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-   -   Emirates First Class on 773ER/772LR AKL-MEL-DXB-GVA, CDG-DXB-MEL-AKL (lots of photos) (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/1443845-emirates-first-class-773er-772lr-akl-mel-dxb-gva-cdg-dxb-mel-akl-lots-photos.html)

wwnz Mar 1, 13 11:19 pm

Emirates First Class on 773ER/772LR AKL-MEL-DXB-GVA, CDG-DXB-MEL-AKL (lots of photos)
 
This is our trip report of the six flights we took on Emirates first class back in June this year. We have been reading trip reports on flyertalk for a while now and thought that this would be a nice way to give back to the community. This is my first time compiling a report so it might be slightly rough on the edges.

All photos were taken by myself with the now discontinued Canon 550D DSLR paired with the EFS 15-85/3.5-5.6 lens, and processed in Lightroom 4.1. Apologies for the unnatural colour and exposure in some of the photos. Was a beginner with post-processing then and still am.

Contents:

Emirates Shared Lounge Auckland - this post
Emirates First Class Suites Auckland-Melbourne
Emirates Shared Lounge Melbourne
Emirates First Class Suites Melbourne-Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal 3 (older lounge)
Emirates First Class Suites Dubai-Geneva

Geneva
Easyjet Geneva-Nice

Nice and the French Riviera
Air France Nice-Paris

Paris and Versaille
Lunch at Guy Savoy

Emirates Shared Lounge Paris
Emirates First Class Suites Paris-Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal 3 (older lounge)
Emirates First Class Suites Dubai-Melbourne
Emirates Shared Lounge Melbourne
Emirates First Class Suites Melbourne-Auckland and conclusion

Boeing 777 Suite guide

Background

A bit about us. We’re a couple that like to travel as much as we can get away with. My holidays are fairly restricted, but we decided to try and squeeze in a quick trip to Europe to enjoy the summer sun in the Northern hemisphere. My partner needs to be able to stretch out and lie relatively flat on long-haul trips so we were going to travel in business class. Having flown to Europe the previous year on Malaysian’s angled business class seats, I wasn’t terribly keen on repeating the “inevitable downhill slide” experience. We went looking for ways to get to Europe in a fully-flat business class, and came up with some itineraries that involved a mix of airlines e.g. Air NZ and Swiss. These turned out to be fairly pricey, and when we approached our travel agent with our ideas, he pointed out that Etihad had a first class fare to Europe on special.

We had briefly toyed with the idea of flying in first from time to time, but never really took it seriously. It’s a huge sum of cash and most people flying in first on these forums would be doing it via miles. Nevertheless, the sale fare to Etihad brought the price of a trip in first down to semi-sane levels, and our interest was piqued. At the time (and this probably still holds currently?) I was aware of Etihad’s lovely suite product in first, but also that it was not available on all aircraft and certainly not on all routes. Our travel agent suggested that Emirates may be able to match Etihad’s fare. A few days later we got the news that Emirates is happy to match the fare down to the dollar, but that it would be on the 777 aircraft as the A380 suites were reserved as Emirate’s premier product. That wasn’t about to worry us...I’m was sure we’d survive without the on-board shower and different food setup (Since writing this report, Emirates now run the A380 on the Melbourne route too).

Having received this news we talked long and hard about the insanity of our proposal. We’d like to think that we’re a fairly “down to earth” couple and nothing of the ‘DYKWIA’ sort. On any flight in business class we can hardly contain our excitement. The novelty of turning left as you enter the aircraft or heading down a different airbridge is something that will never wear off for us. My partner has flown once on first on a sector with TG many years ago, and I myself have never flown in first. We might just explode with anticipation before even stepping on the plane if we were going to fly on Emirate’s first. Eventually we decided to just bite the bullet and have this as a one-off experience. As we wanted to maximise our time in Europe we decided to fly there and back without taking a night to stop over. Under normal circumstances we would be absolutely exhausted but we were hoping that the we could get some solid sleep in first. Our final routing was AKL-MEL-DXB-GVA, CDG-DXB-MEL-AKL (Auckland-Melbourne-Dubai-Geneva, Paris-Dubai-Melbourne-Auckland).

