Re: Glossing a commercial turd
I'm a regular business class traveller and occasional first class traveller. I've been on an Emirates A380 once - when BA cancelled the route I was booked on and needed a last minute alternative. Never again.
What was good:
1) Being able to do Dar Es Salaam to New York in 2 hops, which BA could no longer do having cancelled their Dar Es Salaam to Heathrow route.
2) Using top-deck only jet-ways. The boarding and de-planing experience at Dubai was excellent - the lounge is on the same floor as the top-deck jet-way, and you never get stuck in the big queues associated with standard class.
3) The A380 is very quiet - even during landing and takeoff phases.
What was truly awful:
1) The Emirates A380 has a single enormous business class cabin. The amount of noise generated in their made sleep next to impossible. The more the cabin is split up, the easier it becomes to sleep.
2) Emirates service was trolley-less, the cabin crew walked the trays up and down the aisles. This meant that serving the whole cabin took forever. And when all you want to do is eat dinner and bed-down, you can't because dinner service is a multi-hour affair (with the main cabin lights left on throughout). Also, the length of time it took to get the food from the galley to the seat meant it was arriving luke-warm at best.
3) There is a serious shortage of toilets on board. IIRC, the standard transatlantic BA 747 has 7 business class toilets compared to 4 on the Emirates A380. The A380 has slightly more business class passengers (80 against 76 or something like that). On the A380 I had to queue for the toilets every time I went to them without exception.
4) The bar seems like a nice idea. I never saw a single person sat at the bar for the entire flight, so in reality it was a waste of space that should have been used for something useful like toilets.
5) Flying with Emirates puts you at risk of a run-in with the Dubai customs. I routinely take prescription meds that are illegal in Dubai, and I have to be VERY careful not to have any when I fly through Dubai since the penalty for carrying them is a 4 year prison sentence minimum. I'm unwilling to routinely run the risk that I screw up. This case was at the end of a long trip, so I was willing to throw away my remaining prescription meds in Tanzania before embarking and get new ones when I got back to NY.
Emirates has clearly been filling aircraft. I don't think the reason for it is the quality of service. I would take one of the Far East airlines over everyone else (Air China, JAL, Nippon, etc.) and happily take BA ahead of Emirates any day of the week.