Monday, June 13, 2011

Africa With Emirates

I recently travelled to London with Emirates, and quite frankly I wouldn't fly with anyone else now if I had the choice. I'd flown with them a couple of time from Brisbane to Auckland, but that's only about three hours. This was my first long haul experience with them.  It seems to me that they have at least two inches more legroom in economy than most other airlines. I'm six feet two inches tall (or whatever that is in this new- fangled metric system - 4 billion nanometres or something) so I really noticed the difference. They have a superb, easy to use personal entertainment system, friendly cabin crew and edible food - a rarity in economy class these days.

The other thing I really appreciated was the various cameras that gave you views of what was happening outside. They have a camera mounted on the tail, one on the nose and a downward facing camera which I don't recommend for those of you suffering from vertigo. All you have to do it touch your personal screen and you get the view from whatever camera you want. The reason I like this is that I get a little claustrophobic when I can't see out of a window when the aircraft is on it's final approach. In other words I like to be able to see what we're about to crash into. The trouble with having a window seat on a long haul flight is that you can't stretch your legs or visit the toilet without climbing over and disturbing two other passengers and probably spilling hot tea in their laps. However, due to the forward facing cameras I was able to see where we were going and have an aisle seat to stretch out in too. I loved it.

What's all this got to do with Africa? You ask. Well, Emirates service many cities in my favourite continent. Naturally, you have to travel via their hub in Dubai, but the extra comfort on Emirates is worth a couple of extra hours flying and in any case they are the most direct option to some African destinations. Below is a list of African cities services by Emirates.

Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Entebbe, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Luanda, Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Accra, Abijan, Dakar, Casablanca, Tunis, Tripoli (I'd probably avoid this one at the moment.), and Cairo. They also service Mauritius and Seychelles.

As well as being my first long haul flight with Emirates, my latest trip was also my first flight on an Airbus A380. Emirates economy class configuration on this monster is 3-4-3. The same as a Boeing 747-400. Indeed it doesn't seem that much bigger on the inside than a 747, except that you have to remember that there's another cabin of roughly the same proportion above you. Emirates have the lower cabin as economy class and the upper cabin is a mix of First and Business class.

Try them on your next trip wherever it may be. They may not always be the cheapest, but they're very rarely the dearest and in any case, it's value for money that counts and I think Emirates certainly give you plenty of that.      

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