Courtesy of gcmap.com
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The next few months were occupied with watching just about every youtube video we could find showcasing the 777 product, and reading through the few trip reports that cover this. We counted down the days to our trip.

Auckland Emirates Lounge

With the prospect of sitting in Emirate’s first class in just a few hours’ time, waiting around in the Auckland Emirate’s lounge felt like the worst torture that could be inflicted on a person. The lounge itself was spacious, with plenty of seating for everyone at that time of the day. The food options were decent. Of course, the real event was to be on the plane, so we tried to leave as much space in our stomach’s as possible. I ended up having some fruit and a small glass of bubbles to while away the time. It felt like we had to wait for an eternity to board.

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EK407

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Our bird for today
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Red carpet
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Lounge entrance
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Decent food options, but we saved our tummy space for the on-board stuff
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Bit of fruit that I had
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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:33 am

Airline: Emirates
Route: Auckland-Melbourne
Flight number: EK407
Duration: 4 hours
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seats: 2E and 2F


It was finally time to board so we gathered our things and headed down to the gate. Auckland airport uses only one airbridge, through which everyone boards. Boarding was no hassle. Walking down the airbridge I was caught in a strange mixture of excitement and nervousness. We made the exciting left turn at the door of the aircraft, walked past the business class cabin and on towards the first class cabin.

Our seats for this flight were 2E and 2F, as we wanted to sit side-by-side. First impressions of the cabin were…incredibly spacious! The lack of overhead bins really does add a feeling of openness. The suites themselves were enormous and much bigger than the sense we got from looking at photos and videos in trip reports.

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There was a lot to take in and absorb in a short space of time as we settled into our seats. Jackets were placed in a little closet located between the two rows of suites. Storage for bags was mainly underneath the screen in the ‘footwell’. I snapped some quick photos of the cabin, aware that others may be boarding at any time. Turns out I need not have been worried as we ended up being the only two passengers in the first class cabin. What a way to start a trip!

We were offered newspapers, magazines, and our first glass of the 2003 Vintage Dom Perignon. Having read so much of the hype around this champagne I was half-expecting to be blown away with my first sip. It was certainly nice but not out of this world. Then again I’m no champagne connoisseur so what do I know :). My partner had some Arabic coffee as well which he really enjoyed as it had a strong nutty flavour. To finish off the pre-departure goodies we both had a delicious praline. We spent the rest of the time before take-off figuring out the various bits and bobs of our suite (which really amounted to me figuring everything out as I’m the technology nut and then showing my partner how it all worked, bless him).

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A glass of Dom.
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Warm mixed nuts
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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:35 am

When it came for take-off I sat in 2A for a nice window view. It was amusing to have 3 or 4 windows to choose from. At the risk of sounding horribly snobbish, an unexpected side-effect of flying in first was the inability to see the engines as we were so far forward. I was hoping to have a good view of the engines spooling up and hurtling us down the runway, as I’m a bit of a plane nut too (much to my partner’s amusement). The city of Auckland fell away beneath us as we climbed into the night. I ended up watching the take-off on the front-facing camera which was very cool. The screen in each suite is ridiculously large and a pleasure to use. The only ‘problem’ with the enormous suites is that you’ll have difficulty reaching the screen with your hands (as it’s a touchscreen) if you’re buckled in or have your table out for dinner. Very much a case of ‘first world problems’.

Goodbye Auckland, will see you again soon
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When we were well into our climb, I had the opportunity to take note of how quiet the cabin was. The engines, as reported in other trip reports, really sounded like just a distant whisper. We were handed menus and then placed our orders for dinner. The ICE entertainment system was a bit difficult to navigate at first but I eventually got my way around it. The headphones that come with each suite are noise cancelling, but nowhere near as comfortable as the Bose QC15’s that we normally carry around. We decided to leave our QC15’s behind as it was one less thing to have to carry, and the emirates headphones were adequate for the few hours that we would be using them.

The minibar in our seats served as a convenient place to store various drinks and tuck them away (most people are aware that they don’t actually chill the contents). You can swap the existing drinks out for whatever is on offer. I ended up keeping a few bottles of water and juice in my minibar over the next few flights to keep up hydration on the longer segments. There is a basket of goodies sitting in each suites but I only took a nutbar once out of it.

