When looking at which airline to use this time to fly to Australia, there were a couple of requirements I had. I looked at luggage allowance, a non-direct flight and a kiddie-friendly airline. Did Emirates really live up to these requirements?
Emirates is a Preferred Airline
While Emirates are the preferred airline I work with on this blog because I believe their approach to being a kiddie-friendly and family orientated airline is leagues above the rest – Im not the world’s most seasoned traveller but I have travelled on several airlines with Ladybug and we have had some disasters. Once Ladybug received her dinner meal 40 minutes AFTER all the adults had received their meals and only because I asked for it, she was 8 months old at the time and I was flying on my own, I really didn’t need the added stress. As a result I will not fly with that airline again – ever!
Luggage Allowances and things to Remember
So back to Emirates. Because we booked out tickets departing from South Africa, the piece concept for luggage applied. We could take 2 pieces of 23kgs each. Guys that is massive. That’s 4 bags of 23kgs – that’s 92 kgs of checked luggage plus 7 kgs each of hand luggage. When you are packing up your entire life, luggage weight counts for allot…. BUT…. When you are travelling with Emirates, as amazing as the luggage allowance is you need to consider the following:
- If you are travelling with a child their carseat and stroller/pram are considered an item of luggage. So while you are given 2 pieces each, your child will use one of those pieces for their stroller/pram and another for their carseat (irrespective of the fact that they don’t weigh 23kgs).
- They are one of the few airlines (that I have flown with) that actually do weigh your hand luggage and you will need to remove things to stay at 7kgs and under.
I was a little caught off guard with the stroller being counted as a piece of luggage. Previously I had our luggage plus a stroller for Ladybug, because let’s be honest to try get your kid to walk at a pace from one end of the airport to the next is usually a nightmare or an uphill battle, so I stick her in the stroller and we have less tears and less stress. I could have bought an additional piece of luggage for US $250 to make sure the stroller could go, but when the stroller only cost $45… it never made it to the plane, it made it to the back of Mr Jones’ car – R100 says it’s still there!!!
Emirates Business Class Lounge
Having Emirates as our preferred airline does have some advantages – unfortunately not an upgrade to Business Class, but the next best thing. We gained access to the Business Class Lounge at OR Tambo. AMAZING! Ladybug and I got to ORT early because I wanted to make sure she had time to eat dinner after we had checked in (our flight was only at 22h20). Once we checked in, we were walked through to the Business Class Lounge by one of the Emirates Staff who met us at the check in counter, he was amazing with Ladybug and indulged her constant chattering. Once we arrived at the lounge, we were shown where to get something to eat and we were waited on hand and foot.
The Lounge provides an array of sweet and savory foods and an assortment of drinks, Ladybug could have dinner and she was able to drink her Coca-Lola (Coke Zero before all the anti-sugar Moms jump on me). We took over an area that had a couple of couches around a table, it was great because Ladybug could make herself busy doing work on the table and I didn’t have to worry about her running around. I made use of the Wi-Fi offered to all guests (score) but I did have a look around and found that they had computers, printers, scanners and telephones available if you needed them for making those last minute arrangements or doing that last bit of work.
One of the huge advantages to being in the lounge was that I could go get Ladybug showered and changed into her Pyjamas so that she could get ready for bed on the plane. We were then fetched by the Emirates Staff Member (sorry I really can’t remember his name, but he was great) and we were walked to the gate and were one of the first to board the plane.
Onboard and taking to the skies
While on board, Ladybug really did receive the royal treatment they offer kids. They took a photo of her on the plane and signed it and put it in a special keep-sake card for her to remember her flight. The kid’s meals we really appealing too, it wasn’t some gross over heated meal that not even I would touch. I was kind of jealous! But the most amazing part of the kid’s meals was the fact that when they bring the kids meals (earlier than they start the dinner service) they also have a snack box for the kids for them to eat later during the flight – this is filled with treats, chips, sweet and snacks.
The ICE Entertainment they have on-board is the best I have seen, no wonder they have won accolades and awards for it. It really doesn’t compare to other airlines. Not once did I think “there really is nothing to watch” and we flew for 20 something hours. I have found with other airlines that the kid’s entertainment seems to be a bit limited but that wasn’t the case with Emirates!
While I was blown away with the service we received on our Johannesburg to Dubai leg, I almost didn’t want the bar be set so high because we still had another leg to go and how could an airline perform well on both legs, right? Wrong!
Rushing from one gate to another
When we got to Dubai, I loved the fact that in the airport there were strollers available for passengers to use, they were available every 100 metres or so – I didn’t manage to take a picture myself because we literally had enough time to get from one gate to the next before we boarded the next plane. I was impressed with the boarding when we were given preferential boarding in Dubai as well – let me tell you, even if you are 2 adults travelling with a child, preferential boarding might seem glamorous and “unfair” to those non-parental passengers, but there is nothing worse than a bored kid getting worked up because they must wait in line to board a plane. They are stressed, the parents are stressed and it’s probably going to be a hellish flight if this happens.
Dubai to Sydney on an A380
Our second leg of our trip was just as amazing as the first in terms of the service we received. Ladybug was just as spoilt on the second leg as she was on the first. Plus, we flew in the new A380! Let me tell you that plane really is worth all the hype it has received. The seats are slightly bigger and the plane is clean, bright, and really wow. Added to that the fact that you can connect to wifi in the sky – naturally, when I was 35 000 feet in the air, I figured it was a safe time to say goodbye to some people in South Africa. I figured they couldn’t hug me in the air, so it reduced the tears!
Impressed or Not?
My overall impression of Emirates is amazing, I now understand why they have the awards and accolades that they do. Why they are considered a leading airline in the skies. Their service really does surpass the other airlines. However, me being impressed wasn’t over yet. While trying to pack up all our belongings I had missed the tin that we received in the Business Class Lounge at ORT – by now in our travels, I had put all my medication in there to keep it in one place and to save space. The tin was left under our seat (along with a Madame’s blue slipper, I think).
While we were still at Sydney International Airport, I received an email from Emirates saying they had retrieved the tin with medication in it and it was at their offices and I could go and collect it. Guys this is massive – it was all my “let’s keep you normal” drugs, including my anxiety medication. I actually hadn’t even noticed that the tin was missing! When I got up to their offices at the airport, they gave me the tin with a huge smile – they have no idea how relieved I was!
Will we fly with Emirates again?
Based on my personal experience with them, plus everything that I have got to know about Emirates through this blog, Emirates will remain the preferred Airline for Ladybug, myself and Life with a Ladybug. Well done Emirates, we look forward to flying with you again.