I took a seven-and-a-half-hour flight from Dubai to London on an Emirates A380.
The food was surprisingly good and the Emirates service was exceptional as usual.
But the interior of the A380 felt old and weathered. Take a look.
I recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia, where I was lucky enough to travel across both Vietnam and Cambodia.
On my return journey, I flew from Vietnam's chaotic but enchanting capital City, Hanoi, to Dubai, before taking a connecting flight back to London.
Still harboring a childhood fascination with aviation, I was thrilled to see an Emirates A380 dominating the gate where we were due to board.
As I shifted from vacation mode back into work mode, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review the "superjumbo."
The colossal Airbus A380 is one of the world's most iconic aircraft.
It was as imposing as ever as we arrived at the gate to await our flight from Dubai back to London.
I traveled in Emirates' economy class, which I have been fortunate enough to have experienced a few times before — and I was hopeful of the same high standards. And with the flights costing around £510, or $630, each way, I was especially keen to get some return on investment.
At 6'3, flying can be an uncomfortable experience, but I found the Emirates A380 to offer plenty of legroom, and I was more than comfortable throughout the flight.
I nevertheless followed my usual tactic of bagging the aisle seat. I highly recommend this to anyone who struggles with leg cramps on long flights — or passengers who wants easy access to the toilets (or more drinks).
The service onboard the flight was exceptional, as I have come to expect from Emirates. The staff was extremely attentive, friendly, and professional.
I was particularly impressed with the food Emirates offered to economy-class passengers. For breakfast, I had a delicious raspberry pastry, strawberry yogurt, a muffin, and a coffee. There was also an option of an egg and cheese sandwich.
For lunch, we had the choice of either chicken curry with rice or a beef stroganoff-like dish with potatoes and vegetables. I chose the latter, with a mixed salad, potato salad, cheese, crackers, a Nature Valley bar, and a lime sponge dessert. It was surprisingly tasty, especially compared with airplane food I'd had before.
I was slightly let down by the interior of the aircraft, however. It appeared faded, and something about the dull grey color felt somewhat worn. It seemed like it needed a refurb.
Emirates is sending 67 of its A380s to be refitted, and some refurbished planes started flying on routes to the US in early May.
The aircraft had some extra touches that made a big difference on a long-haul flight, including complimentary eau de toilette and hand and body lotion from The White Company.
The airline provided each passenger with a set of headphones and a blanket. The blanket was handy as my travel companion was liberal with the air conditioning. There were also things like eye masks, toothbrushes, and toothpaste available on request.
The headphones weren't the sturdiest, but they worked perfectly and seemed to drown out most background noise while a film was playing.
One other disappointment was the touch screen. It was extremely laggy and inaccurate — when choosing a film, the touch screen would often pick a completely different one or exit the current screen altogether.
Due to this, I often reverted to using the remote control to navigate my way through the choice of entertainment. This worked, but it was awkward if I had food and drinks on the foldout table.
There was a solid film selection, which made the long journey far more manageable. It had recent releases like "Elvis" and classics like "The Bridge on the River Kwai." I opted for an eclectic mix of Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and the action thriller "The Bourne Identity."
But despite a few minor quibbles, I was once again a happy customer as I stepped back onto the tarmac at London's Gatwick Airport.
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