Minibar
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It was time for dinner and the enormous table was set up for us with a tablecloth. I had the seared lamb loin appetiser which was cooked beautifully. We both had the cream of cauliflower soup which was lovely and rich. The main dish was the real stunner. It was the snapper fillet with lemon cream sauce. The fish was moist, the gratin potatoes creamy, and the vegetables were a delicious accompaniment. We rounded off dinner with a selection of small delightful desserts.

Seared lamb loin Cajun style
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Table setup
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Cream of cauliflower soup
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Snapper fillet with lemon cream sauce…wonderful
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Selected small desserts
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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:37 am

To get out of my seat when the table was deployed, I was shown how to lower the armrests with the wireless controller. In hindsight the service on this flight was more personable and human than the longer sectors we were yet to fly. This may have been a combination of the particular crew on board with the fact that we were the only two in the cabin.

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Our lonely plane
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My partner placed his seat back to have a nap whilst I browsed through music on the ICE system. The remainder of the flight was uneventful and we landed into Melbourne through rain and bumps with a ceiling full of stars. We disembarked through the front doors and were the first passengers off.

See you soon…
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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:38 am

Melbourne Emirates Lounge stopover

The walk to the lounge was a fair distance but we had clear instructions on how to get there and had no worries finding it. The lounge itself was a decent size and had nice views onto the tarmac. The food on offer looked great but unfortunately wasn’t in the least bit tasty. We saved ourselves up anyway for the next meal onboard, and caught a quick shower to freshen up.

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None of the above were very good unfortunately

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A quiet terminal
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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:39 am

Airline: Emirates
Route: Melbourne-Dubai
Flight number: Continuation of EK407
Duration: 13 hours
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seats: 2E and 2F


Back onto the same plane for what I consider to be a very long flight. It would be a good test for how the suites performed in terms of comfort for a real long-haul. This time there was a bit of a hold-up with boarding but we eventually got onto an airbridge dedicated for first class passengers. All 8 seats were occupied in first on tonight’s flight. There were no screaming children in sight, but the first hour or so in the air saw two very large men drinking and talking loudly in the suite opposite to my partner.

Dom again
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Same suite
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Amenity kit
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Flight path
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Flight time
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Having seen one of those photosynth panoramas featured on another trip report, I decided to take a bunch of photos and try the same process. The result is far from perfect, with lots of stitching errors, but it is fun to play with and look around the suite from the passenger’s perspective. If you don’t have Microsoft’s silverlight you will have to install it to view the panorama. You can drag the image around and zoom in or out. If you’re interested in making your own stitches, go to microsoft’s photosynth website. The first was shot before take-off and the second one later in the flight.

Panorama of cabin

We asked for the pyjamas as we wanted to change into them before take-off. Unfortunately the pyjamas were nowhere to be found. There was a real look of panic on the crews’ faces as they searched the plane for them. At the time we were slightly annoyed at this hiccup but in hindsight this was not at all the crew’s fault and they were the ones who had to deal with the ticked-off passengers. On the amusing side of things the crew were more than happy for us to sleep with our shirts off as long as our suite doors were closed. It’s not every day you get to sleep with your shirt off on a plane. Curiously they did have the slippers available.

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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:42 am

Shortly after placing our dinner orders our tables were once again set up beautifully. The flight attendant who looked after me was an Asian lady who was extremely efficient but at the same time friendly and easy to talk to. The hot canapes were first up, then the caviar which we had been looking forward to for quite some time. The salmon and sand crab terrine was alright but not fantastic. The Chardonnay I had with my meals was more than good. The blue eye cod was next and apart from being slightly dry it was perfectly delicious. My partner only had the hot canapes and caviar as he was still feeling full from the previous flight. Dinner service was wrapped up with a hot towel and delicious Godiva chocolates.

Canapes
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Elegant table setup
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Caviar, wonderful
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Salmon and sand crab terrine
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Poached blue eye cod
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Chocolates and a hot towel
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Basket of goodies
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Unfortunately the flight was fairly turbulent for most of the way. It was the worst case of sustained turbulence I had ever been through. Water and wine was spilling out of glasses, and the flight attendants had to return to their seats for half an hour in the middle of the dinner service. As soon as the flight attendants were allowed up again they hopped into action and performed well to keep the dinner service running smoothly.

