Singapore to Melbourne.
Emirates Boeing 777-300.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Skywards (no alliance membership but points can be earned and spent with Qantas and several other carriers).
UP THE BACK OR POINTY END
Economy class, seat 49A.
TIME IN THE AIR
Six hours, 45 minutes with a tailwind giving us a boost.
THE SEAT STUFF
A 3-4-3 layout in economy class, tapering to 2-4-2 at the rear of the aircraft, where I'm sitting.
Seat pitch 86 centimetres - five centimetres more than many other airlines' economy-class seats; 43 centimetres wide.
Emirates is generous when it comes to checked luggage, allowing 30 kilograms in economy class (10 kilograms more than most airlines). One cabin bag up to seven kilograms.
Seat 49A is the last row in the plane but it does have some advantages. While some passengers might not like being this far back (or this close to the toilets), the tapering of the row from three to two seats by the window means I have extra space in my window seat between myself and the cabin - enough to stretch a leg down.
As far as the selection is concerned, Emirates offers one of the best in the sky. A huge selection of movies, TV shows and music is on offer (1500 channels, according to the airline). The touch screen is large and sharp but a little unresponsive and I have some trouble navigating through the choices. Others are also having problems, so the system is reset a little while after take-off, which takes 30 minutes to complete.
The multicultural crew speak a huge range of languages between them, which is announced at the start of the flight. Along with English and Arabic, languages as diverse as Portuguese and Swahili are spoken. Unfortunately, the diversity of the crew also reflects the diversity of service levels. One attendant meets requests rather curtly (including unapologetically telling me "there are no more" Australian immigration forms available when I make a mistake on mine), while another is more friendly and accommodating.
There is a nice selection of food by economy class standards, although it's an overnight flight and we're not served until 2am, destination time. Smoked salmon salad to start, followed by a choice of chicken in chasseur sauce with potatoes or Szechuan beef with noodles. There are cheese and crackers, cake and chocolates, and for breakfast, pastries and fruit.
ONE MORE THING
Although Qantas is now bypassing Singapore to connect with Emirates' European network, Emirates itself still flies through Asia on some Australia-bound flights. When booking, note not all Emirates flights from Dubai to Australia are direct (although plenty are).
Emirates was rated the world's best airline in this year's Skytrax World Airline Awards but inconsistent service levels from the crew let it down a little on this particular flight. The meals and entertainment (despite the initial glitch) remain top notch.
Emirates flies one service daily between Singapore and Melbourne and Singapore and Brisbane. Emirates does not fly between Singapore and Sydney.
Tested by Craig Platt, who flew at his own expense.