Flight test: Emirates first-class suite

Aircraft Emirates Airbus A340-500.

Route Dubai to Melbourne.

Class First, suite 3F.

Seat pitch and width 82 inches between rows of seats; 20 inches between armrests.

Seat configuration 1-2-1 for 12 private suites. Front suites noisier because of galley.

Luggage allowance Any number of bags can be checked in as long as combined weight does not exceed 50kg or 32kg for any one bag. Gold Skywards members can take up to 66kg; that's the equivalent of about 10 bowling balls. Two pieces of carry-on luggage, not exceeding 12kg, also allowed.

Scheduled flight time 14 hrs, 15 mins.

On-time performance Perfect.

Lounge access The experience starts with a chauffeur-driven car to seamless check-in. Allow a few hours for the first-class lounge because it includes a Timeless Spa with free massages and treatments. There's a la carte dining with impeccable service, bars, a business centre and showers.


Aircraft condition As new.

Console/entertainment 58-centimetre LCD screen with 600 entertainment channels, including 50 new-release movies, 25 movie classics, 25 children's films, 40 interactive games, satellite telephone, SMS and email. The suites have massage-enabled leather seats that convert to flat beds, a personal wardrobe, built-in vanity table with mirror, pop-up mini bar, a drawer with stationery, fresh flowers and electronic sliding doors.

Comfort In The Great Railway Bazaar Paul Theroux writes "better to go first class than arrive ... " He is referring to trains but could have been writing about first class on this flight because the time I spend in the suite isn't enough. Why would you want to leave when you have food and drink on demand, so many new-release movies that it's like being at a film festival and a lie-flat seat that is made into a bed with cotton-lined blankets and down pillows when you want? But comfort costs; fares about $16,000 return.

Service Near perfect but a martini is served so strong that it may be the jet fuel that is propelling us over the Arabian Sea.

Food and beverages There's Dom Perignon and Château La Lagune 200 Haut Medoc. Oh, there's food too. Order any time from the menu as often as you want: Iranian caviar, lobster salad, oven-roasted lamb on Royal Doulton bone china.

Amenities Pyjamas, slippers, handtowel, men's toiletries kit with Bulgari lotions.

Flight frequency Melbourne daily; an A380 flies daily on Sydney route.

Online emirates.com.

Photos Emirates luxurious first-class suites

Tested by Robert Upe, who flew courtesy of Emirates.