Amongst the turbulence I headed for a bathroom break. When I returned one of the attendants had made my seat into a bed. At this point it was 3am back in New Zealand so I was very much past being bothered enough to take a photo of the setup. The seat was very comfortable and it’s width was much appreciated. As promised we ended up sleeping without our shirts as the cabin was quite warm. I only managed sleep in one hour blocks owing to the turbulence, but my partner happily slept through the entire thing and even described the turbulence as “soothing”. He has some strange ideas :)

Another panorama of the suite

When I woke up we had about three hours remaining on the flight. I chucked my shirt on and quickly ordered some breakfast. The same flight attendant was wonderfully attentive and got straight onto preparing my meal. My partner and I went with fruit platter and cheese omelette. Unfortunately the omelette was a bit overcooked and fairly dry, but the vegetables it went with were excellent. The variable and disappointing standard of breakfast (which stood out because the other meals were nearly always solid performers) would turn out to be a pattern with the later flights.

Breakfast fruits
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Mature cheese omelette, not so good unfortunately
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Presentation of the menu in a lovely folder
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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:45 am

With still an hour or two to ago, I decided to try something else from the extensive menu, as I didn’t want the opportunity to go to waste. The lobster from the snack menu looked to be a good choice and was consumed with much appreciation. At about an hour out from Dubai they had the sound of chirping birds over the speakers which was a cute touch (not sure if played in all cabins?). With hot towels, some gum and more sleep than I’d probably ever had an airplane I was feeling pretty refreshed to tackle Dubai airport.

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Gratinated lobster, lovely and creamy
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On this long flight we both found the whole suite setup to be superb. The ability to close your door and create your own private space really is something else. The suites themselves are large enough that they don’t feel claustrophobic when you have the doors closed, especially if are sitting in an E/F pair of seats and have the divider down as we did.

wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:49 am

Dubai Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal 3 (older lounge) stopover

The first class lounge was a particular part of the trip that we had both been looking forward to. It was such a sight to see so many A380’s parked at their gates. The heat and humidity were noticeable as we stopped off onto the airbridge. The walk to the first class lounge was fairly substantial and felt like the better part of a kilometre. Security was actually faster for those in the economy lanes than in the business/first lanes but waiting a few extra minutes in line wasn’t going to kill us. This was the first time ever that I had to take my shoes off to pass through the metal detector which I thought was slightly odd. Upstairs and another decent walk before heading up more escalators to the business and first class lounges. It was certainly a joy to be able to head towards the first class lounge, which looked a lot less busy than the business class counterpart.

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Here it is!
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Love the great big windows
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The lounge is enormous. At that early morning hour the environment was a bit darker and subdued but it brightened up nicely as the morning progressed to give a very airy feel. Having the ceiling of the terminal so high really creates for a spectacular sense of space. As soon as we picked a spot and chucked our stuff down we both headed for a much needed shower. My partner also went for a complimentary back massage which turned into a full body massage to his delight.

Massage
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So many flights
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Next stop, Geneva
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wwnz Mar 2, 13 2:50 am

After catching up with some emails we went to the restaurant section for some breakfast. The table setting was elegant, and included a nice touch in the form of a fresh rose. From the A la Carte menu we both started with fruit, followed with fish cakes for my partner and scrambled eggs with various sides for myself. I had a look through the buffet section as well and selected a few additional goodies to have. It was a perfectly nice breakfast and certainly more enjoyable than what we had on-board.

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Fruit skewers
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Fish cakes
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Scrambled eggs with sides
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Very tasty snacks that I helped myself to from the excellent buffet section
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As I wandered around the lounge taking photos of the architecture I was stopped by one of the lounge staff who was concerned that I may have been someone sent to document and copy Emirates’ ideas. I assured them that the photos were only for personal use and offered to let them look through the photos I had taken. I’m normally fairly discreet and very aware of the issue of using a camera (especially with a big clunky DSLR) in public, but must have gotten carried away a bit in the excitement of being in the lounge.

