ask a flight attendant to charge it for you. So either way, you should land with a full charge. You might also want to pick up an adaptor for Dubai's outlets, which are the same as British ones (here), before you go, though I imagine the plane's outlets will take your US plug.
posted by mdonley at 1:02 PM on November 21, 2007

I flew Emirates London -> Dubai -> Bangkok. Their entertainment system bests the other airlines I fly long haul (excepting BA) - lots of great movies, which you can play/pause etc at will. Its a good airline with a well-deserved reputation.
posted by poissonrouge at 1:31 PM on November 21, 2007

I am flying that same route a week later. Are you making a connection? Mine is 12 hours. My usual tack is bringing a bag full of goodies for the trip including stuff like moisturizer, pen and paper. I have to second what mdonley said however, most non-US carriers are a really different experience. My friends who fly Emirates regularly say it's like flying in the US thirty years ago. Real food. Really helpful staff. Civilized generally.
posted by jessamyn at 1:44 PM on November 21, 2007

Oh man, I try to get people to fly Emirates as much as possible. Hands down the best flights I've ever had (JFK>Dubai>Calcutta and back). Didn't even sleep much because there was too much stuff that I wanted to watch.

As others have mentioned the service is awesome, and everyone is super friendly. The food is amazing, as well--and you can choose from a large variety of options when you book: vegetarian, vegan, several religious options. As a vegetarian at the time, I was amazed by the many options I had. Have a great flight!
posted by theRussian at 2:17 PM on November 21, 2007

I've also flown Emirates and it's by far the best airline I've ever flown - and I even got bumped to business class on my return flight! Economy is far far better than 1st class of any US carrier I've ever flown - you get personalized menus (if you call the airline ahead you can even get a halal dish). The seats are way way more comfortable and have ample foot room, and in business class there are even individual space agey pods that cover each seat for extra privacy (and the seats almost recline 180 degrees!) But back to economy - I found i didnt need my ipod (good selection of music for every taste) or portable dvd player (you get to choose the movies you want to watch from a selection that is fairly recent). But what sold me most was the fact that before dinner is served the stewardesses go round handing out HOT TOWELS for you to freshen up! Aah! Bliss! Ever seen unitedeltausouthwestalaskantinental do that????

Oh and a tip - when in Dubai, go crazy shopping at the airport! Their duty free shopping is RIDICULOUSLY cheap!
posted by ramix at 2:32 PM on November 21, 2007

I flew JFK to Dubai on an Emirates A340-500 and it was the best long-haul 16 hour coach flight I ever rode. The ICE screens have more than enough movies to keep you occupied the entire trip, plus seat-to-seat chat and games, and I was even able to send out a few text messages (at the painful and yet worth-the-novelty rate of $1/text).

The economy class rows are in a 2-4-2 seat configuration rather than the default 3-4-3; they gladly give up the sardine-packing profit to provide an extra inch or two of seat and aisle space with less clambering for window seat passengers. If you are sitting at the window, there's a lot of room between you and the wall; this is both bad and good -- good in that the extra space gives you a bit more arm-swinging and room to store a thin bag or a thick jacket, and bad in that it's too far to actually lean on the wall to sleep.

The service is wonderfully friendly. Interestingly, the crew puts on a veil-like hat attachment only on descent to Dubai, then they take it off in the air. I was especially delighted to hear the crew wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" over the PA upon landing, whereas even U.S. airlines would be leery of such a greeting.

Closed windows, gradually fading colored atmospheric lighting, and little LED "stars" dotting the ceiling all aid in helping you adjust to the time difference.

Little color-coded stickers are provided to put atop your seat. These inform the cabin crew as to whether you want to be awakened or left sleeping at mealtimes.

The view of Iran from the air is nothing short of amazing.

After most of the passengers had disembarked at DXB, I dropped by First Class to see if they really had private cubicle seating up front. They did. The purser was even nice enough to take a photo of me pretending to be a First Class passenger, and gave me a leather toiletries kit because I was such a big Emirates A340-500 fan.

The only downside: on the return flight my ICE unit suffered a kernel panic, and despite multiple reboots by helpful flight crew, the screen would only show a few seconds of video before crashing again. But it was OK, I just slept.

My photos from the flight there and back. (I'm a bit of a plane fan, so I take photos like these obsessively whenever I travel.)
posted by brownpau at 2:39 PM on November 21, 2007

The selection of entertainment is amazing, but keep in mind that this is still an Arab-owned company and many of the features are edited to remove anything marginally risqué.

And this doesn't speak to in-flight amenities, but I missed a connecting flight due to the horrendous traffic in Dubai and was told I would have to pay hundreds of dollars to rebook--no ifs, ands or buts. I paid cash to get a flight on another airline to my next destination and called Emirates to reconfirm my return trip; somehow I was able to plead successfully to have them waive the rebooking fee. Moral of the story: sometimes their service is capricious.
posted by kittyprecious at 3:25 PM on November 21, 2007

My dad works for Emirates and I fly LGW>DXB a couple of times a year, so I may be a little biased, but I agree with everything mentioned previously. The ICE thing is pretty cool, and as well as all the recent films and music albums has stuff like TV shows (multiple episodes of each series) and comedy albums (Monty Python, Jerry Seinfeld, etc). The food is pretty good too, even in Economy.

Last time I flew Emirates was in September (in Economy) and I don't remember seeing anything about iPod integration (I hadn't heard anything about that before actually and usually my dad keeps me up to date about cool new stuff on the planes), but as mentioned before with the sizeable film/TV/music/comedy library + food + reasonably comfy seats you probably' wouldn't need an iPod anyway.

Also I think the power sockets for laptops are only in the galley area in Econ so you'd have to ask the cabin crew to charge it, although I could be wrong since I've never actually used my laptop on the plane.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:19 PM on November 21, 2007

check out

EndsOfInvention : I will fly emirates from jfk to ham on dec 25. any chance I could pay you something to get me an upgrade cheaper than through their website?
posted by krautland at 5:59 PM on November 21, 2007

Ha, I don't think I can swing that unfortunately. My dad can only get discounted tickets for family members...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:17 AM on November 22, 2007

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