Emirates Business Class Review, Sydney - Christchurch

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It’s only a short hop from Australia’s east coast to the cosmopolitan New Zealand city of Christchurch but if you fancy doing it in style for a special trip, Emirates is arguably the way to go. Here’s why.

  • The Flight/Route: EK412, Sydney to Christchurch.
  • Duration: 3 hours 5 mins, dep 0750, arrive 1255.
  • The Aircraft: A380-800.
  • Cabin/Seat: Business Class, Seat 11A.
  • Baggage Allowance: Up to 40 kgs.
  • Frequent Flyer Program: Emirates Skywards.
  • More Information: www.emirates.com.


When Emirates extended its flights through Australia and onto Christchurch some years ago, it deservedly attracted a savvy following among business travellers looking for something a little more comfortable than the competition. The flight time was also very civilised. Then late last year, the airline announced that the A380s that once crossed the Tasman daily would be reduced to one daily return between Sydney and Christchurch from March 2018. The reason was to provide customers flying the Qantas-Emirates partnership with more choices, which means more Qantas planes. As a result if you’re looking for the dedicated Emirates experience across the Tasman, this is the only flight remaining.

Check In/Lounge

Emirates has separate check in queues for First Class, Business Class and Economy and it’s swift and efficient. Express path cards are handed over and after the usual immigration and security clearance, it was into the Sydney Emirates Lounge which, combines business class and first class, and is one of the best in the world. You'll find the lounge near gate 58, tucked away one level below the main terminal concourse. It’s spacious, with plenty of seating, and an impressive lineup of facilities including a bar and buffet.

The Seat/Entertainment

The A380 aircraft operating between Sydney and Christchurch are usually configured with 76 lie-flat Business Class seats, organised in a 1-2-1 configuration, and all situated upstairs. The elegant wood panelled seats are like mini-suites and have generous dimensions both in width and length. The seat is controlled by the simple touch of a button, from upright, through to a relaxed position, and then into fully flat for sleeping. There’s plenty of personal storage space, and Emirates ‘ICE’ inflight entertainment system which includes a 17-inch touchscreen, hand controls, a detachable tablet, and noise cancelling headphones. If you fancy watching a movie or a TV show, there are thousands to choose from, plus audio programmes. If you prefer getting online, you get 20MB of free Wi-Fi to use within the first two hours of log-in.

The Food

The meal service was lunch, albeit a tad early, and as I’d eaten breakfast in the Emirates Lounge beforehand I wasn’t super hungry. Meals are served on white linen mini-table cloths, and come with a starter a choice of main courses and desserts. In In the name of research I ordered a simply but beautifully cooked salmon, but passed on any alcohol, although the wine list offered a tempting, curated selection of red and white wines along with tasting notes and suggested pairings. If you get bored eating and drinking at your seat, there is a sophisticated cocktail bar and lounge, exclusive to business and first class passengers, complete with snacks and small platters of food.

The Service

When boarding the A380 I was greeted with plenty of friendly smiles, and courteously shown to my seat, which was in the first third of the upstairs Business Class Cabin. As I arrived at my lie-flat business class seat I was offered refreshments, quickly followed by a selection of newspapers. The senior flight attendant introduced herself personally to each guest, and throughout the flight the crew were quietly and quickly attentive to guests’ requests.

UltimateTravelMagazine.com Loves 

  • The cabin layout which offers easy access to the aisles for all passengers in Business, and privacy if you are travelling on your own.
  • The A380 which is a lovely, quite aircraft on which to fly.
  • The business and first class bar, even though it was a morning flight! 

Insider Tips  

  • If you need to sleep for any reason, make use of the food in the Emirates Lounge before you board, and convert your seat into a lie-flat bed as soon as you can after takeoff to maximise snoozing time on a short flight.


Ben Hall