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http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...2.jpg:original

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http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...1.jpg:original

wwnz Mar 2, 13 3:47 am

Airline: Emirates
Route: Dubai-Geneva
Flight number: EK89
Duration: 7 hours
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR
Seats: 1A and 2A


We had a brief look through the shops downstairs then made the long walk to the gate. I remarked to my partner that it was strange that we were going to be in Geneva in a few hours’ time, when it felt like we were in Auckland just yesterday, which was almost true. I was looking forward to this flight as my seat was in 1A, and it was on the relatively new 777-200LR plane.

At the gate they called economy passengers first so we had to wait for about 30 minutes in the boarding area. When we were finally let through we were led down to a waiting area for busses. As I wasn’t at all familiar with Dubai airport, this came as a surprise. After a further wait to get onto the bus, we were off on our way towards the remote gate. It was a very long ride out, and felt like four to five kilometres. Between stepping off the bus and getting onto the plane I got a brief taste of Dubai heat outside. The view of the aircraft from the tarmac and from the flight stairs was great.

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...e.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...a.jpg:original

Awesome view of the 777-200LR
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...5.jpg:original

On board we had chosen seats 1A and 2A as it was a day flight and we wanted to see what a window suite was like. At this point we were probably going to be sick of each other anyway and would appreciate a break :) The cabin looked fairly full for today’s flight. Dom was served again shortly after settling in, along with the offerings of a newspaper, coffee, hot towel and a praline. We watched various other planes take off before us down the runway as there was a bit of a queue. When it was finally our turn the climb out from Dubai afforded great views, and we were fortunate to be on the correct side of the plane for this.

Home for the next seven hours
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...b.jpg:original

Take your pick
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...7.jpg:original

Must have some more Dom
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...7.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...f.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...e.jpg:original

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http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

Lining up
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...a.jpg:original

wwnz Mar 2, 13 3:57 am

This fella went before us
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...e.jpg:original

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http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...b.jpg:original

Our turn!
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...0.jpg:original

These Dubai pictures have been heavily processed, it was much hazier than this in real life
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...8.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...e.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...0.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...d.jpg:original

The view certainly didn’t look like this out the window but I thought I’d play around with the photo and see what result I could get for fun
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...5.jpg:original

Same with these
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...1.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...d.jpg:original

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http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...8.jpg:original

wwnz Mar 2, 13 3:58 am

Finally through the haze
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...8.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...a.jpg:original

The classic photo
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

The wireless controller
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...8.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...7.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...b.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...4.jpg:original

Amenity kit
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

wwnz Mar 2, 13 5:01 am

They did have pyjamas this time thankfully, and we got changed into them early into the flight for extra comfort. It was our first time trying them on. The material feels pretty good and the stretchiness built into them makes sleeping all the more easier.

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...1.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...2.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...a.jpg:original

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http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...3.jpg:original

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http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...2.jpg:original

I had a fruit salad early in the flight then settled in for a nap to help last the rest of the day in Geneva.

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...d.jpg:original

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wwnz Mar 2, 13 5:02 am

I ended up sleeping so soundly in the comfortable seat that the flight attendants couldn’t wake me over the closed door of the suite, so my partner had to positively yell at me to get me to wake. Lunch orders were taken and our tables set up. My better half only had caviar and one main, whereas I had the works. I started with some hot canapes which were very agreeable. Next was the caviar, with which I ordered some Dom to go with. The combination was absolutely splendid and it was the first time I really enjoyed the Dom. The authentic Arabic mezze was the next dish, but it was a bit too strange for my tastes, so it ended up as one of only two dishes that I didn’t finish on the entire trip. I went with the prawn curry for my main course which was nothing to rave about. My partner did however rave about his lamb dish so I ordered one for myself to see what the fuss was about. It turned out to be the best main dish on all the flights, as the lamb was extremely tender and delicious, and the whole thing was perfectly spiced.

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...1.jpg:original

Could only barely see the engines from the suite
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...5.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...3.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...2.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...f.jpg:original

The tablecloth has a subtle Emirates logo
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

Canapes
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...c.jpg:original

Caviar
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...8.jpg:original

Traditional Arabic mezze, not to my taste unfortunately
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...7.jpg:original

Goan prawn curry
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...9.jpg:original

Lamb machbous, outstanding! Best dish of the entire trip on Emirates
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...1.jpg:original

Orange flavoured baked cheesecake
http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/...6.jpg:original

The daylight provided another opportunity to attempt a photosynth stitch:

Panorama of suite


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