Airline review: Emirates economy, Dubai to Venice

Our rating

4 out of 5

THE PLANE

Boeing 777-300ER, the backbone of the Emirates fleet. Emirates has nearly 130, with more on order.

THE ROUTE

EK135 Dubai to Venice. 

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Emirates Skywards.

CLASS

Economy, aisle seat 11G.

DURATION

Six hours, thirty minutes.

FREQUENCY

Emirates has a daily flight from Dubai to Venice.

THE SEAT

I was anticipating cramped conditions – some airlines only install nine seats in a 3-3-3 configuration in this particular aircraft, but Emirates has 10 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. This is the same as its A380-300 seat configuration, but the A380 has a wider cabin. This means the 17-inch (43.2-centimetre) seat is an inch (2.54 centimetres) narrower than the A380's. The pitch range on the 777 is 33 inches to 34 inches (83.8 centimetres to 86.3 centimetres). 

BAGGAGE

A generous 30-kilogram luggage allowance and seven kilograms for carry-on. Hallelujah, there's space in our locker!

COMFORT

Our seats are in a middle row of four, with two free seats, due to someone joining their friend elsewhere. This is fortunate because there's clearly a tight-seating issue, which a full plane would exacerbate. My 185-centimetre tall husband's knees almost touch the seat in front and he's further compressed when the seat in front reclines. He's able to shift seats and I lounge across economy's lottery win – two seats – thus avoiding the inevitable bumping that happens with narrow aisles. 

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ENTERTAINMENT

My digital touchscreen is smaller than the large 27-centimetre screen we've just experienced on an Emirates A380, so this plane hasn't yet been completely upgraded. There's still however a satisfying array of on-demand entertainment channels on its ICE system. I watch a few Mr Robot episodes, which suit the dissociative state of the economy class traveller. Every second seat has AC power and there's 20MB of free Wi-Fi for basic connectivity.

SERVICE

A strong point on this flight. Extra-charming flight attendants spoil us with pre-dinner drinks, which have gone the way of the dinosaur with many other airlines. A nice G&T and a pack of … surely not nuts? No, they're tiny Italian-bread-shaped savoury biscuits. More drinks are offered, plus regular hot towels and trays of water. Nice.

FOOD

A decent Italian pinot grigio accompanies my penne appetiser with vegetables, including lovely green broad beans, followed by barbecue chicken in a rich tomato sauce with potato mash and al dente broccoli. There's apple and cinnamon cake – airline desserts always too sweet for me – so I go straight for the cheese and biscuits and the exceptional sourdough roll with butter. A nice lunch with a nod to our Venetian destination.

ONE MORE THING

Our flight attendants politely ask passengers to put their seats forward for meals. It's a relief when staff assumes that task. They don't always do it, making it hard to locate your food under the overhang of a lolling seat.

THE LAST WORD

Good staff, good food, fortuitous seating and Mr Robot trump the ordinary bits, rendering this flight into La Serenissima actually quite pleasant.

Tested by Alison Stewart who flew as a guest of Emirates.​

See also: The best seat in economy on Qantas - at no extra cost

See also: A low cost price for a full service flight

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