Emirates new First Class, World Expo 2020 Dubai - Jan 2022

rcn

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I thought I'll share a brief report on the new first class on Emirates 777-300ER product, from DXB to ZRH - EK85 which I flew on this week, as well as a visit World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Booked it as classic reward flight on QF points (89 800 + AUD177 of taxes) for that leg, combined with an economy classic reward SYD - DXB on EK415.

Had to grapple with what turned out to be phantom award availabity on the SYD - DXB leg in First, then not being able to book a mixed class multi-trip award of QF, but fortunately this was sorted out very quickly on the phone.

1 Day prior to travel

PCR testing was done at one of the Histopath community testing location, as I didnt want to risk it getting it done at the airport. No queues (every since they removed the drive through feature), and results obtained by email 6 hours later. Not bad at all for $79.

Day of travel

Arrived at SYD international at 7pm for a 9:45pm departure. Decided to use the airport parking as pricing is still attractive when using the promo code. Glad I got my PCR test the day prior as there was quite a queue (no surprise here given about 8 flights departing between 9pm and 10pm that night).

Document check prior to entering the check in line proper - the Dnata agent had a cheat sheet for the requirements of each destination. I had to show my negative PCR cert, proof of vaccination status, and completed Swiss entry form.

The check in area was completly packed in economy, and if I didnt have status or flying in a premium cabin, I would probably avoid travel until things settle more.

Fortunately no wait in the First/Platinum queue. Both boarding passes issued, bags tagged through to ZRH, skis dropped off at oversized baggage, then its through immigration (smartgates back on again) and security, and the QF lounge for dinner.

Menu hasnt been updated since it reopened in November last year, but you cant go wrong with these classics.

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Good to see the QF lounge buzzing with activity. Also dropped the Plaza Premium (former Amex lounge, which Emirates is using while their own lounge is still closed) to get some bottled water. The new seating arrangements make the small space even smaller, and it wasnt worth spending more than a few minutes there.

Decided to board early to get settled in and rested. Got a seat in the front section of economy. No empty seat beside me unfortunately, but an otherwise comfortably flight. Skipped the dinner service and ate a very nice fritata for breakfast about 3hrs from Dubai. Emirates ICE inflight entertainement is amazing as always - rewatched a few scenes from No time to Die (agent Paloma shootout scenes) and HBO's Raised by Wolves. Landed in DXB right on time at 0515.

Boarding EK415
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Arrival in Dubai

This would be my first time leaving the airport in Dubai.

Immigration was easy, no proof of PCR testing was asked for, nor was there any entry forms/travel declaration required.

An impressive arrival/baggage claim area.

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No bags to pickup so it was straight out to the exit.

Purchased a transport daypass (this covers the metro, trains, trams and buses) for AED22, then headed towards the city.

Next part - Expo 2020
 

rcn

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Expo 2020 - Part 1

The metro from the airport take just over an hour, no change of trains needed.

Upon exiting the station, you go through secutity at the foyer of the Dubai Exhibition Centre, wihch sits between the station and the Expo site proper.

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Approaching the central hub of the Expo, the Al Wasl Plaza

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Close up:
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Inside the plaza:

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KSA Pavilion- very impressive

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The Netherlands - a little more understated

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The host nation - UAE

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Inside the exhibit - they brought in sand from the desert and sculpted it into dunes.
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Next up - Expo Part 2
 

rcn

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Expo 2020 - Part 2

The main purpose countries take part in Expos is national branding. Here is Russia's pavilion - what do you think is the brand/image they are trying to potray?

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Inside the Russia Pavilion - a brain with moving parts and a lightshow.

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Singapore Pavilion - unforunately it was closed for 2 hours due to a private event - would have wanted to try the food court inside.

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And last by not least - Australia, design no doubt inspired by the roof covering the 747 at the Qantas Founder's Museum.
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Next part- EK85 DXB - ZRH
 

rcn

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EK85 DXB - ZRH

Got back to DXB via the metro, then its to the A gates Emirates lounge. It was really quiet and half the lounge was closed off. A decent lunch, shower nap later, it was time to board.

First impressions: the suite is massive! Photos do not quite reflect the size of it. Middle suites are slightly larger as you dont get the curved part of the aircraft cross section.

Emirates have kept the polished wood/gold theme, but this latest version is a lot less garish, with elegant design features like the textured wall, curtain tieback, and the weaved leather dining table.

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The much talked about fake windows - LED screens displaying images from 3 cameras on each side of the aircraft. 10/10 for creativity. The control panel is almost big enough to be an IFE screen in it own right.
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LED ceiling lights as well as customizable mood lighting.
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LED carpet lighting - because why not?
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Service was warm and genuine, and not overly formal like SQ. The flight attendant explained the features of the seat, and advised that meal service would be dine on demand.

Post departure beverage: Dom Perignon 2008 with warm nuts.
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I had a very good 2 hr nap, then ordered dinner.

Appetizer - Caviar. Interesing that accompaniments are served separately now.

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Main course - fish and basmati rice
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Dessert - a tart w/ a straw berry coulis
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Overall a fantastic flight, I would be happy to fly this product again, hopefully on a longer sector.
 

Rhode

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2012
Posts
19
Thanks for the info. Flying 777 and 380 in a few weeks so it was good to see some pics. What was the quality of the wifi?
 

rcn

Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Posts
137
Qantas
Platinum
Thanks for the info. Flying 777 and 380 in a few weeks so it was good to see some pics. What was the quality of the wifi?

As far I recall, pretty standard inflight wifi speeds. Good enough for emails/whatsapp and websites that are not too data heavy.
 

Flying Fox

Established Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Posts
2,892
Thanks for the trip report.

Can I show my ignorance and ask the question, 'what is the point of these Expos'?

I've never really understood their purpose.
 

Bryce

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2018
Posts
24
Thanks for this detailed review.
We're looking at visiting the World Trade Expo - Dubai 2020 next month.
Is it worth the stopover? (planning a couple of days)
How is access and crowds? (by the look of your photos it appears almost empty)
Thanks for any feedback.
 

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